With identity theft on the rise, it’s extremely important to be cautious with information revealed online, emphasizes the Miami-Dade Business Affairs Division in highlighting National Cyber Security Awareness Month in October.
Most parents teach their kids to be wary of strangers on social networking sites and to limit the amount of personal information shared online. But many adults fail to practice what they preach and continuously share sensitive information on their profile, such as their birth date, hometown, address, and phone numbers.
Announcing via Facebook one’s being out of town is not advisable, for example, given that a criminal who reads it knows that someone is not at home.
While increased connectivity brings an increased risk of theft and fraud, and no one is immune from becoming a victim, the Business Affairs Division reminds that precautionary steps can help minimize the risk.
Some recommendations are:
• Limit the amount of personal information posted online, and use privacy settings to avoid sharing information widely.
• Set strong passwords, and don’t share them.
• Keep operating systems, browsers, and other critical software optimized by installing updates. Delete all suspicious e-mails without opening them. Be especially careful when opening attachments to e-mails.
• Ensure that commercial websites visited utilize secure transmission measures (usually Secure Sockets Layer or SSL), typically indicated by a key or padlock icon along the lower section of the screen.
• Be certain of dealing with a legitimate business before purchasing goods or services online.
• Look for the lock symbol in a browser's Status Bar and "https" in the address bar, which signify a secure connection.
For additional consumer tips, to check the complaint history of a company, file a complaint or ask consumer-related questions, contact the Miami-Dade Business Affairs Division at 305-375-3677 or visit miamidade.gov/business.