Cybersecurity

Tips For New Mexicans

Welcome! Here you will find general pointers about how to keep yourself and your loved ones safe in the digital age. In addition, we will address emerging trends in the world of digital risks and security. Read on and get informed!

Guard Your Money

Use a credit card whenever possible, not a debit card, when shopping online. If you have a problem, you’ll be covered if you use a credit card, but not as much for a debit card, says Frank Abagnale, AARP Fraud Watch Network ambassador. Also, be sure that you can pay the credit card balance in full every month. Do not trade deeper debt for an incremental improvement in security.

Identity Theft

Probably the fastest growing area of crime involving citizens and consumers is identity theft. It is also terribly difficult to resolve if you are a victim.

Here are some links that may help you if you find you are a victim of Identity Theft.

Keep Your Personal Information Safe

Freeze your credit report. This keeps creditors and others from “running credit” on you, protecting you from scammers who try to use your information to set up phony accounts. It’s now free, but you need to contact three credit reporting bureaus: Equifax, Experian and Transunion. You can always unfreeze it temporarily to allow legitimate access to your credit, such as when you apply for a loan.

Stop entering sweepstakes. You may be enticed by the vacation prize at the mall kiosk, but before you enter personal details on the form, ask, “What are you going to do with it?” advises Amy Nofziger, director of AARP’s Fraud Watch Network helpline.

Stop giving out your Social Security number. Some businesses, such as banks, credit agencies and government agencies, legitimately need your Social Security number for reporting purposes. But that’s about it. “I often hear this question, ‘If my doctor doesn’t need my SSN, why are they asking for it?’ ” Nofziger says. “I have been to many new doctors, and I have never once been asked for the SSN after I left the question blank on the form.”

Protect Yourself Online

Be wary of public Wi-Fi. Scammers can tap into public Wi-Fi accounts and access information you receive and send. “Using your phone’s cellular data rather than public Wi-Fi is the best way to prevent this,” says Sarah Hofmann, public information officer for the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. If you’re using a laptop, you should be able to use your cellphone as a personal hot spot for internet access. If you must use public Wi-Fi, at least install a virtual private network (VPN) on your devices. VPN services such as Hotspot Shield, NordVPN or CyberGhost will encrypt your data.

Watch what you share on social media. Scammers can find a lot about you on social media, says Rebecca Herold, CEO of the Privacy Professor. “To protect yourself, don’t share your phone number, your home address, anything related to your work, payment information, relationship status, health information, birthday or Social Security number. Yes, I’ve seen people do this!” Herold says.

Don’t reveal your location. Posting photos in real time of your restaurant meal or hike reveals to the world you aren’t home — and won’t be for a while. Similarly, wait until the vacation is over before sharing your stories and images.

Ransomware

Ransomware is a type of malware that prevents or limits users from accessing their system, either by locking the system’s screen or by locking the users’ files unless a ransom is paid. After the initial infection, the ransomware attempts to spread to shared storage drives and other accessible systems. More modern ransomware families, collectively categorized as crypto-ransomware, encrypt certain file types on infected systems and forces users to pay the ransom through certain online payment methods to get a decrypt key. If the demands are not met, the system or encrypted data remains unavailable, or data may be deleted.

For those who choose to pay the ransom, know that it does not always work. Sometimes the thieves take your money and run. Other victims have found that the undo is partial and important files are not recovered.

Your best defense is a current backup that is not connected to your computer or computer network. Also, don’t be afraid to seek professional help with using your backup to recover. No one wants their backup to get locked up too.

Scams

During difficult economic times, we tend to see a marked rise in scams and scammers, particularly online. Unfortunately, when people are hurting financially, they are more likely to let their guard down and be more open to the type of “get rich quick, too good to be true” schemes that Internet scammers thrive upon. Also, charitable scams prey on peoples’ desires to help others and they frequently show up following natural disasters. Lastly, do not forget about telephone schemes targeted at the elderly. We all need to be more alert, aware, and scam-savvy than ever before.

Use this motto to help stay safe and avoid being scammed: “Initiate the Communication”

  • Think the Red Cross needs your assistance? Don’t follow that link or call the number in your email. Look them up on-line and contact them using the information you find.
  • Is your high school friend whom you haven’t heard from in twenty years stuck in a foreign county and need help? You can bet not. Delete this message and move on. If you cannot help yourself, look that person up via a different channel and corroborate the story.
  • Does your bank need you to confirm your account? Maybe. Don’t trust that email or text message. Look up your bank’s information yourself and contact them to find out.

Watch out for scam calls

Add your name to the Do Not Call Registry. “While it may not block all calls, it can help reduce the number of unwanted calls,” Griffin says. Call the FTC toll-free at 888-382-1222 from the phone you want to register, or go to donotcall.gov.

Don’t answer calls from numbers you don’t recognize. The best way to do this is to adjust the Do Not Disturb setting on your phone so that only calls from people on your contacts list will even ring. Everyone else will go straight to voicemail. If it’s important, they’ll leave a message.

Be prepared to hang up. If you do answer and hear a robocall, don’t say anything — just hang up. Do not respond to questions, especially those answered with a “yes,” as your response could be recorded and used by someone else to authorize fraudulent charges over the telephone, Hanson says. And don’t hit a button when prompted to stop getting calls. That could lead to more calls. “Scammers often use this trick to identify potential targets,” Hanson says.

What to Do if You’ve Been Scammed

If you’ve fallen prey to fraud, take action quickly. “With the right combination of information, scammers can open credit cards in your name, set up fake PayPal accounts and cause other financial trouble,” says Christine Durst, founder of CelebriCheck.

  • Notify your bank and your credit card company.
  • Contact the Social Security Administration about potential identity theft.
  • Call the credit-reporting agencies (Equifax, TransUnion or Experian) to place a fraud alert on your file.

For more information check out this link:

https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2019/guide-to-preventing-fraud.html

Secure Your Paperwork

Opt for electronic statements. Thieves can steal bank account statements, bills and other documents from your home mailbox. Instead, says Paige Hanson, chief of identity education at Norton LifeLock, choose electronic statements that get delivered via email or directly into your online banking account. Bonus: You may be able to avoid paper statement fees or get billing discounts by going electronic.

Keep a shredder handy. Shred all bills and financial documents to keep thieves from fishing them out of your trash. Hanson recommends using a cross-cut shredder, which cuts the paper into smaller pieces than a strip-cut shredder.

Social Engineering

Social engineering refers to psychological manipulation of people into performing actions or divulging confidential information. With a little information, you can protect yourself. Follow these links to get better informed.

Other Helpful Links

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