When it comes to protecting their finances from cybercriminals, most consumers have heard the online security basics before: Avoid entering financial information at a public computer, and don't repeat passwords across multiple sites.
The same experts also warn against using public Wi-Fi hotspots to conduct transactions on your own computer. "You never know who's sitting next to you at Starbucks when you log on to pay your bills or check your bank statement," says Eric Friedberg, co-founder of Stroz Friedberg, a security firm in New York City.
And just to beef up online security, all security experts advise consumers to take advantage of extra layers of protection, such as secondary passwords, security questions or tokens, if their financial institutions offer those services. But as our daily lives grow more intertwined with technology and cybercriminals become more sophisticated, there's always more you can do to make sure you aren't the next victim.
Here's what you need to know for online security 2.0.
Don't Take Social Media Offers at Face Value
For years, scammers have been using email to dupe their victims into sending money or divulging sensitive information. While that's still a problem, scammers are increasingly turning to social networks, such as Facebook, and using your friends against you, says Joe Ferrara, president and CEO of Wombat Security Technologies in Pittsburgh.
"To ensure safe social networking, never connect with anyone you haven't met, verify the identity of new friends and look out for scam messages, even from trusted friends, which could indicate an imposter," Ferrara says.
Spotting an imposter may be tough at first. The message, which can appear as a direct message or a post on your Facebook wall, is designed to look like it came from your friend's profile. A free treat from your favorite store presented by a friend can be a tempting offer, but before you click, Ferrara says you should ask yourself a few questions.
- Is the offer too good to be true?
- Is this really something my friend would write?
- Does the language have awkward phrasing or a lot of typos?