How to Keep From Being Hacked

Protect Yourself From Being Hacked
by John A. Huguley - © 2017

Imagine feeling safe from Hackers. When your done reading this, you'll walk away with some useful information about account security.

So what prompted this? Today, a family member called and told me that they saw a job posting on Facebook. They said they called the number in the post, answered some questions over the phone. At the end of the conversation, the person at the other end said that they were at full capacity, but they would keep the information on file in case there is a future opening. I asked my relative what information was given over the phone. They said they gave their name, address, work history, last known residence, and social security number. ARGH!! Are you kidding me!? I could've cussed out loud at the top of my lungs, (ok deep breath John). But I stayed calm and explained that they just subjected themselves to being victim of identity fraud. I told them with the information they gave out over the phone, a hacker could now break into any account they have, including their bank. My relative naïvely responded, "I'm sure it was legitimate. It sounded like it was." At which point I said, "Let's take the telephone number, Google it and see what we come up with. If it's a real number, Google will match it up to an actual website." So we Googled it. Sure enough, it was the same fraud telephone number that has been used in scams for several years. It's the same telephone number that is currently being passed around on Facebook stating that there are job openings for disaster relief workers in Texas. Whenever this number is posted online, it's a screenshot. The reason it's a screenshot is to keep it from being searched. Facebook does a good job of eliminating fraudulent posts when they're in the form of text. But when their screenshots, Facebook can't find them to take them down. So now that my relative's information is in the hands of likely hackers, the best they can do is purchase identity theft protection. Other than that, they are at the thieves' mercy. There's nothing much you can do once the information is out there. Compromised personal information is sold and resold, shared and re-shared on the dark web. It could be months or even years before a hack attempt is made.

Safety Tips:

★★ NEVER give out your Social Security number to anybody unless you have 100% verified they are who they say they are, and they're legitimate. Businesses do NOT need your social security number in order to start your application.

★★ NEVER use free Wi-Fi. The second you connect to a free Wi-Fi network, all of your usernames and passwords are being sent through the air for anyone to capture. Even when you are not typing your password, it's being sent. Let me explain; whenever you save your username and password in an app or a website like Facebook, that information is being sent back-and-forth between your device and the website. When you're on a secured network, this is fine. However when you were on a free Wi-Fi network, the same personal information is being sent out for all hacker eyes to see.

★★ Do NOT click on links in chain emails, and don't continue to forward on these chain letters. Often times links in emails will take you to fraudulent websites that look legitimate. Then the website will ask you to take some type of action, like login or create an account. Most people use the same password on multiple accounts. So you create an account on a bogus site, and now you've just given up your password (duh).

★★ Don't except FB friend requests from people you don't know, or people that have zero or very few friends in common. Even if they have a profile photo, that person could be anybody. If you go to their page and there's no information leading you to believe they have any real affiliation with you, or someone you know, simply delete them.

★★ Turn "ON" two-factor authentication when available:
Two-factor authentication is a security feature that helps protect your Facebook and other accounts from being hacked. If you set up two-factor authentication, you'll be asked to enter a code or confirm your login anytime someone tries to login from a new pc or cell phone. To find out more, just click on FB Help and search for "two-factor authentication". I use this feature on all of my online accounts that offer it.

★★ Ok, this tip is going to be a "hard one" for the guys (no pun intended); STOP visiting porn sites when you have no idea what you're doing! Porn sites are notorious for installing viruses on your PC which steal your usernames and passwords. If you're going to surf porn, you're choosing to take a huge risk.

★★ Use different passwords for different websites. I know this is hard but it has to be done. Think of your password like a key. You wouldn't want one key for your car, your house, your gym locker, your family's house, etc. If that key got lost, the person who found it could get into everything. Well just like keys get lost, websites get hacked. And when websites get hacked, the hackers take the passwords and try them out on other popular websites, often times the hackers get in because people use the same password on every site. Also, change your password periodically. If you had an ex that once lived with you, wouldn't you change the locks after they moved out? (same concept)...

★★ NEVER post photographs of your ID without blurring out your drivers license number and address. Your drivers license number is just as powerful as your Social Security number to a hacker.

★★ Remember what you post online can be seen by anybody on Facebook whether they're your friend or not. When you post something just to your friends, and one of your friends respond, all of their friends can see the entire post, and so on. So to be safe, just consider anybody can see everything you post, including hackers and your (exes) LOL

★★ Don't post your home telephone number, address or other personal information for the entire world to see. You may not think it's a big deal, but there are crooked people out there, waiting for the opportunity to collect data on you. The more they collect, the better the chances are of hacking you. Don't make it easy for them.

★★ DO NOT install the free virus removal software advertised in pop-ups. Most of these aplications are actually malware. Malware is malicious software created to steal your information.

Like my Father used to always say, "If it's too good to be true, it probably is." So if you get an email stating that if you forward it to 10 people you're going to get some money from Microsoft, or if you go to a certain page you're going to get a free grant, or if you dial in number you're going to be entered to win a new car, you're going to get hacked! And you probably deserve it for being greedy. Greed is the number one reason people get swindled. It's like those people that wire money to another country in hopes of getting a fortune in return. If you're dumb enough to do this you may deserve to lose your money. Just kidding! LOL - But seriously, be careful!

If all of this info is too much to absorb, contact me and I can further explain and I can give additional safety tips.

John A. Huguley - © 2017

If you think someone else could benefit
from this information please share.