Your entire family must be made aware of the great risk of personal information being divulged on the computer. Just because you keep your virus and spyware protection up to date does not mean your family is safe from online fraud and/or identity theft.
Not all fraudulent e-mail or cyber scams come from a foreign site asking for your identity or financial information. Our clients have received e-mails appearing to be from their actual financial institutions (complete with correct logo!), government agencies, and/or credit card firms, requesting confirmation of account information or other private information.
We suggest you verify the authenticity of ANY e-mail received by calling the bank or agency involved (obtain the phone number yourself—not using any phone number appearing on the e-mail!), and responding ONLY when you have such verification.
Be sure to report any fraudulent e-mails to your local governing authority.
Don’t open e-mails or attachments from an unknown source, as doing so could reveal personal information to that source, or could infect your computer with spyware or malware, enabling a criminal to obtain personal information.
Social networking sites pose a great risk. You simply need to assume that no one is who they say they are online. For example, anyone who can see what high school you or your child went to can obtain the names of others in that graduating class via virtual yearbooks or high school alumni sites. They can then easily assume that identity, contact you pretending to be that former classmate, and obtain much valuable information from you over time. In the guise of “catching up” that person can easily obtain from you the maiden name of your spouse, your current employer, the names and birthdates of your children, when you plan to go on vacation, etc.
Don’t invite a burglary by posting vacation information on social networking sites, and wait until your trip is over to post any vacation pictures.