How to keep your personal information protected from scammers and hackers
ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The holiday crunch is here, and let’s face it: the number of us shopping online for those gifts has jumped exponentially since the pandemic. The need for all of us to practice proper online safety is greater than ever.
Valecia Stocchetti from the Center for Internet Security knows how to keep your personal information safe from hackers and scammers. She said that one of the biggest mistakes people make is using an unsecured Wi-Fi network.
“One of the biggest is using public Wi-Fi. If you’re at the coffee shop and you see a deal come by, you really want it and you don’t want to wait,” Stocchetti said. “You’re not connected to something secure, like your own personal data or something like a virtual private network—a VPN—then you’re really opening yourself up to an attack of your personal information.”
It’s also important to take note of the address bar in your browser while shopping on any site. Every internet address begins with the letters HTTP. But if you plan on entering your credit card information, you’ll want to make sure that it reads HTTPS.
Stocchetti said, “The ‘s’ stands for ‘secure.’ Secure means that it’s an encrypted connection, so that your information isn’t going through for the world to see.”
If you’re scrolling through your social media and an ad pops up that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. “When you see something that maybe you saw on Amazon for $300 and now it’s $100 on your social media ads—I would say, definitely take note of that. It’s probably not legitimate,” said Stocchetti.
Do you really need a separate password for every website that we use? Stocchetti said, “Yes. Absolutely! Don’t reuse passwords across your applications. If an attacker gets one password and you are reusing it, then they have all of them.”
Stocchetti also recommended multi-factor authentication along with that unique password for each site. And never store your credit card information for faster checkout the next time. A lot of sites will do that automatically, so you really have to pay attention and click it “off” when making your payment.