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STAYING SECURE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
(from MS-ISAC)

The number of scams and malware taking advantage of social media users and platforms is on the rise. Social media scams are easy to create and can target thousands of people at once due to how users interact with pages, posts, and contacts.

Once your account is compromised, malicious actors can leverage it as a conduit to spread scams and malware to your network of friends or contacts. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram are a few very common examples of social media sites where you and your account could be at risk.

Below are some ways that you can keep your social media accounts safer through smart online practices.

HOW TO IDENTIFY AND PREVENT ATTACKS:

  • Shortened URLs are common tactics used by scammers to conceal where malicious links lead since some social media sites have a character limit.
    A simple scam involves an email with links that are allegedly to posts you have been tagged in. The links will use a URL shortening service to hide the true link destination; a malicious site that can infect your device.
  • Do not click on shortened links in emails and social media messages you receive. Instead, copy and paste the shortened URL into a URL extender to see where you are really going and then choose to click or not.
  • Additionally, never enter your login credentials, in a website that you linked to from a social media post, message, or email.
    Malicious websites that look like the real thing are often used to steal login credentials to compromise accounts.
  • Fake coupons are another tactic scammers use commonly on social media platforms.
    The scammers create a fake coupon requiring you to click a link to download it and put the coupon on a maliciouis website that can infect your device with malware.
  • Treat these with the same skepticism as other suspicious emails and messages.
  • Click baiting is another way scammers can get your information or install malware on your computer.
    Click baiting is when there is a “teaser” to get you to click on a link. For instance, it might suggest a really interesting story (“you won’t believe what happened next…”), challenge you (“I bet you can’t…)” or promise a “giveaway” or “sweepstake.” With the sweepstakes and giveaways, the scammer creates a fake website giving away a product.

They then post the link on social media, directing users to the website to take part in the giveaway. Once there, you may be prompted to enter information, thus exposing your personal data.

The website may alternatively attempt to download malware onto your device.

  • One way to identify and avoid this type of scam is to look for spelling errors.
  • Another way is to check and see if the website is affiliated with the company purportedly offering the giveaway.
  • Additionally, ask yourself, is the prize too good to be true? Scammers frequenly make the prize seemingly larger-than-life in order to attract as many people as possible.
  • When using social media, avoid accpeting friend requests from people you do no know.
    If accepted the scammers can use this to gain access to your personal information with the goal of stealing your identity.
  • If you receive a direct message from someone that you do not trust, delete it.

WHAT YOU SHOULD NOT SHARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

  • Your date of birth – this is a piece of personally identifiable information that criminals can use in committing identiy theft;
  • Your address and phone number – These are privileged pieces of information that you do not need to share on your profile in order to enjoy social media;
  • Answers to common “security questions’ – if you proudly post pictures of your first new car, your high school sports memorabilia, etc., your are posting the answers to the security questions that are commonly used to validate who you are when accessing sensitive accounts or resetting passwords;
  • Location-based check in—these “check-ins” let everyone see that you are not at home and can make you a target!.

REDUCING YOUR INFORMATION FOOTPRINT
(from the MS-ISAC)

How much information about you is recorded and available in both digital and paper formats? Cleaning up your footprint can mean examining social media, online accounts, and even paper records containing sensitive information.

While we may use a few key digital devices and services on a regular basis, they often contain more information about us than is necessary. It’s also likely that devices and services we don’t use anymore still contain information.

By spending a little bit of time and effort, you can better secure your information to safeguard against various forms of identity theft.

DISKS, HARD DRIVES, AND USB DRIVES, OH MY!

  • It’s easy to accumulate a mass of CD’s DVD’s, hard drives, and USB drives that are no longer needed or with data that is no longer needed stored on them.
  • Consider following US-CERT’s guidance on how to securely clean the data off of these items before properly recycling them. Many shredders, including those rated for home use, can shred CDs and DVDs.
  • Check your local community for shredding days as many towns, schools and office supply businesses will sponsor shredding events.

CLEAN UP YOUR PAPER TRAIL!

  • Do you have a large quantity of paper documents that may contain sensitive information about yourself, financial accounts, government identification information, tax returns?
  • Go through these documents and check whether it is something you truly need to hold onto. If the answer is no, be sure to securely dispose of it by shredding it and recycling the shredded pieces. Simply ripping up sensitive documents is not enough to guarantee your information is unreadable.
  • Not sure how long you should hold on to those old documents? The Federal Trade Commission has a handy website – “A Pack Rat’s guide to Shredding” with information on how long you should hold on to those documents!

CLOSING OLD ONLINE ACCOUNTS!

  • It is common to use many different shopping sites, social media outlets, online storage, clubs, and other online outlets that require you to enter, store, and sometimes share information from or about you.
  • If you are no longer using these accounts, consider removing information that may be sensitive and consider closing them out if you do not plan to use them again.
  • Sometimes, it is easiest to check out as a guest when shopping online. Checking out as a guest should minimize the data retained about you.

OLD SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS!

  • Remember MySpace? LiveJournal? Do you still have an old email account or an account on an old dating website? As we move from Myspace to Facebook to Twitter, Instagram, and the other latest and greatest social media platforms, our old accounts and information are left behind, filled with personal details.
  • Consider closing out social media accounts that you no longer use, as it will reduce your digital footprint.
  • Keep in mind that all social media platforms have different policies when deleting old accounts and content. Be sure to read the policy. And, don’t forget to remove the app from your smartphone, too!

OVERSHARING ON SOCIAL MEDIA THAT YOU DO USE!

  • If you frequently use social media or online accounts, which contains lots of personal details or information that you think should be safeguarded more closely, consider removing it from your profile or deleting the posted content.
  • Think about if the information you continue to share could be used against you or combined with other information to be used against you. Enough pieces of personal information combined together can be very useful to cybercriminals.
  • Being aware of any information that you share that could be used to respond to “Challenge” questions, which are frequently used to reset passwords. What does that mean? How could information be combined to be used against you? Think about your online bank account. If you forget your password what types of questions do they ask? Probably something about the color of your car, your mother’s maiden name, your birthday, or pets’ names. Did you post a picture of your new car? Friend your mother or her brother on social media? Answer a meme about your birth month and day? Share adorable pictures of Fluffy? If you did, you’ve helped someone find out the answers to your bank’s security questions!
  • This is the case for many of the pieces of information you may share online and many online accounts that use challenge questions to reset passwords. Information commonly used for challenge questions include the above examples and other details, such as your favorite sports team, vacation spot, fruit, ice cream, type of reading material, youngest sibling, elementary school name, and so on. As you clean up your data think about what information could be used to answer your security questions and try to remove the data from your social media accounts.

These short tips can make a world of difference in lowering your information’s exposure to others. By questioning if you need to share or provide certain information online as you move forward, you can save yourself from any of the unnecessary overexposures we discuss here.

Additionally, by taking a look at both your digital and paper trails to do these activities on a routine basis, you can be sure to keep overexposure in check.


 

Ways to Protect Your ID

Under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) and Privacy Laws we are required to ensure the confidentiality of a consumer’s information. Here are ways a consumer can protect their ID’s from theft:

  • Monitor credit annually
    • www.annualcreditreport.com
  • Use a P.O. Box
  • Opt-out of junk mail / internal marketing lists / offers of credit
    • https://dmachoice.org OR https://www.optoutprescreen.com
  • Enroll in the “DO NOT CALL” registry with FTC (Federal Trade Commission); it’s FREE!
    • Register online: www.donotcall.gov
    • 888)382-1222 / TTY (866)290-4236


TO DO LIST when your computer is hacked or phished:

  1. Change all passwords
  2. Run anti-spyware/malware and anti-virus programs
  3. Clear out private information in your internet browsers; clear out sensitive data from internet Temp Folder (clearing cache, delete history)
  4. Close online accounts, notify banks/institutions to obtain new accounts (if needed)


ID Theft Victim TO DO LIST



Take back your life in 7 Steps:
www.idhijack.com
STEP 1
Contact the 3 credit bureaus; ask that they issue a fraud alert and attach a statement to your credit report, get copies from the 3 bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion - see below)

STEP 2
Review your credit reports thoroughly; look for accounts you did not apply for or open, inquiries you did not initiate, or defaults and delinquencies you did not cause

STEP 3
File a report with your Local Police or in the community where the ID theft took place; keep a copy of the Police report

STEP 4
Fill out an ID theft victim’s complaint and affidavit form; available from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.ftc.gov/idtheft or (877)FTC-HELP {382-4357}

STEP 5
Close any accounts that have been accessed fraudulently; contact all creditors – including banks / credit card companies / other service providers where your accounts have been compromised

STEP 6
Stop payment on checks; if a thief stole checks or opened bank accounts in your name, contact a major check verification company to report the fraud activity

STEP 7
Contact the loan Postal Inspector; if you believe someone has changed your address through the post office or has committed mail fraud – ask the Postmaster to forward all mail in your name to your own address



Credit Reporting Agencies

To contact a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA)
Equifax
Credit Information Services – Consumer Fraud Div. P.O. Box 105496 Atlanta, GA 30348-5496 Ph: (800)997-2493 www.equifax.com
Experian
P.O. Box 2104 Allen, TX 75013-2104 Ph: (888)EXPERIAN {397-3742} www.experian.com
TransUnion
Fraud Victim Assistance Dept. P.O. Box 390 Springfield, PA 19064-0390 Ph: (800)680-7289 www.transunion.com
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All text and original graphics copyright © 2012 Home State Bank

Home State Bank, 202 3rd Ave, PO Box 79, Royal, IA 51357
www.hsbroyal.com | 712-933-5511 | 877-474-5511 | FAX: 712-933-2397
For questions, e-mail hsb@ncn.net

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