Anchorage, Alaska — Sept. 26, 2017 To coincide with October’s National Cyber Security Awareness Month founded by the National Cyber Security Alliance, Better Business Bureau Serving the Northwest is reminding the public of best practices to staying safe online.
With recent data breaches to private businesses and government entities, it’s more important than ever to take proper steps to secure personal data. Safeguarding data online will help users avoid common scams such as debt collection, phishing scams, sweepstakes scams and identity theft.
In 2017, identity theft reports to BBB Scam Tracker increased by 49 percent with a total of about 700 scams. In comparison, identity theft victims reported 350 scams in 2016. Victims in 2016 also reported to BBB about 1,200 phishing scams. From January to September 2017, phishing victims reported more than 11,000 scams —an increase of 89 percent.
BBB and the National Cyber Security Alliance urge consumers and businesses to give hackers a scare and be cyber aware with these tips:
- Be vigilant with personal information. Consumers should think of personal information like money: value and protect it. They should also be sure they are on a legitimate site before entering personal information. Additionally, they should be wary of communications that pressure them to act immediately or offer something that sounds too good to be true.
- Get two steps ahead. Users should consider looking for new technology that incorporates the strongest authentication tools such as two-factor authentication. This tool requires users to not only sign in with a password and username but also something extra only the user knows or something they have such as a fingerprint or face for facial recognition.
- Keep machines updated. To keep online threats, viruses and malware away, consumers should make sure all devices have the latest security software. Updating devices can reduce the risk of infection from malware.
- Be careful when clicking. Links in emails, social media posts and online advertising are often how cybercriminals try to steal personal information. If something looks suspicious, delete it.
For cybersecurity tips, other scams and the latest alerts, download the BBB App at bbbapp.org. Anyone who feels they may be a victim of a cybercrime should report it to local law enforcement and BBB Scam Tracker at bbb.org/scamtracker. BBB will also be hosting a Free Shredding & Cell Phone Recycling Event with Financial Fitness Fair on Oct. 14. For more information, visit bbb.org/northwest/get-involved/bbb-secure-your-id-day/.