Every day you hear aboutscammers, hackers, and thieves, trying to use theinternet to steal your money and your financialinformation.
The fact is you, me, we, canfoil many of their attempts.
Every day, we do things to makeit tough for bad guys to break into our homesand our cars.
We can make it tougher forthem to break into our computers too.
Here are some ways to foila hacker and protect your financial information.
Install security softwareon your computer.
Well-known companies offerplenty of free options.
Set the software to updateautomatically so it can deal with any new security threats.
While you're at it, set youroperating system and web browser to update automaticallytoo.
If you're not sure how, use theHelp function and search for automatic updates.
If you get a phone call, anemail, a text, or a pop-up that says your computer has avirus or malware, don't buy the story or the securitysoftware they're selling.
It could be a trick to get youto buy software that's worthless or even harmful.
Treat your financial informationlike cash.
It's a hot commodity.
If someone asks for yourfinancial information, say your social security, creditcard, or bank account number, ask why they need it and howthey're going to protect it.
If you think you've found agood deal online but you aren't familiar with thecompany, dig a little deeper.
A quick internet search withthe name of the company and the word review or complaintcan reveal a lot.
Always look for a physicaladdress and phone number too.
That way you know who to contactif there's a problem.
Don't provide your personal orfinancial information unless the website you'reon is secure.
If the URL doesn't start withhttps, don't enter your financial information.
That S stands for secure.
It means the information you'resending is encrypted and protected.
Make your passwords count.
They should be at least 10characters and a mix of numbers, letters, andspecial characters.
Don't use your name, birthdate, or common words.
Don't use the same passwordfor several accounts as tempting as that maybe.
If it's stolen, hackerscan use it to access your other accounts.
Keep your passwords in a secureplace, and don't share them with anyone.
Back up your computer files.
For example, copy importantfiles to an external hard drive on a regular basis.
That way if there's a problemwith your computer, you won't lose everything.
Life is online whether you liveit using a smartphone, a tablet, a laptop, or a desktop,it's a good time to make computer securitya habit.
Find out more atOnGuardOnline.
Gov, the federal government's site to helpyou be safe, secure, and responsible online.