Be proactive in securing personal information

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Our world is more connected than ever before with technology touching much of our day-to-day lives.

In recognition of this, October is designated as National Cyber Security Awareness Month and the Better Business Bureau serving Central East Texas has partnered with the STOP.THINK.CONNECT campaign to raise awareness about digital and online security.

Unfortunately, being connected at home, at work, and when we’re at play often leaves us exposed to online fraud and theft.

That’s why it’s so important for consumers to be proactive in understanding how to recognize potential problems and to protect personal information.

BBB encourages online users to educate themselves about cyber security risks and offers these tips on protecting computers, tablets and mobile phones while online:

Protect personal information: Begin with creating unique and creative passwords for each account and change passwords frequently. Consider using two-factor authentication for your accounts which requires entering a special code. Never give out your password. Delete unsolicited phishing emails asking for personal information.

Connect with caution: Beware of links in unsolicited emails or those found in ads on social media sites. Be cautious when using public Wi-Fi, as these networks are not secure. When entering financial or credit card information, be sure that the website is security enabled (https).

Share with care: Limit your online presence and the information you share. Check privacy settings on social media. Never post personal details online. Ask permission before tagging photos of friends.

Secure Smart phones. Be sure to password protect and lock your smart phones. Turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when not actively in use. Download apps only from trusted sources. Pay attention to cell phone bills; unauthorized charges and increased data usage may indicate the phone has been hacked.

BBB will be promoting National Cyber Security Awareness during the month of October. Please join us at one of the following events:

BBB invites the East Texas community to participate in our fall Secure Your ID Day events. On Saturday, Oct.13, 2018 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon at Austin Bank (308 W. Loop 281) and on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2018 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon p.m. at the Lindale Chamber of Commerce (205 S. Main Lindale), individuals can shred up to three bags or boxes of paper per vehicle at no charge. Consumers are encouraged to attend the event and take a key step in identity protection by shredding and properly disposing of their sensitive paper documents. Electronic recycling will be available as well.

Shred It and Goodwill Industries are providing their services at the events.

Throughout the month, BBB will be providing tips and articles on cyber security to help businesses and consumers find the best ways to protect themselves.

You can find that information at bbb.org/BBB Secure.

For more information on how to be a savvy consumer, go to bbb.org. To report fraudulent activity or unscrupulous business practices, please call the BBB Hotline: 903-581-8373.

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