“I’m not sure but I think I’ve sent my personal information off to a scam website,” says Paul Whitney of Meridian. “I was looking for MacAfee, and when I logged in, I received an email from deskhelpHUB with an invoice.”
Whitney, trying to make certain his anti-virus protection was up-to-date, says the computer website walked him through the process, install and updated his virus and malware protection with the latest software and sent him a bill.
“Well, they’ve done everything I wanted, but I thought I was dealing directly with MacAfee” he says. “Should I be worried?”
First, always make certain to check the URL … you know that little address at the top of the page. Make certain it’s exactly where you want to go. Next, make certain the person you’re talking to identifies him/herself. Keeping your computer safe is crucial to protect your personal and financial identity, and legitimate companies are there to help. Help Desk HUB is registered with Colorado Secretary of State and operates as a service provider for various software and hardware products, questions and compatibility issues. They are not registered or accredited with the Better Business Bureau.
Here are some 5 tips to help you:
- Use a firewall. Even though hackers usually affect large company websites that does not mean that home networks are completely safe. With a firewall in place, you can control your security, and filter what information from the Internet is safe and what is not.
- Use caution when giving out personal information on the Internet. We hear it all the time, but do we really listen? Use software to keep information safe, and only give out your information if you trust the company. Check the BBB Business Review before buying from a company of which you have no direct knowledge.
- Ignore your preconceived notions. Kids hack too. It’s hard to imagine a teenager that has the power and knowledge to bring a network of computers to their knees, but it’s been done. According to Martha Stansell-Gamm, head of the Justice Department’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, an 18-year-old “instructed 7,000 computers to attack Microsoft networks.” Teach your children safe computer practices, just as you would teach them that robbing a bank or drunken driving is wrong. Just because it’s virtual doesn’t mean the consequences are virtual too.
- Don’t open suspicious emails. It’s relatively common knowledge that you shouldn’t open an email that touts “FREE FREE FREE” or “VIAGRA CHEAP” in the subject line, but the landscape of email viruses has changed in the last few years. Now, viruses can appear as if they are coming from someone in your contacts. Make sure to watch subject lines, even if you know the sender, and if you are the victim of an email virus, immediately warn your contacts because they are the next target. After that, change your password often over the next few weeks.
- Back up your information. Viruses can affect just your email, but, too often, they spread throughout your entire computer. Setting up a new computer can be painful if done improperly. You could lose pictures, documents and music. Same can happen if you don’t protect it. Once a month, once a week, even once a day, take the time to back up information that you can’t live without.