More than half of U.S. consumers today think that storing their credit and banking information in the cloud is riskier than driving without a seat belt, according to one recent poll…and those consumers are correct. In fact, American consumers lost $30 billion to cyber-scammers in 2021, reported the FBI, as ruthless cyber criminals continue to develop new email schemes designed to separate consumers from their money
Since so much of our personal business is conducted online, at least some of our financial information is out there somewhere in cyberspace, and dealing with the impact of compromised information can be painful. Consumers who have been the victim of a cyber-crime lost an average of 21 hours over the past year dealing with the fallout. Yet many consumers are failing the most basic requirement of online safety. Here’s a basic guide for staying out of the crosshairs of cyber criminals.
- Use unique, smart, secure passwords for each of your online accounts. A good password can help prevent unauthorized access to your devices and networks.
- Be alert to ‘phishing’ attempts. Delete emails from any senders you don’t know, and never click on their file attachments.
- Don’t click on posts offering free trips or other items that sound too good to be true, because they almost always are.
- Monitor your financial statements for any suspicious activity, such as small “test” amounts often charged by cyber criminals, who may try to charge much more to that account next time if you don’t report the first attempt.
- Be protected against malware, and don’t put off updating your software. Those updates often contain important patches for dangerous security holes that cyber criminals could use to access your device.
- Use a secure backup solution to protect your files, and backup regularly so criminals can’t hold them for ransom.