Account hijacking occurs when a criminal obtains your personal banking information and uses it to take over your bank accounts. An estimated 2 million people are hit with account hijacking each year. Follow these suggestions to help reduce your risk of account hijacking.
- When conducting business online, use a secure browser that encrypts or scrambles purchase information and make sure your browser's padlock or key icon is active.
- Be savvy with your password. Experts advise a combination of letters and numbers...and avoiding pet names, your home address, and similar easy-to-crack codes.
- If you receive an unsolicited email, or one that you consider suspicious, delete it. Remember: your bank will never email you and ask you to go to another site to "verify information."
- Install anti-virus software. Your computer's anti-virus software is like a vaccine - it works at first, but you need to keep it up-to-date to guard against new strains.
- Use a firewall. This protective wall between the outside world and your computer can help prevent unauthorized access to your computer. Updates are called patches, and you should check regularly with your software company to be sure you have the latest patches.
- Install anti-spyware software and update it regularly.
- Never run a program unless you know it to be authored by a person or company that you trust. Also, don't send programs of unknown origin to your friends or coworkers simply because they are amusing -- they could contain a virus program.
For more information on computer security, visit www.cert.org/tech_tips/home_networks.html