Cyber Security Tips to Protect Your Finances & Family

Did you know that according to the Gallop research group, 1 out of 4 U.S. adults is impacted by ransomware? Or that the cost of these crimes could be up to $420 billion per year for the 50 million Americans affected?
Ransomware is a computer “virus” that is used to encrypt, or lock, files on a victim’s computer system. Once the files are encrypted the hacker can pull sensitive information, like Social Security Numbers, and demand that the victim pay a fee to get it returned. Here are some tips on how to keep your information protected against online criminals from the Florida Prosperity Partnership (FPP) Coalition’s presentation entitled “The Undeniable Link Between Cyber Safety and Financial Capability”:
  • Have a firewall and ransomware protection program on your devices, even if it is basic.
  • Regularly back up your files in an offsite & offline location, such as a flash drive. This allows you to have access to your information in a way that cannot be affected by ransomware.
  • Log out of personal accounts and don’t share private information on public networks, like the free internet offered at coffee shops, etc.
  • Always think twice before giving out your information online. Most companies never call, email or text you to get your personal information. If you aren’t sure about a person who contacts you, don’t respond and call the bank or other organization they claim to be with.
  • Don’t click on links in suspicious emails.
  • Some signs of suspicious emails include one with an unfamiliar tone or greeting. For example, a family member sends a very formal request or a work colleague is too familiar
  • The email might have grammar and spelling errors
  • Look for strange email addresses, links, and domain names. For example, if someone is emailing you claiming to be from your bank but uses an email address ending in @gmail.com. You would expect the email to be related to the bank that is contacting you, not from Gmail.
  • Requests that sound too urgent and require you to follow a link, download an attachment, or enter your personal information. You can place your mouse over links to see where you will go if you click. If it looks like a suspicious link (not matching the sender’s claimed information) don’t click!
While cybercriminals will still try their best to trick anyone they can; following these steps will help to decrease the likelihood of them affecting you!
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