Growing up at the advent of the internet, millennials are some of the most tech-savvy people. But that doesn’t mean that they necessarily use technology as safely as they should. It’s easy to use the same passwords for all accounts or even forgo a password on phones, but this opens you up to incredible risk. You may think you’re safer than the average person because of your knowledge, but you’re probably cutting some corners in your online security.
Here are three forms of common internet scams and how to protect against them:
Phishing is a method of attempting to obtain private information from people using deceptive email messages. According to a study by Verizon, 30 percent of phishing messages are opened by recipients and 12 percent are clicked. While you may think you know better than to get trapped by an email scam, they are getting more and more difficult to detect. Be on the lookout for emails that appear to be from reputable brands. Always double-check the source URL to ensure that it is legitimate. If anyone asks for private information such as passwords or account numbers, do not respond! Actual companies will never ask for sensitive information in this manner.
Identity theft is when criminals take personal information to take over your private accounts, such as credit cards, or open new ones, among other illegal activity. It can happen through phishing, unsafe internet connections, or a number of other ways. Since there are so many areas of opportunity for thieves, it is wise to invest in identity theft protection. Look for an identity theft protection service that offers monitoring and will also aid in ID restoration if theft occurs. While it can never be 100 percent promised that you will not have your identity stolen, this is one of the most effective precautions you can take.
Malware is malicious software designed to damage or gain unauthorized access to a computer system. These are the viruses that people often think of in regards to internet security. In addition to getting an anti-virus software, you can be proactive in your protection. Reminders to update the programs on your computer can be annoying and easy to keep delaying, but don’t. Keeping your operating system, plugins, and browsers up-to-date in order to get the most current security protection.
While you’re at it, remove any software that you no longer use. Malware often targets password managers, so users beware. Do your research before starting to use one, or figure out another way to keep track of your passwords. Always change them up between websites, and make them as random as possible.
While it may be scary to think that your identity could get stolen or that you could be the target of some other type of online attack, it’s important to prepare yourself for the worst. The truth is, you could easily be a victim. Do your research, get the appropriate software and services to protect yourself, and always be on the lookout for suspicious activity. You may never be completely protected, but you can have peace of mind knowing you are using the right tools and taking the right steps.