Spam, Phishing and Internet Scams!
Many scammers use the Internet to promote fraud through uninvited email, commonly known as “spam”. These scams include pyramid schemes, investment opportunities, “Risk Free” opportunities, phishing (Identity theft) and many others. New scams come out every day.
Anyone who uses a computer and connects to the Internet needs to be familiar with spam and other types of Internet fraud and take measures to protect themselves and their computers against these types of attack.
There are many places on the Internet that provide free information on how to protect your from Internet Scams. These are some of the sites with helpful information:
Your Local Internet Service Provider should be able to provide additional web site references regarding scams, phishing and other types of fraud.
If you think you are a victim of an Internet fraud, an Internet scam or Identity Theft, here are some suggestions:
- Contact the fraud departments of any one of the three major credit bureaus to check your credit report and place a fraud alert on your credit file
- Close the accounts and/or credit cards that you know or believe have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.
- File a police report and get a copy of the report. Your creditors and others may require a copy of the report to assist you.
- File a complaint with the FTC. The FTC maintains a database of identity theft cases used by law enforcement agencies.
- Contact the Social Security Administration if you believe your Social Security Number has been compromised.
- Review all billing and bank statements for errors and unknown transactions.
- Document all activity to include everyone you contact and who has contacted you. Make copies of all correspondence sent and received.
It is strongly recommended that everyone with a home computer that connects to the Internet have the following on their computer:
- Anti-Virus Software – Be sure to keep your anti-virus software active and update it frequently. New anti-virus database updates are usually out weekly.
- Spam Blocking Software – Run this software at least weekly and update it frequently. New updates are usually released every few weeks.
- Personal Firewall – This helps prevent others from controlling your computer remotely while connected to the Internet.
- Password Protection -- Passwords should be unique and difficult for someone to guess. It is recommended to make your passwords at least 12 characters long and use a combination of upper and lower case letters as well as numbers and special characters. It is also recommended to change your password on a routine basis or anytime your password may have been compromised.
And finally, it is strongly recommended that everyone with a home computer back up all important data, financial records, documents and other important files; and store these backups in a safe location. There are risks associated with transmitting sensitive information using public Internet access. It is very important to encrypt sensitive data before sending this data over the internet. Bank of Kirksville offers encrypted email for secure communication with the bank and recommends the use of this service when including any personal information in an email.