Simple things such as opening an email attachment, following a link in a text message, or making an online purchase can expose you and your network to cybercriminals. To prevent cybercrime and network intrusions you need to always be on guard an aware of potential vulnerabilities.
There Are 3 Areas You Need Protection:
Systems and Data
- Update systems and software and install an industry standard anti-virus program.
- Use strong, unique passwords and change them regularly. Do not use the same password for every account.
- If you receive an unexpected attachment, do not open it.
- Do not conduct any sensitive transactions such as purchases on a public Wi-Fi network
- Do not use public charging stations in airports, hotels, or shopping centers. Use your own charger and USB cord and at an electrical outlet instead.
Money and Information
- Inspect all email addresses and URLs in your correspondence. Cybercriminals often attempt to fool recipeints with email addresses that are similar to legitimate ones, sometimes it is just one letter difference.
- Never click a link in an unsolicited email or test message. A common trick is to try to get you to “update your information” or “verify your account”. Doing so surrenders your private information to bad actors.
- Carefully scrutinize all electronic requests for a payment or transfer of funds.
- Be wary of any message that urges immediate action. They are trying to panic you.
- Make online purchases with a credit card for an extra layer of protection against fraud.
- Do not send money to any person you meet online or allow a person you don’t know well to access your bank account to transfer money in or out.
What to do if you are a victim
If you are the victim of an online or internet-enabled crime, file a report with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) as soon as possible.
Crime reports are used for investigative and intelligence purposes. Rapid reporting can also help support the recovery of lost funds.
Visit ic3.gov for more information, including tips and information about current crime trends.
Learn about other common scams and crimes. And discover more about the work of the FBI’s Cyber Division.
If You Spot a Scam Message, Report It to the FTC
Receive a suspicious message? Report it to the Federal Trade Commission so they can help protect others.
Note: The FBI does not send mass emails to private citizens about cyber scams. If you received an email that claims to be from the FBI Director or other top official, it is most likely a scam.