Rotarians get a lesson in cyber safety

Long Branch — Aaron Levine from LG Insurance Agency in Long Branch was recently a guest speaker at a Rotary Club of Greater Long Branch lunch meeting, where he spoke about cyber safety, a subject of importance especially during the holidays.

Aaron Levine (l) being thanked by Rotary Club of Greater Long Branch President Walt Thistlewaite.

Below are some tips to keep cyber safe:

• Beware of Phishing Attacks – Online promotions via email, text or social media may look like a steal, but they could be a trap for fraudsters to do just that – steal your data and cash. Don’t click on links or attachments.

• Go to Legitimate Websites – Be on high alert for clone websites. Go to official website of the retailer and look for the HTTPS and lock.

• Avoid Third Part Apps – Use legitimate shopping apps by going to the official app stores. Look for bad reviews, spelling errors and don’t download apps from their parties that could be infected with malware.

• Shop with Credit – When shopping online, use a credit card instead of a debit card. With a credit card it’s their money and 0 liability, with a debit card it’s your money. Opt for a virtual credit card for an added layer of protection, which uses a temporary credit card number.

• Don’t Browse with Public WiFi – Avoid using public unsecured public WiFi, like at a café or airport kiosk, especially for sensitive transactions. Use a VPN or Virtual Private Network that creates a safe and encrypted connection that guards against hackers.

• Don’t overshare on Social Media – Spreading cheer with family and friends online is great, but don’t give hackers a digital key to hijack your life.

• Secure Your Mobile Device – Make sure your mobile device is secured with the most up to date anti-virus software and that you are using a PIN to lock your phone. Use long and strong passwords that don’t repeat across accounts and never save your user id and password. Use two factor authentication and biometrics where available.

• Don’t Fall for Imposter Scams – If you get an unsolicited call, email or text from a bank, credit card provider or government agency, hang up and don’t respond. These organizations will NEVER ask for personal information. Only authenticate yourself when you are in control of the conversation.

• Fake Gift Cards – To avoid gift card fraud, buy cards from behind the store counter, don’t use cards where the strip has been tampered with and avoid buying cards from third party retailers.

• Check your credit – Check your accounts on a daily basis to look for any suspicious activity. Sign up for transaction monitoring alerts from your bank.

• Manage the Damage – If you do become a victim of identity theft, manage the damage. Contact your insurance agent, financial institution or the HR department of your job to see if they offer cyber liability or an identity theft damage control program. You may be surprised to learn it’s a perk of your relationship with the company and you are already protected, or it may be free to enroll or you can enroll at a minimal cost.