- Don’t judge a book by its cover. Cyber criminals hide behind the anonymity of the Internet. What you say and do online is visible to others, and it’s not erasable. Don’t communicate or reveal any personal information to strangers online. Personal information includes your name, address, age, phone number, birthday, email address, social security number, and insurance policy numbers – even your doctor’s name.
- Look before you leap. Don’t enter contests, join clubs, or share your personal information for any reason, unless you know you are on a reputable website. Do not open attachments, click links, or respond to email messages from unknown senders or companies that ask for your personal information. Most organizations – banks, charities, universities, companies, etc. – don’t ask for your personal information over email. Beware of requests to update or confirm your personal information.
- All that glitters is not gold. Be wary of emails offering “free” gifts, prizes, or vacations. These are tricks designed to get you to give up personal information. Personal information can be pieced together to steal identities, money, or credit.
- A chain is as strong as its weakest link. Once we understand the dangers we face online, we need to tell other people who might not be as cyber smart and savvy. Every Internet user, no matter how young or old, is our Nation’s first line of defense against people who might want to do harm. If we all become more aware of who we talk to, what we say, and what we share online we can all make a big difference.