Cybercrime can happen to anyone and being online exposes you to the risk of becoming a victim of fraud, scams, identity theft, phishing, and even social engineering. The internet has enhanced our lives in many ways and has become a part of our day-to-day routines. Many of us shop online, monitor bank accounts play games and even make doctor appointments. These activities while fun and convenient, can expose you to cybercrime, if you are not careful. Educating yourself and knowing what to avoid online is your number one safeguarding action against cybercrime and it will help you decrease your risk.

  • Cybercriminals are looking to obtain your personal information (usernames, passwords, addresses, phone numbers, and social security number) for illegal use. These actions are a crime.

  • Phishing -  Be cautious with emails sent from unknown senders. Some cyber criminals can spoof emails and they may appear to have been sent from legitimate companies. These emails are called ‘phishing’ and are sent to scam you into providing or confirming your personal information. Never click on links or download content that you suspect to be fraudulent.

  • Smishing & Vishing - Similar to phishing, these are when criminals use text messages or fake phone calls to direct you to take action and reveal your personal information. These messages will direct you to a website or phone number that asks you to provide or verify your personal information.

    • Most fraudulent activity will present in a rushed manner. Cybercriminals want to confuse and hurry you into providing your personal information. Don’t fall for it!
    • Many of these attacks will contain spelling and grammatical errors – cybercriminals use these to avoid spam filters.

  • Identity Theft - A federal crime and it occurs when someone uses your personal information without you knowing for financial or other gain.

  • Never provide your personal information over email, phone, or text message to anyone you do not know and cannot verify their identity.

  • Make sure your security software is up-to-date and active.

  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi connections.

  • Use strong passwords - Combine special characters with capital and lowercase letters, include numbers and symbols to create more secure passwords. Try not to use any unique personal identifiers like your birth date, home address number, or middle name. Consider changing your passwords every 60 to 90 days. 

  • Use multi-factor authentication (MFA) when available for increased security for online accounts. Most common MFAs are biometrics such as fingerprint or facial IDs and short message service (SMS) one-time-passcodes (OTP). These passcodes are sent to a provided phone number for additional identity verification.

  • Verify safe and secure websites by checking for signs such as the padlock before the URL. Websites that are not secure increase your risk for exposure. Never make profiles or shop on unsecured websites.

  • Check your credit and monitor your bank statements regularly. If you suspect fraudulent activity report it immediately.

  • Know who you are dealing with. Use trusted websites like the Better Business Bureau to verify business addresses and phone number. Real companies will provide this information for consumer contacts.

  • Read privacy policies. Website's use cookies in some cases to collect your information to better serve you. Find out how else they might use your information and how they protect your information.

  • Continue learning using trusted resources such as the FDIC Money Smart program. FDIC's How Money Smart Are You? - Protecting Your Identity and Other Assets

  • Stay aware of current scams. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Internet Crime Complaint Center both provide this information on their websites at - click on "Scams" and - click on "Alert Archive", respectively.

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Additional resources
#BanksNeverAskThat National Anti-Phishing Campaign