With everyone from soccer moms to CEOs of big companies conducting most of their personal and business affairs online, opportunities are rife for shady characters to take advantage of those who aren't careful about what they share. Although everyone seems to know how to share their details on the web, few people seem to know what they should share or how to limit access to what they've shared. If you shop online, use social networking, or just watching videos, the security advice in this article isn't something you should be without.
Shopping online is what poses the biggest danger to your finances, since entering your credit card or debit card information on the wrong website can invite criminals to spend your money for you. When you're looking to buy aviation glass or tickets to win a car raffle for example, check websites for lock icons in the browser window. You'll also want to check the site itself out with the Better Business Bureau to make sure it's legitimate. You can also use an extra layer of protection by paying with PayPal or WePay rather than handing over your credit card details.
Most people don't think about it, but they're also putting themselves in danger when they share personal details like their location, phone number, full name, and birthday on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Use privacy settings to restrict your posts to friends and refrain from telling people where you live. Posting your address and the info that you are on vacation, for example, is an invitation for thieves to break in. Be especially careful in sharing details and photos of your kids, as predators may get a hold of them.
Even if all you do is watch videos and look at pictures online, you can still get into trouble by accidentally downloading spyware from shady websites. Signing up for newsletters from your favorite manufacturer of cloth diapers is relatively safe, but downloading programs from sites that claim to be able to rid your computer of viruses is a definite no-no. Also be careful about using Peer to Peer networks, as some users will post fakes or Trojans masquerading as popular files. A good internet security package, such as Norton or Trend Micro, will give you peace of mind.
Another popular scheme that shady characters will try to part you from your important passwords is phishing. With a phishing scam, you receive a seemingly legitimate email or phone call from your bank, phone company, or credit card provider, claiming something is wrong with your account and asking for your login, PIN, or password to confirm. Never give out this information. Legitimate companies will never ask. Always call the company or providers at the phone number on your card (NOT the number in the email) to report the scam.