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Online Education Center

How to Protect Yourself from Online Fraud



» Always Keep Your Firewall Turned On:

Firewalls can help protect your computer by preventing hackers or malicious software from gaining access to it.

» Install or Update Your Antivirus Software:

Antivirus software is designed to prevent malicious software programs from embedding on your computer. If it detects malicious code, like a virus or a worm, it works to disarm or remove it. Viruses can infect computers without users' knowledge. Most types of antivirus software can be set up to update automatically.

» Install or Update Your Antispyware Software:

Antispyware software can help protect your computer from spyware and other potentially unwanted software.

» Keep Your Operating System Up to Date:

Computer operating systems are periodically updated to stay in tune with technology requirements and to fix security holes. Be sure to install the updates to ensure your computer has the latest protection.

» Turn Off Your Computer:

With the growth of high-speed Internet connections, many opt to leave their computers on and ready for action. The downside is that being "always on" renders computers more susceptible. Beyond firewall protection, which is designed to fend off unwanted attacks, turning the computer off effectively severs an attacker's connection.

» Never Open or Respond to unknown emails:

Just by opening an email, the sender can be notified of the validity of your email.

» Never click on links embedded with an email:

Links within emails can direct may direct users to phished website or install files that may spread malicious software.

» Never open attachments without prior notification:

Attachments may contain malicious software or viruses that may be installed on a computer without the user's knowledge

» Personal financial information should never be sent by email in an unencrypted state.

An email solution that encrypts messages between financial institutions and their customers should be utilized.

» Financial transactions that are conducted on websites should be conducted on secure websites only.

An indicator of a secure website is a URL that begins with “https” in the address, the “s” standing for “secure.” The “https” prefix should be on every page of websites used to conduct transactions, in addition to the sign-in page.

» Privacy policies should be easily found and understood.

If the privacy policy is not easily found and understood, then consider conducting business elsewhere. Privacy policies provided by financial institutions in connection with financial services are required to offer consumers a clear method to “opt out” of certain types of information sharing if the institution engages in them.

» Be cautious when using Wi-Fi

Most Wi-Fi networks do not encrypt information and are not secure. Some use encryption and are more secure, WPA being common and WPA2 the strongest. However, if any Wi-Fi network is to be used, a virtual private network (VPN) should be established and used to encrypt communications. VPN encryption applies all the way from the user’s PC to the host computer, regardless of the type of network used. The encryption methods used by VPN are stronger than WEP and WPA.

» Remember me option

Options to “Remember me” on websites where transactions are conducted should not be used.

» Logoff Computers workstation or Laptops when not in use

Computer and laptops should be logged off, and preferably not left on, when the user steps away.

» Set up auto logoff functions on Computer, Laptops, or Tablets

Computer workstations and laptops should be set to logoff automatically after no more than two minutes of non-use, with a password required to log back in.

» Remove hard drive when disposing of a computer or laptop

Prior to disposing a computer or laptop, remove the hard drive or use a software program that wipes and eliminates all data, following DoD 5220.22M standards for data sanitization.