Every year, cybercriminals steal billions of dollars from unsuspecting computer users and companies by committing credit card fraud.
Although this activity was once relegated to pick-pocketers and mailbox thieves, today roughly half of all credit card fraud starts with online attacks ranging from phishing and email scams to spyware programs such as adware, keyloggers, Trojans, system monitors, browser hijackers, and dialers.
Fortunately, if you know what to watch for – and have good online protection – you can avoid becoming a victim of these fraudsters and keep your personal information safe.
The first step to ensuring that you’re able to catch any form of credit card fraud (online or otherwise) early is to closely monitor your credit card activity. You can do this the old-fashioned way via your credit card company’s official website, or you can find a security program that monitors your credit cards for you and alerts you to suspicious activity.
Here are a few additional tips from Webroot to help you safeguard your personal information online:
- Use varied and complex passwords for all your accounts, including online shopping accounts, bank accounts, social networking sites, etc. (You may want to try using a security software program with a password manager to help you keep them straight.)
- Only provide personal information on secure sites. (Look for “https” in the web address or the lock icon at the bottom of the browser.)
- Do not respond to unsolicited requests for personal information – they are often a sign of phishing.
- Avoid questionable Web sites, such as adult sites and file sharing sites.
- Only download software from sites you trust.
- Practice safe email protocol by not opening messages from unknown senders. Immediately delete messages you suspect to be spam.
Some signs and symptoms that your PC may be infected and require cleanup (as well as updated spyware and virus protection) include:
- Sluggish performance
- Increased number of pop-ups
- New toolbars you can’t delete
- Unexplained changes to homepage settings
- Puzzling search results
- Frequent computer crashes.