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If you are like many of us, using the Internet has become your favorite way to look for information; and sometimes you don't even have to look for it. It comes right to you in the form of e-mails or pop-up advertisements.
But sometimes that convenience comes with hazards. In a tight economy, scammers often become even more active. You may notice that you are receiving an increased amount of e-mail spam, advertising "Get Rich Quick" schemes or other economy-related scams. Phishing scams aiming to steal your identity will also be on the rise.
OnGuardOnline.gov is a Website dedicated to Internet security, and these tips can help keep you informed and safe from phishing attempts.
- If you get an e-mail or pop-up message that asks for personal or financial information, or that states your account is being closed, do not reply and do not click any links within the message. Don't cut and paste a link from the message into your Web browser - criminals can make links look like they go one place, but that actually send you to a different Website. If you think it may be legitimate, open a new window and log on to the company's Website for yourself.
- Some scammers have updated their methods, and are sending e-mails that appear to be from a legitimate business, asking you to call a phone number to update your account or access a "refund." Because they use Voice over Internet Protocol technology, the area code you call does not reflect where the scammers really are. If you need to reach an organization you do business with, call the number on your monthly statements or the back of your credit card.
- Never e-mail personal or financial information. E-mail is not a secure way to send information. Never send things such as a credit card numbers, date of birth, social security number, or any other sensitive information, even if it is to someone you know or the if e-mail appears to be legitimate. A business, bank, and other commercial entity will never ask you for this information via e-mail.
- Be cautious about opening any attachments or downloading any files from e-mails you receive, regardless of who sent them.
- Before you submit any sensitive information via a Website, make sure the padlock icon is by the Web address or near the bottom of the Web browser. This tells you that the site is secure. A phishing site will probably NOT have the secure 'padlock' icon.
- Always check your bank and credit card statements for unauthorized charges. These are often the first signs of identity theft. You should also monitor your credit report to ensure no new accounts have been opened in your name.
- Forward all phishing e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Also, if you receive an e-mail or Website that you believe is impersonating Charter Communications, forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you believe you have been scammed, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. You should also contact your bank and credit card companies and alert them of your situation.
More information on phishing, e-mail scams and other important Internet security resources can be found at charter.com/security and onguardonline.gov/topics/overview.aspx.
Don’t forget to let your computer protect you too! Be sure to download the latest security patches and updates for your operating system, and consider using the Charter Security Suite™ for comprehensive firewall, antivirus and antispyware protection.† The Charter Security Suite™ is available for download by clicking here. Always be on the defense, don’t become an E-Victim!
Content for this article provided by OnGuard Online.
†Charter Security Suite is available at no additional cost for Charter Internet Plus and Ultra customers. Charter does not guarantee data will be secure.
All marks belong to their respective owners. Some of the links in this article are to Internet sites maintained by third parties, no inference or assumption should be made and no representation may be implied that either Charter or its affiliated entities operates or controls in any way any information, products or services on these third party sites.