With holiday shopping just around the corner, I’d like to share a list of Do’s and Don’ts to remind you that you need to be cognizant of online cyber crime predator’s who’d like to profit from your online shopping experience or banking transactions.

This type of crime uses email, web sites, chat rooms or message boards. There are phishing and pharming scams, which use forged e-mails and websites to trick people into giving out personal information such as credit card data, social security numbers, and passwords.

Even with the best online protection service you need to be aware of what’s happening out there. I’ve included a list of basic steps from Semantic who recommend the following basic steps to avoid becoming a victim:


  • Consider disabling file sharing on your computer.
  • Be careful about opening attachments, especially from unknown senders.
  • Familiarize yourself with a Web site’s privacy policy, especially if you are asked to provide confidential and/or personal data.
  • Review bank and credit card statements regularly.
  • Install and regularly update software firewall, antivirus, and anti-spyware solutions. We recommend Norton Internet Security for comprehensive protection.
  • Keep your Windows operating system and all your applications updated with the latest security patches.
  • Create strong passwords and protect them carefully or consider using password protection software. Norton Internet Security encrypts passwords for secure storage, monitors them for unapproved usage, and notifies you when a Web site offers secure login capabilities.
  • Lock your home mailbox.
  • Shred bank and credit card statements and other financial data before disposal.
  • Check your bank and credit card statements monthly.
  • Strong passwords have eight characters or more, and use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.
  • Take advantage of your right to a free annual credit report.
  • If you think you’ve become a victim of ID theft or cybercrime, report it to the proper authorities immediately. Visit the following websites for more information:


  • Don’t provide personal data to anyone over the phone or in person (for a job or loan application, for example) unless you are certain of the other party’s trustworthiness.
  • Don’t ever give out your personal information in response to an email, a web site you’ve come to through an external link, or a pop-up screen that appears on a real Web site. Open a new browser window and type the URL directly into the address bar to ensure the site is legitimate.
  • Don’t keep financial data on laptops unless absolutely necessary; laptops are far more likely to be stolen than desktops.”

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