Protecting against the unauthorized use of electronic data
Cybercriminals are exploiting coronavirus fears to scam users, steal their personal and financial information, and spread viruses. Such scams are sent through email, texts, or social media and claim to provide coronavirus awareness, products and/or, at times, ask for donations to charity. They can often appear to be from a legitimate organization or individual, including a business partner or friend.
Here are a few tips to avoid being a victim of these scams:
- Don't reveal personal or financial information in an email, and do not respond to email solicitations for this information. This includes following links sent in email.
- Pay attention to the website's URL. Malicious websites may look identical to a legitimate site, but the URL may use a variation in spelling or a different domain (e.g., .com versus .net).
- If you are unsure whether an email request is legitimate, try to verify it by contacting the company directly. Contact the company using the information provided on an account statement, not the information provided in an email. Check out the links provided below on this web site to learn about known phishing attacks and/or how to report phishing.
- Keep a clean machine. Keep all software on internet-connected devices - including PCs, smartphones, and tablets - up to date to reduce the risk of infection from malware.
- Connect to a secure network and use a Parkland College Virtual Private Network to access secure work accounts. Home routers should be updated to the most current software and secured with a lengthy, unique passphrase. Employees should not be connecting to public WiFi to access work accounts unless using a VPN.
- Separate your network when possible, so your work devices are on their WiFi network, and your personal devices are on their own.
- Keep devices with you at all times or stored in a secure location when not in use. Set auto log-out if you walk away from your computer and forget to log out.
- Limit access to the device you use for work. Only the approved user should use the device (family and friends should not use a work-issued device).
- Never give out personal information over the phone unless you initiate the call.
- Shred all document and mail with identifying information.
- Never write down PINs or passwords. Don't use anything easy to guess as a PIN.
- Don't carry any information you don't need in your wallet (Social Security card, extra credit cards, birth certificate, etc.)
- Keep track of all credit cards, ATM and debit cards, receipts, and statements.
- Periodically check your credit rating with each of the three major credit agencies: Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union. You are eligible to receive a free copy of your credit report each year. To access them, visit www.annualcreditreport.com.