FBI Releases Tips to Help Stop Online Crime

The FBI has released new information to help stop online crime. As working from home and remotely becomes the new normal, everyday activities such as opening an email, clicking on a link or even online shopping can be an invitation to cybercriminals.

A monthly study by Stanford, which surveys 10,000 workers across cities and industries, found that 27 percent of paid full-time days were worked from home in early 2023. Online vulnerability extends beyond the work day, however, as most people use smartphones to shop, chat and more. 92 percent of the U.S. population owns a smartphone.

As the cost of cybercrime approaches $10.5 trillion by 2025, it’s more important than ever for people to follow online safety best practices.  Preventing cybertheft requires proactive thinking and simple steps to protect your systems and data. 

Here are a few tips from the FBI that will ensure you are cautious when connected.

Protect Your Systems and Data

Update systems and software when prompted and install a strong, reputable anti-virus program. Software updates keep computers and mobile devices running smoothly — and they may lower security vulnerabilities as they patch security flaws

Create a strong and unique passphrase for all of your online accounts and change them regularly.

Do not open email attachments unless you are expecting the file or document and have verified the sender’s email address.

Protect Your Connections

Be careful when connecting to a public Wi-Fi network and do not conduct any data-sensitive transactions, including purchases, when using on a public network.

Avoid using free charging stations in airports, hotels, or shopping centers. Cyberthefts can use public USB ports to introduce malware and monitoring software onto devices that access these ports. Use your own charger and USB cord and utilize an electrical outlet instead.

Protect Your Money and Information

Examine the email address in all correspondence and scrutinize website URLs. Scammers often mimic a legitimate site or email address by using a slight variation in spelling. Or an email may look like it came from a legitimate company, but the actual email address is suspicious.

Do not click the link in an unsolicited text message or email that asks you to update, check, or verify your account information. If you are concerned about the status of your account, go directly to the company’s website to log into your account or call the phone number listed on the official website to check on the status of your account.

Carefully scrutinize all electronic requests for a payment or transfer of funds.

Be especially cautious of any messages that urge immediate action.

Make online purchases with a credit card.

Never send money to anyone you meet online or allow a person you don’t know well to access your bank account to transfer or deposit money .

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