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Security
October 28, 2019

Your personal information is valuable. That’s why hackers try to steal it. This year, for National Cyber Security Awareness Month, we’ve got tips to help you keep your personal information from ending up in the hands of a hacker.

Protect your phone

Let’s start with protecting the data on your phone. Set your phone to lock automatically and create a passcode to unlock it. Use at least a 6-digit passcode.

When you notice an update for your phone is available, run it promptly. Those updates could include critical security patches.

Back up your phone regularly. That way, if you lose it, you’ll still have access to your personal information.

Use an app that will help you find your phone if you lose it – or if someone steals it. If it’s the latter, you can use the app to remotely lock your phone or erase the data on it.

Protect your computer

To protect your computer from threats like malware use security software and update it regularly, or set it to update automatically.

Protect your accounts

To protect your accounts, use strong passwords. Consider using multi-factor authentication for accounts that offer it. (If you’re trying to enable multi-factor authentication on your account, it might be called two-factor authentication or two-step verification.)

Connect safely

Know what makes a wireless network secure. Start with your own wireless network and router. Then find out how to use public Wi-Fi safely.

Keep your info to yourself

Another way to protect your personal information is to recognize scammers’ attempts to steal it. Phishing attacks by email or text may try to trick you into giving up your passwords, account numbers, or other personal information. Or callers might lie about your Social Security number being suspended and urge you to contact them. (Listen to this recording of a Social Security scam.)

Check out more tips about online security. If you want to get more consumer tips in your inbox, sign up for Consumer Alerts.

Security
October 22, 2019

Influencers, celebrities and other people with strong online followings can be, well, influential. When considering whether you want to buy something or use a service – especially when you’re buying online – you might look at a person’s or company’s social media. A bigger following might mean something to you, maybe telling you something about their legitimacy or how good their product or service is.

A company called Devumi knew that and sold fake followers to help people and organizations gain strong “followings.” The FTC has reached a settlement with Devumi for its illegal actions that deceived consumers.

So how did Devumi work? It operated several websites, including Devumi.com, TwitterBoost.co, Buyview.co, and Buyplays.co. People could go to these pages and buy fake followers, subscribers, views and likes for their social media accounts. That included accounts on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Vine and SoundCloud.

So how can you be sure that the person or company you’re interested in has real followers? Truth is, you can’t be sure.

So, as you’re shopping online, go beyond the number of followers and likes. Check out independent reviews of the product or service. Of course, those can be faked, too, so read a bunch of reviews to see what you can figure out. Also, search onllne for the name of the product or service, plus the word “complaint.” Looking for more tips about shopping online? Check out Comparing Products Online.