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5 things to do to protect yourself online

Your online accounts, computer, and phone hold a lot of your personal, financial, and health information. Information that’s valuable to you — and to scammers who try to steal it. Here are five things to do to keep hackers out of your accounts and your personal business.

1. Lock down your online accounts

Your password is the key to all the personal information in your account. Make it long. Avoid common words. And don’t re-use it.

If it’s available on your accounts, turn on multi-factor authentication for an extra layer of security.

2. Secure your home Wi-Fi network

Your wireless network is the hub that connects your devices. To protect it from hackers

  • encrypt it
  • change your default passwords
  • and keep it up to date

Here’s detailed advice about how to secure your home Wi-Fi network.

3. Protect your computer and phone

Once your home Wi-Fi network is secure, focus on protecting your devices.

If you use a computer to go online, make sure your security software, operating system, and Internet browser are up to date. Turn on automatic updates to keep up with the latest protections.

Keep your phone up to date, too.

4. Recognize attempts to steal your personal information

Scammers try to trick you into giving them your personal information. They’ll pretend they’re with an organization you know well — like Apple or Amazon — and make up a reason they need some info from you. They’ve also impersonated FedEx, the Postal Service, the Social Security Administration, and the FTC.

If you get a phishing email or text message, report it.

5. Back things up

Back up important information you have on your computer and phone. That way, if something does happen, you can recover your information. Here’s how to back up your computer and your phone.

Concerned about protecting your privacy online? Check out our guide to protecting your privacy online.

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2 Comments


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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
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Walter Gladden
October 05, 2022

Thank you for the information but if you find someone that is trying to get something in my name than what company should be alert 📢 because I live in a shelter and don't have any money to pay for someone else and I have been contacted by the same company that you talk about and all I do is delete the entire email Thank you very much

Josiah
October 05, 2022

I’m very confused as to why your company claims to help consumers when we have reached out begging and pleading for help for almost 4 years now