Be Prepared in 2019 to Fight Cyber Thieves 

If you think cybercrimes like scams, frauds, identity theft and data breaches declined in 2018, think again! There were quite a few headline-grabbing security incidents this year that left hundreds of millions of consumer records vulnerable to computer hacks, along with a myriad of scams that lured tech users into handing over personal data and cash.

 Criminals are always on the prowl looking for ways to connect with their victims through phishing emails, fraudulent websites and apps, social media scams, and phony log-in pages. Unfortunately, 2019 will certainly see more of the same with scams and data breaches continuing to be a threat.

 So what can you do about it? You can be proactive. Be smart. Be on the lookout.  

 One of the most proactive measures you can take is to consider freezing your credit, especially since they are free regardless of your age or state in which you reside. You can place a freeze on your credit reports by contacting each of the nationwide credit bureaus:

Equifax (800-685-1111), Experian (888-397-3742), Transunion (888-909-8872).

 Be smart and do not overshare your personal information online, keep your location and accounts on private, don’t post pictures of your school or work ID, don’t accept friend requests from strangers (sometimes a picture may look like a friend when in fact your “friends” account has been compromised). Do use a firewall, do create complex passwords, and do boost your network security.  

 Be on the lookout for phishing or spoofing emails. If you do not know what the term, “phishing” means or are not familiar with email hoaxes, visit ftc.gov or identitytheft.gov to learn how to avoid becoming a victim. Avoid opening attachments or clicking on links in emails to ensure you do not download a virus or malware that can weaken your computer’s security.

 For more information about this Safety and Security Tip or to report a scam, call the Sheriff’s Office fraud line at 258-3292.

To request a Crime Prevention Specialist to speak to members of your community, business, or organization call Community Relations at 258-3280.