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Ways To Protect You and Your Family from Cybercrimes

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The Department of Homeland Security recognizes the month of October as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM), and we want to make sure your family is protected from cybercrimes. If you and your family are online, you may be exposed to cyberattacks. There are more than 10 million internet-connected devices in the world providing unlimited opportunities for hackers to gain sensitive information from consumers. It’s important to be proactive to protect your entire family.

Cybersecurity protection agencies most commonly advertise to seniors, but when it comes to identity theft, children are much more likely to be impacted. Children are a primary target because most children, and their parents, will not look at a child's credit report until they are around 18 years old. Criminals can open credit cards in a child's name and steal money for years. This debt can go unnoticed until your child is denied a college loan because they’re unknowingly in a million-dollar hole. If you believe your child’s identity has been compromised, or would like to place a credit freeze on your child's account, follow these instructions from the FTC.

Most individuals assume they won’t be a target for a cyberattack, however, two-thirds of online attacks are random. Phishing scams via email are a prime example of this. Ninety-two percent of cybersecurity issues start with an email, which is why the entire family must take precautions, especially if there is a shared computer in the household.

Hackers have become craftier when targeting families by pretending to be trusted individuals — banks, cell phone companies, the government and even friends and family members. So, when opening emails, look out for these warning signs:

-       Asking for private information or for you to take an action

-       Out-of-the-ordinary or unexpected emails or links

-       Unusual language, typos and alterations to account names or information

-       A sense of urgency in the email

-       Attachments


Even if your family doesn’t share a computer, it’s important to protect all devices in the household. Hackers can access sensitive information through unsecured internet-connected devices. If they can get into one device, they can likely access your family’s entire network. For protection:

-       Replace default passwords and use strong, unique passwords that are changed regularly

-       Use multi-factor authentication

-       Stay current on security updates

-       Avoid the use of public Wi-Fi and securely configure personal Wi-Fi networks

-       Avoid using devices and apps that connect to the internet unless they are purchased from a reputable source


As the rate of cybercrimes continues to rise, it is crucial to stay vigilant in protecting yourself. For other helpful tips and resources to protect yourself against cybercriminals, please visit staysafeonline.org and stopfraud.gov.

If you suspect you or a family member has been a victim of fraud, please report any suspicious bank account activity to us immediately by calling 1-888-8CAPFED or visiting us at any Capitol Federal® branch.


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Categories: CapFed® News, Money Smart Kids, Safety and Security
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