The best way to protect your family online is to keep personal information private.
The Social Security Number uniquely identifies each consumer. If someone else knows it, they can steal the consumer’s identity and pretend to be that consumer. A thief’s spending spree can cost the consumer thousands of dollars and countless hours, days, or years to remedy.
Generally, only the government, the consumer’s employer, doctor’s office, insurance companies, and financial institutions need this information. They will not call or write to the consumer asking for it.
Do not give it to anyone else.
Take similar precautions with credit cards, debit cards and Spend Card information. Merchants need this information, but make sure they are reputable. Never send any Card number, including the Family Money Spend Card through email.
When shopping online, look for “https://” in a website address. Read about their online security policies.
Online stores won't call the Cardholder asking for their information. If you think they might be legitimate, call them back at a number you know is theirs, not one that they give you.
Be sure to always protect your passwords and do not use the same one everywhere. Avoid using your birthday, phone number or any other number associated with you as a password, because they are too easy to guess. Make sure your passwords are long. Every character keeps you more secure. Programs can test enough combinations to crack short passwords very easily.
Memorize your passwords. If you need to write them down and keep them in a very safe place. Make sure you don't keep them with the cards in your wallet or bag. Do not share them with anyone, including technical support.
Do not be fooled by “phishing” schemes.
Scammers try to "fish" for your personal information. They send out emails claiming to be from a well-known company, maybe one with whom you do business.
Sometimes these emails do not look quite right. Major companies do not have websites or send email with spelling and grammar mistakes.
Be suspicious of any email that asks for private information. Check the email address (not just the name) of the sender. Place the cursor of your mouse and hover it near the URL address of the page to check for spelling errors or extra letters.
Do not reply to the email. If it appears to be from someone you know, create a new email message, or text or call the person and ask if they sent you the mail. Don't forward the email, as that just spreads the potential phishing attack.
Scammers frequently send you to their website to collect your financial information or install malware on your computer. Try hovering your mouse over any links to see if they look suspicious, but do not click on anything, including images. If you think you received a phishing email, forward it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do not change the subject line, just forward the email and we will investigate and let you know what we find. Be a web detective and be careful where you browse. It is simple to create a website that looks solid and professional, so it is wise to be skeptical when surfing the web.
Check out our blog post for even more about staying safe online.