Digital Spring Cleaning April 30, 2018
The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and Better Business Bureau (BBB) are encouraging all consumers to freshen up their online lives by conducting a thorough cleaning of their cyber clutter. These easy, actionable tips from NCSA and the BBB will help you stay cyber safe and protect your personal data and identity.
- KEEP A CLEAN MACHINE. Ensure all software on internet-connected devices – including PCs, smartphones and tablets – is up to date to reduce risk of infection from malware.
- LOCK DOWN YOUR LOGIN. Your usernames and passphrase are not enough to protect key accounts like email, banking and social media. Begin your spring cleaning by fortifying your online accounts and enabling the strongest authentication tools available, such as biometrics, security keys or a unique one-time code through an app on your mobile device.
- DECLUTTER YOUR MOBILE LIFE. Most of us have apps we no longer use and some that need updating. Delete unused apps and keep others current, including the operating system on your mobile devices.
- DO A DIGITAL FILE PURGE. Perform a good, thorough review of your online files. Tend to digital records, PCs, phones and any device with storage just as you do for paper files. Get started by doing the following:
- Clean up your email: Save only those emails you really need and unsubscribe to email you no longer need/want to receive.
- Back it up: Copy important data to a secure cloud site or another computer/drive where it can be safely stored. Passphrase protect backup drives. Always back up your files before getting rid of a device, too.
- OWN YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE. Review the privacy and security settings on websites you use to ensure they’re at your comfort level for sharing. It’s OK to limit how and with whom you share information.
Here are some user-friendly tips to help with the safe disposal of electronically stored data.
- KNOW WHAT DEVICES TO DIGITALLY “SHRED.” Computers and mobile phones aren’t the only devices that capture and store sensitive, personal data. External hard drives and USBs, tape drives, embedded flash memory, wearables, networking equipment and office tools like copiers, printers and fax machines all contain valuable personal information.
- CLEAR OUT STOCKPILES. If you have a stash of old hard drives or other devices – even if they’re in a locked storage area – information still exists and could be stolen. Don’t wait: wipe and/or destroy unneeded hard drives as soon as possible.
- EMPTY YOUR TRASH OR RECYCLE BIN ON ALL DEVICES AND BE CERTAIN TO WIPE AND OVERWRITE. Simply deleting and emptying the trash isn’t enough to completely get rid of a file. Permanently delete old files using a program that deletes the data, “wipes” it from your device and overwrites it by putting random data in place of your information ‒ that then cannot be retrieved.
- For devices like tape drives, remove any identifying information that may be written on labels before disposal, and use embedded flash memory or networking or office equipment to perform a full factory reset and verify that no potentially sensitive information still exists on the device.
- DECIDE WHAT TO DO WITH THE DEVICE. Simply deleting and emptying the trash isn’t enough to completely get rid of a file. Permanently delete old files using a program that deletes the data, “wipes” it from your device and overwrites it by putting random data in place of your information ‒ that then cannot be retrieved.
Download a Digital Declutter Checklist
Charity Scam October 9, 2017
In the aftermath of natural disasters, many “charities” run by scam artists pop up to take advantage of Americans’ willingness to help others. Follow these steps to steer clear of crooks looking to make a quick dollar off of your generosity:
Avoid charities that seem to have sprung up overnight in response to a disaster. Instead, give to charities with a proven track record of helping natural disaster victims.
Make sure the charity you are donating to is legitimate. You can do this by checking out websites like Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, or GuideStar. There you can find information like tax records that explain what the charity does, how long they’ve been doing it, and who their head employees are.
Pay by credit or debit card. That way, if the charity turns out to be a scam, you can dispute the charge.
If you receive a solicitation from a group fundraising on behalf of another organization, be sure to ask what percentage of a donation is kept by the fundraising organization. If the caller is unable or unwilling to provide that information, or if the fee seems unusually high, it could be a scam.
#EquifaxHelp | Live Event September 19, 2017
Still have questions about the Equifax data breach and what you can do? If so, we would like to invite you to a special Facebook live event hosted by News 3, the Wisconsin Bankers Association, and the Wisconsin Division of Trade and Consumer Protection. The event will air on Wednesday, Sept. 20, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on the WISC-TV/Channel3000 Facebook page.
A panel of experts will take questions from you on what data might be at risk and what your next steps should be if your data has been hacked.
Access more information from WISC-TV’s website by clicking here.
You can send questions to the televisions station at email@example.com, tweet at @WISCTV_News3 or @aschrager using the hashtag #EquifaxHelp, or join the live event on the WISC-TV/Channel3000 Facebook page.
As the full ramifications of the Equifax data breach unfold, please remember we continue to monitor your accounts for fraudulent activity and will do our best to protect your funds. We’ll also pass on informational opportunities like this Facebook live event as they become available.
Equifax Data Breach September 11, 2017
Equifax, one of the nation’s three major credit reporting agencies, reported a data breach last week that may affect as many as 143 million Americans – nearly 44% of the United States population. Equifax has set up a website (www.equifaxsecurity2017.com) that allows consumers to check if their information may have been exposed in the breach.
According to Equifax, hackers gained access to certain files between mid-May and late July of this year. Information in the breach includes consumers’ names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, and addresses. Some consumers’ credit card numbers, driver’s license numbers, and dispute documents (that contain personally identifying information) were also accessed.
Equifax has established a dedicated call center at 866-447-7559 to answer consumers’ questions about the breach. The call center is open every day (including weekends) from 6:00 a.m. – midnight, Central Time.
If you believe you may have been affected by this data breach, take these next steps:
- Consider placing a free 90-day (renewable) fraud alert on your credit reports by contacting one of the three major credit reporting bureaus: Experian (888-397-3742), TransUnion (800-680-7289), or Equifax (888-766-0008). When you place a fraud alert with one bureau, that bureau will relay the request to the other two companies on your behalf. A fraud alert warns creditors that you may be an identity theft victim and that they should verify that anyone seeking credit in your name is actually you.
- For an even higher level of protection, you may wish to place a security freeze on your credit reports. A freeze bars access to your reports to almost anyone without your express permission.
- Request a free credit report from the three credit bureaus by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com or calling (877) 322-8228. Check your report for irregularities.
- For additional resources and information, visit datcp.wi.gov or contact the Bureau of Consumer Protection by phone at (800) 422-7128 or by email: DATCPWisconsinPrivacy@wi.gov.
(Source: Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection)
Tips to Protect Yourself from ATM Skimmers December 1, 2016
With confirmed cases of ATM skimming on the rise, it’s more important than ever that consumers know how to protect themselves from this fraud technique. ATM skimmers are devices that criminals add to a legitimate ATM in order to obtain unsuspecting consumers’ debit card information. The thieves then use this information to create fake debit cards out of non-activated gift cards or to make purchases online. The good news is there are ways to defend your account information from these illegal devices. Read on for tips on how to protect your money.
- Be Vigilant When using any card reader – including ATMs and pay-at-the-pump stations – especially ones that you’re unfamiliar with, watch for unusual marks, scratches, or loose pieces of equipment. Be on the lookout for colors that don’t match the rest of the display. For example, if the entire machine is silver with blue accents, but the card slot is red and white, it could be an indicator that the slot is actually a skimming device. Criminals often target high-traffic ATMs for skimming, so use extra caution in tourist hot spots and when using ATMs located outdoors (out of sight locations make it easier to tamper with the device). For ATMs that you use frequently, watch carefully for any changes to the machine, such as new keypads or odd looking equipment or wires, as they may indicate that the ATM has been tampered with.
- Protect Your PIN On some skimming devices, a tiny camera is used to record consumers’ PIN numbers when they enter them into the ATM. The best way to prevent that from happening is to use your free hand to cover the keypad as you enter your PIN. Also, it’s important to update your PIN number regularly. Contact your bank and they’ll help you make this simply change to better protect your funds.
- Monitor Your Accounts Finally, be sure that you regularly check your account balances and monitor the usage of your accounts. It can be helpful to sign up for alerts (such as a low balance SMS alert or a large dollar amount transaction alert) and watch for suspicious transactions or unusual withdrawals. If you’re only checking your bank account once a month when you receive your statement, your money is at risk.
- Jammed ATMs Steer clear of a jammed ATM machine that forces customers to use another ATM that has a skimmer attached. Often, the criminal will disable other ATMs in the area to draw users to the one that has the skimming device on it.
If you suspect an ATM has been tampered with, contact the ATM’s owner immediately. If you think you have used a compromised ATM, contact your bank and ask what your options are. They may flag your account for closer monitoring until you can confirm that your data is safe, or they might help you change your PIN to increase the security on your debit card. Resource: Wisconsin Bankers Association
What Do Skimmers Look Like?
Skimmers have been around for years and are constantly evolving. Below are some examples of skimmers, however, these are only examples and are not all inclusive.