Cyber Security – the same rules as 100 years ago
I remember the first time I was able to babysit someone other than my little brothers. It was an exciting milestone in my tween years. I had studied a book from the library and my mom reviewed it with me. I had a check list. I was ready. I had wanted to do this for a long time. I was going to be watching the neighbor’s baby for two hours. My mom was at home, right across the ally.
One of the important things from that library book was not opening the door to strangers. The rule was: Don’t answer the door. Don’t let anyone know that you are home alone, with the baby and without an adult.
This story leads me to my topic this month, Cyber Security. I am not an expert on this topic by any means, but for some reason last month I had friends and family send me emails wondering if they were authentic or if they were evil. (NOTE: Just like a cold, I do not want your cyber infections! DO NOT send me your emails wanting to know if they are good or bad!)
#1 DO NOT CLICK ON ANY LINKS IN THE EMAIL
#2 DO NOT GIVE THEM YOUR CREDIT CARD NUMBER (Over the phone or online)
Here is my DADA (Data – Analysis – Deduce – Action) processes so you can feel empowered to make the right decision about a link, someone asking for personal information, an unfamiliar text message or a stranger at your door.
- Call the company and ask if they sent this email.
- Google the subject of the email.
- Google the phone number of the person that left the message.
- If it is a phone call, tell them to send you the details of what they are selling or promoting or get the phone number to call them back once you confirm what they are saying.
Example- someone calls and says that your granddaughter is in another country and was in an accident and needs your help. “Give us your credit card number now.” Ask for their phone number and tell them you will call them back once you confirm their story.
- Google the phone number that shows up from a text telling you there is a problem or you won something.
- Who is the email from – often an email can look official. Look at the email address of who it is from. Is it from a company or a private account? Google that email address and you will find it is a bad email.
- What did you learn from the data you collected?
- Call a friend and tell them about the situation and see what they think. Often when you start to talk about it out loud you can feel that something isn’t right about it and your friend might help you sort it out faster.
- If it seems too good to be true, it usually is.
Now that you have some facts and you have analyzed the information you need to ask yourself, “Do I find this information to be true, honest and factual?” Or “Is this a stranger standing at my door trying to get in and do harm?”
Example: One time I had a salesman walk into my backyard and try to sign me up for a solar farm. I am interested in those things and yet I was very uncomfortable with his sales approach. After he took 30 minutes of my life, on a lovely Saturday afternoon that I cannot have back, I asked him a simple question. “Would you give your social security number and a credit card number to a total stranger who walked into your backyard, un-invited on a Saturday, with no idea if he is trustworthy?” He didn’t answer. Red flags were popping up with this guy. He didn’t have a business card, it was a sign-up now or you miss the chance kind of thing. NO WAY! I asked him to leave my property and have a nice day. I then called the police to make sure he wasn’t doing anything more nefarious. I did my DADA process, he didn’t add up for me. My action was to ask him to leave.
- If YES – this information is true and honest – act on that.
Example: After calling the credit card company about an email you received saying you need to click the link to change your password, they confirm that you do need to change your password. Don’t click on the link. Delete the email and go directly to the website, log in and make the change.
- If NO – this information is false and dishonest– report the scam or attempted hack.
Example: When you call the credit card company about an email you received saying you need to click the link to change your password, and they can’t confirm it and they didn’t send the email, don’t click on the link. Report the issue to your credit card company and give them all the information. You then delete the email from your inbox.
Talk about this with your friends and family. It is really important. Billions of dollars are stolen from people each year because someone took advantage of them. They didn’t have these tools.
Here are four links I highly recommend you check out, become familiar with and share with friends:
FBI Scams on the Internet and Safety
FBI Information About Internet Fraud
AARP Report from July of 10 Ten Scams
AARP Outsmart Your Spam Scams
I hope you find this to be helpful. I don’t want to see my friend’s kind heartedness get taken advantage of by a cyber predator. I would love to hear about how you stopped these types of people and reported it to the police, their company or FBI.