FBI Highlights Online Safety Tips During Cybersecurity Awareness Month
October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and the FBI is reminding the public to be cyber smart all year long. National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, now in its 20th year, is hosted by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance. Multiple agencies, including the FBI, collaborate to raise awareness about cybersecurity and stress the collective effort needed to stop cyber intrusions and online thefts and scams.
As the premier cyber investigative agency, the FBI works to keep the public safe online but there are simple steps anyone can take to better protect themselves and their families, including:
- Keeping all systems and software up to date and using a good anti-virus program.
- Examine the email address and URLs in all correspondence. Scammers often mimic a legitimate site or email address by using slight variations in spelling.
- If an unsolicited text or email asks you to update, check, or verify your account information, do not follow the link provided in the message itself or call the number provided in the message. Instead, go to the company’s website to log into your account or call the number on the company’s official website.
- Do not open any attachments unless you’re expecting the file, document, or invoice, and have verified the sender’s email address.
- Scrutinize all electronic requests for a payment or transfer of funds.
- Be extra suspicious of any messages urging immediate action.
- Confirm requests for wire transfers or payment in person or over the phone as part of a two-factor authentication process. Do not verify these requests using the phone number listed in the request for payment.
“Online scams are becoming increasingly more complex and that makes it even more important for every Internet user to carefully scrutinize messages and requests, even if they appear legitimate,” said Scott Zmudzinski, assistant special agent in charge of FBI Norfolk’s Cyber Division. “The first step to protecting yourself and your family is to practice good cyber hygiene, but the next step is to create an individualized incident response plan in the event you are victimized, which you can do by referencing important actions listed on the FBI’s website.”
To report an online scam or cybersecurity breach, go to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, www.IC3.gov, or call your local FBI Field Office.
To see the latest cybercrime statistics, visit the IC3.gov’s annual report here.