The internet has proven to be a useful and necessary tool for many. Unfortunately, scammers and those who want to steal your identity know this all too well. Since cybercrimes are one of the fastest growing crimes, the Beavercreek Police Department would like to remind residents of the following information to help prevent cyberattacks.
What is cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity is protecting computers and mobile devices – such as smartphones and tablets – from unauthorized access, attacks, and harm. Businesses and consumers have increased their reliance on technology, making it crucial for businesses and individuals to safeguard personal information.
Threats of cybersecurity:
Pharming is a scheme that utilizes sending users a fake website where hackers can secretly collect your personal information and passwords. To combat this, do not open an email you are not familiar with or have not signed up to receive.
Phishing (email impersonation) sends you fake emails that appears to come from a legitimate source looking to verify personal or financial information. When reading emails, be sure to look for red flags. Messages may contain grammar errors or spelling mistakes. Additionally, the web address may be similar to a legitimate company, organization, or government agency, but not exact. Scammers often create imposter websites to trick you into revealing personal information to untrusted sources.
Spyware is malicious code that is hidden on your computer, recording everything you do and ultimately sharing your personal information over the Internet. Never download software from a source you do not trust. Look for “https” or the “lock icon” to ensure the website is secure.
Trojans and Viruses appear to be useful tools (downloaded programs) at first, but subsequently damage and affect your computer’s normal operation through self-replicating harmful programs. This can be prevented with a trusted company that has proven firewall/antivirus software.
Tips to protect yourself against cyberattack:
You can help avoid cyber risks by taking the following steps in advance:
- Limit personal information you share online, change privacy settings and do not use location features
- Keep software applications and operating systems up-to-date
- Create strong passwords by using upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and special characters; utilize two methods of verification
- Watch for suspicious activity that asks you to do something right away, offers something that sounds too good to be true, or needs your personal information - when in doubt, do NOT click
- Protect your home and/or business using a secure Internet connection and Wi-Fi network, and change passwords regularly
- Don’t share PINs or passwords, use devices that use biometric scans when possible (e.g. fingerprint scanner or facial recognition)
- Check your account statements and credit reports regularly
- Be cautious about sharing personal financial information, such as your bank account number, Social Security number or credit card number
- Use antivirus and anti-malware solutions, and firewalls to block threats
- Do not click on links in texts or emails from people you don’t know, scammers can create fake links to websites
- Remember that the government/police department will not call, text or contact you via social media about owing money
- Keep in mind that scammers may try to take advantage of financial fears by calling with work-from-home-opportunities, debt consolidation offers, and student loan repayment plans
Click here for additional tips and resources regarding cybersecurity from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
If you are a Beavercreek resident and become a victim of identity theft, report it by clicking here.