Internet Safety

Internet Safety

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  1. Just about everyone uses the internet these days.  I know a lady who is 87 years old and who has just taken up surfing the web!  But no matter how old you are, who you are, what you do, etc, the one main thing that you have to be aware of is your personal security on the internet.

    The internet is designed to share information with you: to entertain, to give news, to communicate with others, and to buy and sell just about anything that you can think of.  To that end, a lot of sites that you go to want your money… ANYONE on the internet wants your money and some people or agencies will stoop to very unscrupulous and illegal means to get it.  To prevent a lot of issues that you may come up against in the future, read this article and practice the things that you find here.

    1. There are a lot of ways to pay for things on the internet and a lot of places to buy them.  But to do this safely, one of the best things that you can do is to get yourself a prepaid debit/credit card from WalMart, CVS, or just about anywhere that you shop.  When you get your card, and before you buy anything on the internet, put only enough money on the card to cover the cost and shipping of what you want to purchase.  By doing this, if your card information is stolen, all that you stand to lose is the actual money that you have on the card in the first place.  The card is easily cancelled and some agencies will even work with you to recoop the amount that you’ve lost.  Also, some of the prepaid card companies even have security settings on your account that will send you an email or text message whenever your card is used, allowing you to know if your card is being used without your approval.
    2. A lot of sites sell subscription services for whatever product or service they may be selling.  Be sure to find out exactly how much you will be paying (total cost) and whether or not the charge is recurring, or charging your card every month, week, year, etc.  One of the big things that companies depend on it the ease in which you can spend your money, and the difficulty in in which you can stop the money from being spent.  People sometimes forget, if they pay something annually on their card, that they have the recurring payment in place and don’t realize until it’s too late that they’re still being charged long after their product need has expired.  Be sure to keep your accounts from taking recurring payments.
    3. Keep all of your account information personal and don’t share it with anyone for any reason!  This is sort of a general knowledge thing but remember that sometimes we may be enticed to share information.
    4. Change your passwords on all of your accounts on a random basis but at least monthly.  Be sure that your passwords contain caps, special characters, numbers, and even spaces if the account will allow it.  Do not share your password with others, and if you have to write it down, keep it in a safe place!
    5. Some places on the internet offer goods or services on a “trial” basis but want your credit card or payment method in advance.  Don’t fall for this!  They may say “Your card will never be charged!” but if there wasn’t going to be a charge in the first place then they wouldn’t need your card or payment method!  A lot of these “trial” companies are hoping that you forget that you gave your card number in the first place and will quickly and quietly take whatever amount that you initially agreed upon.  Also, many of the companies make it easy to purchase on a trial basis but next to impossible to cancel the sale even before the trial period has ended!  Don’t let this happen to you!
    6. Email.  There are a lot of email scams on the internet.  A lot of them claim to be from your bank, your cellular service, etc. and request you to sign into your account by clicking on a link in the email.  Generally, the link will take you to a site that looks exactly like the one they are represting but the information that you give on the login page is simply stored in their database to be used at their leisure.  Banks, agencies such as PayPal, etc will never email you and ask for your account information.  And they certainly won’t begin the email with “Dear Sir/Maam”.  If the company wants to contact you by email they will use the name that you gave when you joined their institution!  If you ever get an email requesting you to log into your account, or requesting your account information, notify your account holder immediately!  They will give you instructions on how to proceed!
    7. More about email.  When you open an email account, they tend to ask you many personal things about you, your family, etc.  Find an email client that keeps the questions to a minimum!  You should never have to give other than the basic information needed: name, username, password, etc.  Yandex Mail is probably the best, fastest, and easiet ones that I’ve ever dealt with.  Another thing is to keep a “fictitious profile” somewhere on your pc that gives a name, age, dob, address, and answers to things that you normaiiy would need to get an email account.  Keep it saved on your desktop in a document format that you can open and copy the information to whatever account sign-up page that you’re working with!
    8. Dating sites, Craigslist, Chatrooms, Messengers, Facebook, etc.  Remember that when you put your personal informaiton on any of these sites it immediately becomes public knowledge!  If you don’t want the entire world knowing the information that you put on the site then simply don’t put it there!  Many sites want to share your cantacts with you… don’t let them!  If someone added my name to a shared contacts list I would be very upset and I’m sure that you would as well.  Just don’t do it!  And, you never know who is actually lurking behind that profile that you’re chatting or communicating with!  Remember that people lie to get information, money, or worse.  Don’t let it happen!
    9. Never, never, never give out your personal address, phone number, or other personally identifying information over the internet to anyone!  This can result in any number of evil and dangerous things happening to you or your family!  You may think that you know who it is that you’re giving it to but then, you really don’t.
    10. Remember that whatever you share on the internet, you might as well treat as though its for the public, because it certainly can be!  Understand the dangers of using the internet BEFORE you get caught in a scam and lose potentially hundreds to thousands of dollars, your personal safety and security, the safety of your family and friends, and your peace of mind!

    There are many ways to keep yourself safe on the internet but to be sure, unless you actually see the person, know the person, and trust the person that you’re dealing with online then chances are that you’re in for a rude awakening! 

    Be careful, be safe, and good luck surfing the web!

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