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Steps to Avoid Identity Theft, Part 2

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Identity ThiefAs a follow-up to the article I wrote on June 20, 2015 (Steps to Avoid Identity Theft), I thought I would provide more information that we (federal employees) have received as a result of the massive hack attack that happened earlier this year.

I have received a ginormous amount of extremely useful information.  All of the information is absolutely free and as long as you know where to look, is easy to find.  You just have to know where to look.

We have become a society that lives, eats, sleeps, works, exercises, etc. online.  I recently began to wonder what Albert Einstein or Thomas Edison or any of the other inventors and scientists from yester-year would think if they were reincarnated today.

Mobile Devices

I want to start with mobile devices.  Before this, I only thought about mobile “phones” and whether or not I like it, I ended up with a “Smartphone” that I still think is smarter than I am.  Keep in mind that I am a Baby Boomer and I am closer to the “beginning of the year range”.  At any rate, I paid special attention to safely Disposing of Your Mobile Device to make sure to remove personal information and then discarding my old phone.  Naturally, with me being a target of identity theft, the first thing I zeroed in on was the Mobile Security Tip Sheet and the FCC Smartphone Security Checker.  As I was reading the information in the Smartphone Security Checker, one of the comments that was left about a press release on December 10, 2012 from the FCC: Kids’ Data Still Collected, Shared without Parents’ Knowledge, Consent. Back to the information that we have been receiving at work: one of the articles I read and am still working my way through is: Understanding Mobile Apps.Phishing

In some of the articles that were provided, I found information about Phishing.  In the Phishing information sheet it even provides an example of an email phishing for information.  In fact, I had received an email that was very much like the example!  I called the bank using the phone number that I had on file for my bank.  The rep I spoke with told me that they ABSOLUTELY NEVER, EVER send emails to their customers to ask for information because they already have the information.  The rep told me what steps to take so that when I forwarded the email to their Fraud Department, they would be able to see the “header” that they would need. The rep then told me to DELETE the email and also to be sure to delete the deleted file from the DELETED ITEMS folder in my inbox.  They would launch their own investigation because other customers had also reported the same hoax.

Safely COMPLETELY leaving a webpage

If you do your banking online, when you finish working with your account on your bank website or your credit card’s website on which you pay your monthly bill: not only should you log off but you should also completely close the browser window.  Do NOT – repeat – DO NOT – just log off your account and then log onto another webpage for a totally different company or store or social media page or, or, or using the same internet browser window.  Close the browser window, open a new window and use the window that opens to enter the next bank website or credit card website, etc.  Why?  Because residual information is left in the open internet window and anyone who knows anything about software can still get your confidential information.  The only way to prevent that from happening is to completely close the internet window and open a new one.

Computer Safety Tips

Laptop Security shared things such as Treat Your Laptop Like Cash, Don’t Put Your Laptop on the Floor, and Where to Report a Stolen Laptop.  They have a great infographic: Laptop Security BookmarkSecuring Your Wireless Network is PACKED with information from understanding how wireless networks work, using encryption, limit access to your network, and about public Wi-Fi networks.

Computer Security provided some excellent information 10 Ways to Avoid Fraud, Free Security Check Ups and Tools, Limiting Unwanted Calls & Emails,

Stop. Think. Connect. Parent and Educator Resources

Stop. Think. Connect. Older American Resources

Stop. Think. Connect. Student Resources

Social Media Guide offers tips and information for Students, Parents, and Bloggers. The stats that this document offers are real eye openers.  It offers cautions to make you aware and also age-appropriate references.  One more reference is Staying Safe on Social Network Sites because it provides a sizable list of how to protect yourself along with links to sites for detailed information.

Benefits and Risks of Free Email Accounts provides information that I knew before; however, warrants revisiting due to the potential risks.

Finally, MAKE TIME to read all 10 slides of this report from the National Counterintelligence and Security Center.  There is a lot of helpful information.Caution

I hope that some of the references that we received will help you to be safer with your smartphones, mobile devices, computers, and social media.  Each of the references that I provided above are packed with more references and links.  I was completely comfortable with opening the links that were inside the references because we received this information from the Office of Personnel Management to help those of us who had their personal information stolen.

Please leave a comment to let me know if you found this information helpful or if you have other information to share.

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