Release Date: October 29, 2008
WASHINGTON, DC — In observance of National Cyber Security Awareness Month in October, the National Consumers League (NCL) is cautioning consumers about computer-based scams threatening their bank accounts and other sensitive personal information. NCL is the nation’s oldest consumer organization, and it collects reports of suspected and confirmed Internet and telemarketing fraud, identifies new scams and trends, and works with law enforcement to catch crooks at NCL’s Fraud Center. This month, NCL’s Fraud Center is focu sing its efforts on how consumers can protect themselves from the evolving tactics that are used for online phishing scams. Phishing is when ID thieves trick people into providing their social security numbers, financial account numbers, PIN numbers, mothers’ maiden names, and other personal information.
“Consumers should be able to use their computers for fun, entertainment, banking, and other personal business with confidence,” said John Breyault, Director of NCL’s Fraud Center and Vice President for Public Policy, Telecommunications and Fraud. “But in order to do so, they must be informed about and protected against the sneak attacks scammers use to capture sensitive personal information. During National Cyber Security Awareness Month and year-round, consumers should endeavor to keep better control of their computers and their privacy.”
NCL has issued new tips for consumers this month to protect them from the e-ghosts and goblins that may be out to get them:
- Don’t click on links within emails that ask for your personal information.
- Never enter your personal information in a pop-up screen.
- Protect your computer with spam filters, anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and a firewall, and keep them up-to-date.
- Only use secured browsers when entering personal information. Look for a lock symbol to appear at the bottom of the Web page, and for the URL in the browser window to change from “http” to “https” to ensure that the page you’re on is secure.
- Don’t shop online or do online banking while using an unencrypted or open wireless network, like those provided for free at coffee shops or some airport hotspots. Secure your own wireless network at home by encrypting it with a password. This will keep out your neighbors, but more importantly, it will keep out hackers and thieves who look for open/unencrypted wireless network to capture others’ financial information.
For more information about avoiding email and Web-based scams, visit www.fraud.org.
About the National Consumers League
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America's pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.