How to stay safe on the internet

How to stay safe on the internet Published: 

With much of our lives centered around computers, technology and the internet, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is offering these tips to help keep you and your family safe.

“The Sheriff’s Office has committed itself to providing helpful information to help you and your family from becoming a victim,” according to Oconee County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Jimmy Watt. “This includes updates periodically on various types of scams but also information, such as is contained in this press release, on how you protect yourself while you enjoy visiting the internet and your favorite sites and staying in touch with family and friends.”

The Sheriff’s Office is offering the following internet safety tips:

• If anyone calls claiming to be from a technology company and you did not initiate the call and they say that your computer contains viruses or malware or has some type of problem and if you pay money they will repair your computer or remove the harmful items, it is a scam and if you allow those individual(s) remote access to your computer, then your computer could be compromised and any personal or financial information could be compromised and other information could be erased or held for ransom. If someone from the outside gains remote access to your computer in this way, contact your local law enforcement agency immediately and do not pay any ransom, as this could further embolden the scammers. Also, make sure you have your files backed up in a virtual cloud environment and/or on some type of thumb drive.

• Change you passwords on a frequent basis and use different passwords for each internet account you have. The more unique you make them and the more difficult to guess, the better the chance you have from becoming a victim.

• You may also want to consider using two-factor authentication, which provides an additional layer of security by using a second known device. For example, when you change something on your account, such as a password, a text can be sent to you phone advising you of the change.

• Set your internet and social media accounts on the highest security level possible and post as little personal information as you can. Anything could be potentially used by individuals looking to scam and/or steal personal and financial information.

• If someone sends you an e-mail with an attachment and/or a link to another site and you do not know that person, do not open the attachment and/or click on the link as this is a way for viruses, malware or Trojans to be downloaded on your computer or allow someone to gain remote access to your computer.

• Be careful in regards to the sites you log into while in public places that offer Wi-Fi service as those hotspots may not provide enough security.

• Make sure you have your computer’s firewall turned on at all times and keep your antivirus software updated and current. Also make sure that the critical updates on your operating system for your computer are current.

• Look out for social media scams that offer gifts cards, for example, as a prize for taking a survey or for online shopping scams that offer merchandise at discounted prices. If an offer sounds too good to be true, more often than not it is and it could be used to steal personal or financial information.

How to stay safe on the internet Published: