online safety http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/14330/all en-US 8 Vile Craigslist Scams to Watch Out For http://www.wisebread.com/8-vile-craigslist-scams-to-watch-out-for <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-vile-craigslist-scams-to-watch-out-for" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4726897244_2bcfb77733_z.jpg" alt="scams" title="scams" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Craigslist is great. Really, I love it for buying and selling, finding services, and even posting jobs. But for the 99% of ads that are completely legit, you'll find postings designed to con you. That's a sad reality of life, and of Craigslist, but if you know what to look out for you can avoid the pitfalls of an otherwise awesome service. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-safe-is-craigslist">How Safe Is Craigslist?</a>)</p> <h2>1. Lured to a Mugging</h2> <p>This is a really nasty scam, and we could all fall for it quite easily. It's also known as &quot;robbery by appointment.&quot;</p> <p>As a Craigslist seller, you will know that cash is the only way to go. You don't want to deal with bounced checks. Of course, as a buyer you have to abide by those same rules. Craigslist scammers will place an ad for <a href="http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_15567157" target="_blank">something like a car</a>, high-end electronics, or anoter product of significant value. You'll arrange to meet the seller (with a nice wad of cash in your pocket), and that's when you'll be jumped and the money taken from you. Some people have even been killed in the robbery attempt.</p> <p>This &quot;lure&quot; scenario has happened many times over the years, and as always Craigslist advises you to meet in a safe, secure location, go with a friend (or two), and if in doubt, back out.</p> <h2>2. Receiving an Overpayment on ANYTHING</h2> <p>Another common scam is that your prospective buyer will send you a check (regular check, money order, or a cashier's check) that is for much more than the agreed price. There will usually be an excuse, like &quot;oh, I sent a down payment for two months rent instead of one, can you wire me the difference?&quot; Of course, the check they have sent you is fake, but the bank will often cash it and then discover the fraud later. By that time, you're out of pocket, and the scammer's pockets are full of your money.</p> <p>Never wire funds, always deal with people locally, and beware of anything other than cash. Even then, cash can be counterfeit. It doesn't hurt to have a counterfeit detector pen on hand (<a href="http://www.staples.com/Dri-Mark-Counterfeit-Money-Detector-Pen/product_450130">they're less than $10</a>) for larger transactions. And be wary of bills bigger than $20; you can easily be handed a fake $100 bill, give the buyer the item and change, and be out of pocket twice.</p> <h2>3. The Rental Robbery</h2> <p>Back in<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-vicious-home-rental-scam-%E2%80%93-don%E2%80%99t-get-conned" target="_blank"> 2009 I wrote a detailed post on this scam,</a> and it appears it is still going on. In fact, it's more widespread than ever, and the reason is that it is very easy to pull off, and almost impossible to track down the scammer.</p> <p>The basic premise is this. You scour the Craigslist ads for a rental home and find one that is both beautiful and very, very affordable. Almost too affordable. You contact the address in the ad and are told that the owner had to leave the country (usually for <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3VKpb0r7BQ" target="_blank">something like missionary work</a>) and needs money to cover the mortgage. You then are told to fill out a background check (which gives ID thieves a ton of personal info) and wire them money for one month's rent and deposit. Most of us would drop out at that point.</p> <p>However, if you think &quot;well, I'd never send money to someone I'd never met&quot; you should also know there is a variant of the scam that involves people actually showing homes to you and collecting the money there and then. They'll even give you a set of keys (not that they'll work) and a signed agreement. They gain access to the home through various means, including getting the keys legitimately from a home that's on the market, and then renting it out to dozens of people in a single day. Watch out for this one, and if you receive an email that references leaving the country and low rent because money is needed <em>fast</em>, add it to your spam filter.</p> <h2>4. Fake or Canceled Tickets</h2> <p>It's bad enough that scalpers use Craigslist, buying tickets for $50 and when the concert is sold out, selling them to you for $200. But there are also scams involving tickets. These scams won't just leave you paying a steep markup, but also without the tickets you thought you were buying.</p> <p>Sophisticated scammers have found ways to replicate tickets to major events that look and feel legit. They even have holograms and watermarks. But these tickets are worthless, and when you buy them, you'll lose out twice. First with the money, and second when you get turned away from the event.</p> <p>A similar scam involves genuine tickets that get canceled after you buy them. A common scam involves airline tickets. You purchase the tickets for less than face value, thinking you have a bargain. The scammer will tell you they bought the tickets but cannot use them due to a family emergency. However, the tickets have been canceled and cost the scammer nothing. They will cost you dearly.</p> <p>To avoid this, purchase tickets direct from the venue, from a legitimate site like Ticketmaster, or from trusted resources like Hotwire, Travelocity and so on. It's just not worth the risk to buy tickets off Craigslist.</p> <h2>5. The Online Escrow Service</h2> <p>You see an ad on Craigslist for something like a car, boat, expensive electronics, that kind of thing. When you contact the seller, they will reply that they want to use an escrow service for their protection and yours, and send you to a site.</p> <p>However, unlike <a href="http://pages.ebay.com/help/pay/escrow.html#caution" target="_blank">escrow.com, which is a legitimate site endorsed by eBay</a>, they will recommend one that sounds just as plausible. Perhaps something like EscrowProtectionPlan.org or EscrowPaymentGuardian.net, and ask you to set up an account. But this is a fraudulent site set up by the seller, and as soon as you deposit the money, you've lost it. Be wary of any seller that recommends an escrow service to you, and if one does, <a href="http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/advice/scams/20040517b1.asp" target="_blank">take steps to verify its legitimacy</a>.</p> <h2>6. The Cell Phone Swindle</h2> <p>This one can take a bite out of your monthly income, and if you're not monitoring your finances closely, you may not even notice it.</p> <p>In this scam, someone will respond to your for sale ad saying they are interested, but cannot talk right then. Usually they're at work or otherwise indisposed. However, instead of giving an email address or phone number, they'll ask <em>you </em>to put your cell phone number into a website that &quot;stores&quot; information for them. In reality, it's a site that is signing you up for a monthly charge of $10 or more per month, and there is no way to cancel the service. The only way out, when you spot it, is to cancel your credit card. And forget about getting a refund.</p> <p>Another cell phone swindle is to provide you with a call back number that appears to be an answering service, but is in fact a pay-per-call number. Although you won't be out thousands of dollars like some warnings of these numbers claim (specifically the <a href="http://www.snopes.com/fraud/telephone/809.asp" target="_blank">809 code scam</a>), you could be charged $25-$30 to make the call. And if enough people do it, that's a tidy sum for the scammer.</p> <h2>7. The Job Bait</h2> <p>With <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/techniques-for-escaping-long-term-unemployment">unemployment as high as it is</a>, people out there are desperate for work. And when jobs are in such high demand, scammers come out of the woodwork.</p> <p>Here's the scam. You will see a job offer that sounds wonderful, with great salary and benefits. But when you apply, you could face any number of potential cons. They include: fake background check services and credit report sites that steal your information, being reimbursed to sign up for &quot;free&quot; offers, fee-based training for the potential job, and bogus focus group and survey sites.</p> <p>Your best bet is to thoroughly research any company offering a job. Use the <a href="http://www.bbb.org/" target="_blank">BBB</a>, make sure they have a phone number you can call for information, and run from any posting asking for fees up front.</p> <h2>8. Revenge of the Free Stuff</h2> <p>Sometimes you will see ads in the free section that advertise a massive house clearance. Basically, the renter or homeowner is moving out the next day (perhaps even leaving the country) and needs everything to be gone. Seems legit, right? But often, this is a scammer who is setting up an innocent victim to be burglarized.</p> <p>There have been <a href="http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2004302237_webhoax24m.html" target="_blank">news reports</a> of people returning home to discover that their home is being stripped bare by dozens of people. The scammer is often one of these, who will be helping himself to bigger items and blending in with the crowd. The people who take the stuff, who are usually innocent themselves, can be prosecuted. The victim will rarely be able to get back any of the missing items. And the scammer gets away free and clear.</p> <p>99.9% of the time, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-25-best-things-to-buy-on-craigslist">free stuff will be put out on the curb for you to take</a>, or somewhere else outside of the home. If it's inviting you to just walk into the home and take whatever you like, it's bogus.</p> <p><em>Have you encountered another Craigslist scam not covered here? Let us know in comments.</em>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-vile-craigslist-scams-to-watch-out-for">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-safe-is-craigslist">How Safe Is Craigslist?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-apartment-hunt-on-craigslist-without-getting-scammed">6 Ways to Apartment Hunt on Craigslist Without Getting Scammed</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-10-scams-of-2006">Top 10 scams of 2006</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/netspend-the-story-of-the-visa-debit-card-we-did-not-apply-for">netSpend: The Story of the Visa Debit Card We Did Not Apply For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-that-a-winning-notification-email-is-a-fake">6 Signs That a Winning Notification Email Is a Fake</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs craigslist online safety scams Mon, 25 Mar 2013 10:36:34 +0000 Paul Michael 971320 at http://www.wisebread.com How Safe Is Craigslist? http://www.wisebread.com/how-safe-is-craigslist <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-safe-is-craigslist" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3809323529_c1d4d51665_z.jpg" alt="woman using laptop" title="woman using laptop" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="156" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In the past two years that I&rsquo;ve written for Wise Bread, I&rsquo;ve suggested Craigslist as an excellent means of finding a quick side gig to make extra cash, renting out extra space in your home to tourists, promoting your local business, and selling used furniture and electronics, among other things. I&rsquo;ve used the site for all of the above and then some, and I maintain that it&rsquo;s a very helpful resource. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-25-best-things-to-buy-on-craigslist">The 25 Best Things to&nbsp;Buy on&nbsp;Craigslist</a>)</p> <p>However, many of us have also heard stories about scams that take place on the site, or about dangerous people like the infamous Craigslist Killer who robbed and murdered at least one woman who posted her massage services on the site.</p> <p>I'm not trying to use scare tactics; the vast majority of the time, Craigslist is a great, safe way to exchange goods and services, meet new people, or land a job. But given these well-publicised incidents, I decided to ask a few experts their take on Craigslist, how they feel about its overall safety, and their tips and tricks for helping to prevent unfortunate incidents.</p> <h2>A Safe Place to Meet People?</h2> <p>Mary Jo Fay is the author of &quot;<a href="http://www.outoftheboxx.com/" target="_blank">The Seven Secrets of Love</a>,&quot; and she&rsquo;s used Craigslist to find <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/from-5-to-30-date-ideas-for-every-budget">dates</a>. She says that sometimes Craigslist lacks the level of decorum and respectful tone between its users demanded by regulated sites, but it&rsquo;s still a viable source for anyone looking for love.</p> <p>&ldquo;In my book, I specifically talk about Craigslist in terms of a possible dating site, although without the screening that sites like Match.com have it tends to be pretty vulgar, yet there are still some great folks you can meet out there and I never felt unsafe with any of them,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;In fact, I generally can get tons more replies on Craigslist without even posting a photo if I just write a unique and appealing ad as opposed to the typical cookie cutter template of many dating sites, where everyone looks alike.&rdquo;</p> <p>The most important aspect of staying safe, May Jo says, is to never let your guard down.</p> <p>&ldquo;Being smart about things is absolutely important, she says. &ldquo;Whether you're selling a couch or meeting a mate, reading between the lines is crucial to determining ahead of time if someone might be a bit iffy. Always meet at a neutral place. Never have someone pick you up on the first date. And when selling or buying something off Craigslist, always have an extra support buddy with you as back up for anyone weird showing up.&rdquo;</p> <p>Scott Bernstein, CEO of <a href="http://www.privatei.net/" target="_blank">Falcon Investigations</a>, a private investigation company, completely disagrees with Mary Jo. He warns against using Craigslist as a dating site as thousands of people do every day. He suggests that there&rsquo;s more criminal activity on Craigslist, including sex trades, stalking, and pedophiles, that any other social site, and that many users are deviants.</p> <p>&ldquo;When I get hired to do a job that might be related to the Internet, I always check on my target's PC hard drive to find any Craigslist correspondence,&rdquo; Bernstein says. &ldquo;This is tricky, as these grifters know how to hide their identities &mdash; but they&rsquo;re not smart enough for me to con them back and get them arrested.&rdquo;</p> <h2>A Safe Place to Sell Your Stuff?</h2> <p>Craigslist might not be recommended for dating, but it can be very useful for selling unwanted stuff.&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">However, it is essential that you take some personal safety tips into account before using it. N</span><span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">ever wire or transmit funds online, and only buy items that you can pick up in person. Meet in a well-lit, public place, and take along a friend if possible. Never agree to go to someone's home &mdash; and if you're a seller, never disclose your home address.</span></p> <p>Practicing caution when meeting someone from Craigslist is only the start of the safety checklist when using the site. Craigslist is notorious for helping facilitate (not actively, but because it&rsquo;s not a regulated community) scams that could result in identity theft and a compromise of your financial information.</p> <p><span style="color: rgb(17, 17, 17); font-family: georgia; font-size: 1.5em; line-height: 1.4em;">Practicing Safe Craigslist</span></p> <p>To make these expert safety tips more digestible, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Robert-L.-Siciliano/e/B0035CH602/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1" target="_blank">author Robert Siciliano</a>, McAfee Online Security Expert, breaks the basics into bullet points and provides even more valuable, practical information to stay safe when using Craigslist.</p> <p><strong>ID Pre-Meeting</strong></p> <p>&quot;Get their name and cell phone number ahead of time,&quot; says Siciliano. &quot;And call them back to verify. Tell them your brother, the cop, will be there so they shouldn&rsquo;t be alarmed when they pull up and see a police cruiser.&quot;</p> <p><strong>Never Meet in Private</strong></p> <p>A public location with lots of people around is always best.</p> <p><strong>Trust Your Gut</strong></p> <p>If something seems wrong, it probably is wrong. If that's the case, it's generally better to be safe and cancel.</p> <p><strong>Enlist a Friend Whenever Possible</strong></p> <p>&quot;There is strength in numbers,&quot; says Siciliano. &quot;Predators thrive on isolation. By paring up, you reduce the chances of being attacked.&quot;</p> <p><strong>Look Street Smart</strong></p> <p>Leave expensive-looking clothing and accessories at home, and wear shoes that you can run and kick in.</p> <p><strong>Not Knowing Creates Risk</strong></p> <p>Siciliano notes, &quot;Unfortunately, there is risk in meeting someone you don&rsquo;t know. Being guarded can keep you from getting into a vulnerable situation.&quot;</p> <p><strong>Stay in Communication</strong></p> <p>Tell someone where you are going and when you will be back, and make sure to keep your cell phone with you.</p> <p><em>Do you have a Craigslist horror story? Any tips to add to safely using Craigslist? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-safe-is-craigslist">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-vile-craigslist-scams-to-watch-out-for">8 Vile Craigslist Scams to Watch Out For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-apartment-hunt-on-craigslist-without-getting-scammed">6 Ways to Apartment Hunt on Craigslist Without Getting Scammed</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-10-scams-of-2006">Top 10 scams of 2006</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-money-and-declutter-by-selling-these-5-unlikely-treasures">Make Money and Declutter by Selling These 5 Unlikely Treasures</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/netspend-the-story-of-the-visa-debit-card-we-did-not-apply-for">netSpend: The Story of the Visa Debit Card We Did Not Apply For</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Consumer Affairs craigslist online safety scams Wed, 16 Jan 2013 11:24:35 +0000 Mikey Rox 963738 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Choose a Better Password http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-choose-a-better-password <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-choose-a-better-password" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/7658219802_47c3c12d9d_z.jpg" alt="woman using laptop" title="woman using laptop" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you&rsquo;re addicted to the Internet like I am, chances are your life is full of passwords.</p> <p>Passwords for social networking accounts, bank accounts, frequent-flyer accounts, daily deal accounts &mdash; the list goes on and on.</p> <p>With so many accounts, of course, comes the increased possibility of being hacked, and a successful hack can make you feel violated and even <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-allocate-your-cash-when-you-are-broke">leave you broke</a>.</p> <p>So to help you avoid the embarrassment and hassle of a hack, here are a few tips on how to choose a better password. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/identity-theft">Wise Bread's Guide to Identity Theft Prevention</a>)</p> <h3>What Not to Do When Choosing a Password</h3> <p>I&rsquo;ll get to the best ways to fortify your accounts with a solid password in a minute, but first we need to cover those things that you should never do.</p> <p>When creating a password, NEVER:</p> <ul> <li>Use only a word. Any real word is off limits. If it&rsquo;s in the dictionary, don&rsquo;t use it.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Use your user name or real name. That&rsquo;s just common sense. Also avoid using the name of another person or pet in your life. If the hacker is someone you know, these are the first words he or she will use to try to gain access to your information.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Only put a digit in front or behind a password comprised of a real word thinking that you&rsquo;ve changed the game. That won&rsquo;t help you; hackers are on to that trick, too.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Spell any of the off-limits words in reverse to beat the system. You won&rsquo;t.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <h3>What to Do When Choosing a Password</h3> <p>You don&rsquo;t have to be a rocket scientist to establish a password that&rsquo;s nearly impenetrable. Here are some ways to create one that most hacking programs can&rsquo;t crack.</p> <p>Use a <em>combination</em> of the following techniques to create a strong password:</p> <ul> <li>Use at least eight characters &mdash; a combination of numbers, upper- and lower-case letters, and punctuation marks. More characters is always better.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Shorten a favorite (but not famous) movie quote or song title to only the first letter of each word in the quote or title. For example, change the &quot;Casablanca&quot; quote &ldquo;Here's lookin' at you, kid&rdquo; into HLAYK. (Although, again, using something less famous is better.) To further protect it, add a series of number to the end of it, perhaps the year &ldquo;Casablanca&rdquo; was released &mdash; 1942. You also can choose to lowercase some of the letters, such as the <em>A</em>. The final password would be HLaYK1942. To make it ever stronger, replace the <em>A</em> with the @ symbol to create the password HL@YK1942.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Throw a punctuation mark into the middle of a word. Example: Wise$Bread.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Use a word you like and can remember, then remove the vowels and replace them with numbers or punctuation marks.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Misspell a word in your password on purpose.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Use your imagination to come up with a password that has no significance in the real world. Just make sure you can remember it.</li> </ul> <h3>Additional Tips for Keeping Your Password Safe</h3> <p>Once you have that password created, keep it safe by following these suggestions:</p> <ul> <li>Never save a file on your computer containing your passwords. That&rsquo;s just asking for trouble. If you must, write the password on a piece of paper and lock it in a safe. It&rsquo;s best, however, to never write it down &mdash; which is why it&rsquo;s important to choose a password you&rsquo;ll remember.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Never give your password to anyone for any reason. No one needs to know your password. If someone wants it, it&rsquo;s for nefarious purposes. You can count on that.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Never respond to an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-phishing-scams">email requesting your password</a>, even if the email claims to be from someone of authority. Your respective networks will NEVER contact you via e-mail asking for your password information.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Try using a password management tool such as <a href="https://lastpass.com/">LastPass</a> or <a href="http://keepass.info/">KeepPass</a>. Not only do they increase your level of security, they also simply your life by requiring that you only remember one password.</li> </ul> <p><em>How did you create your password? Does it adhere to these tips? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <p><em>EDITOR'S&nbsp;NOTE: Some advice in this article has been updated.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-choose-a-better-password">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-your-auto-reply-email-telling-people-about-you">What Is Your Auto-Reply Email Telling People About You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-terrifying-things-that-can-happen-when-someone-steals-your-phone-and-how-you-can-protect-it">11 Terrifying Things That Can Happen When Someone Steals Your Phone (And How You Can Protect It)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-comprehensive-guide-to-identity-theft-everything-you-need-to-know">The Comprehensive Guide to Identity Theft: Everything You Need to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-you-must-immediately-do-after-losing-your-smartphone">8 Things You Must Immediately Do After Losing Your Smartphone</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/google-yourself-challenge-how-much-can-people-learn-about-you-online">Google Yourself Challenge: How Much Can People Learn About You Online?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Technology avoiding scams identity theft online safety Mon, 06 Aug 2012 09:48:42 +0000 Mikey Rox 947010 at http://www.wisebread.com We Were Hacked! 8 Tips for Minimizing Your Risk http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/we-were-hacked-8-tips-for-minimizing-your-risk <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/we-were-hacked-8-tips-from-a-hacking-victim-for-minimizing-your-risk" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/we-were-hacked-8-tips-from-a-hacking-victim-fo...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/we-were-hacked-8-tips-for-minimizing-your-risk" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000014554962Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="148" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Computer hacking has become front page news lately, but many small business owners assume that because they&rsquo;re small potatoes, have a firewall, and use anti-virus software they&rsquo;re immune to a cyber attack. They're dangerously wrong. I know, because it happened to me.</p> <h3>The Threat</h3> <p>Just last week two websites we operate to showcase our research and publications on telework for <a target="_blank" href="http://undress4success.com/">consumers</a> and <a target="_blank" href="http://teleworkresearchnetwork.com/">researchers</a> were hacked. Someone managed to break in and insert code designed to steal credit card information. They didn&rsquo;t succeed because we don&rsquo;t keep any credit card info on the site, but we still had a huge mess to clean up.</p> <p>With 30+ years of computer and programming experience I dropped everything else I was doing and spent several days unraveling what they&rsquo;d done. As a result, I lost a lot of valuable time, but if we&rsquo;d paid someone to do it, it would have cost us several thousand dollars.</p> <p>It could have been worse.</p> <p>A few years ago a $1 million online business closed, and so did a childcare business run by the owner&rsquo;s wife, thanks to a series of computer attacks. A disgruntled former employee hacked the Web store&rsquo;s site, stole customer email addresses, and sent lies claiming the online business was a front for pedophiles who were exploiting children at the childcare facility.</p> <h3>The Victims</h3> <p>What&rsquo;s striking are the kinds of businesses that have been hit: small manufacturers, building contractors, credit unions, hotels, diners and restaurants, coach and limo services, trucking companies, not to mention law, accounting, and venture capitalist firms. In other words, if you have a web site, you&rsquo;re vulnerable.</p> <h3>The Future</h3> <p>Over the last five years there have been <a target="_blank" href="http://csis.org/files/publication/110621_Significant_Cyber_Incidents_Since_2006.pdf">78 major cyber attacks</a> and tens of thousands of small ones against US business, government, and educational organizations.<a target="_blank" href="http://mashable.com/2011/05/26/sony-playstation-network-170m/">Sony just spent $170 million</a> mopping up after the PlayStation disaster. Security experts agree that a <a target="_blank" href="http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/blogs/defense/index.jsp?plckController=Blog&amp;plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&amp;newspaperUserId=27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7&amp;plckPostId=Blog%253a27ec4a53-dcc8-42d0-bd3a-01329aef79a7Post%253a849cfcb4-6659-4354-b12a-7c6b5e0f1da6&amp;plckScript=blogScript&amp;plckElementId=blogDest">cyber 9/11 is likely</a>; indeed, some say the only reason it hasn&rsquo;t happened already is lack of terrorist leadership. What&rsquo;s more, there&rsquo;s evidence that <a target="_blank" href="http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/us-suspects-contaminated-foreign-made-components-threaten-cyber/story?id=14035692">foreign-made computer components</a> are being manufactured to make it easier to launch cyber attacks.</p> <h3>The Solution</h3> <p>Here are eight things you can do to help secure your business and mitigate loss if (when?) you're the target of a hacker attack.</p> <h3>Tip #1: Use Strong Passwords and Change Them Regularly</h3> <p>Build the passwords you use, a different one for each login, with a pattern that you can remember without writing them down.</p> <p>Small businesses often have high turnover, and that means they need to change passwords regularly to prevent a former employee or contractor from logging in and reading emails or mining your system for customer information.</p> <h3>Tip #2: Fear EMail Attachments</h3> <p>You know those cute pictures and interesting PowerPoint presentations people send you? They&rsquo;re one of the most common ways bad guys pass around computer viruses. And just because an email comes from someone you know, doesn&rsquo;t mean it they actually sent it. A lot of email addresses have been stolen lately and you really can&rsquo;t be sure. Be particularly suspicious if the email is sent to a long list of strangers.</p> <h3>Tip #3: Update Anti-Virus Signatures</h3> <p>Anti-virus programs look at the contents of a file and search for a specific pattern of characters called a virus signature. When a new threat crops up, anti-virus program companies create an updated set of virus signatures. Make sure your program is set to update automatically.</p> <h3>Tip #4: Define Access Rules</h3> <p>I was at a boring conference and entertained myself by seeing how many computers were protected. Most were broadcasting their WiFi addresses, about half allowed some degree of access, and three had no protection whatsoever &ndash; zip, nada, none. They were wide open. I left a text file on each desktop titled PeekaBooIseeYou.txt that said simply, &ldquo;You really ought to use some kind of protection. For your computer, I mean.&rdquo;</p> <h3>Tip #5: Remove Software You Don&rsquo;t Use</h3> <p>When our websites were hacked I discovered a totally unnecessary and unused plugin (PHPmyAdmin) that was a <a target="_blank" href="http://blog.sucuri.net/2011/06/wp-phpmyadmin-wordpress-plugin-delete-it-now.html">known security risk</a>. It&rsquo;s gone now, but someone, or someone&rsquo;s computer, still comes around several times a day, peaking in our Windows, looking for it. The doors are locked (as far as I can tell), but it&rsquo;s still creepy.</p> <h3>Tip #6: Physical Security Is Important Too</h3> <p>You may have done a great job with tips 1 through 5, but if someone can walk off with your computers or external hard drives what good has it done?</p> <p>It works the other way around too. What if someone brings in a problem? Amazingly, the now famous Stuxnet virus that apparently physically destroyed Iranian nuclear machinery was delivered by installing it on thumb drives, and then dropping them in the parking lot. Happy with their new, free, thumb drive, engineers carried them into the high security building, plugged them in, and the rest is history. Or maybe prologue. The virus is still in the wild, it&rsquo;s mutating now that it&rsquo;s available to all hackers, and it undoubtedly will strike again.</p> <h3>Tip #7: Back up, Back up, Back up</h3> <p>If a hacker ruins your computer system or website by destroying software, files, or folders, you have to recover quickly. Can you cope for several days while your systems are repaired and information is rebuilt manually?</p> <p>Backups are your best insurance against intruder attacks (or a natural disaster). Especially when you keep copies off site.</p> <h3>Tip #8: Make Sure You Have Insurance Coverage</h3> <p>Cyber risks are not covered by standard property and casualty policies. Cyber insurance, however, is available to cover privacy and security liability, crisis management, business interruption, denial of service, lost income, cyber extortion, and media or web content liability.</p> <p>Policies covering cyber risks are offered by many major insurance companies. Make sure you&rsquo;re covered.</p> <p>Nine of ten businesses have been the victim of some form of cyber crime. If yours hasn&rsquo;t, you&rsquo;re lucky. Or could it be you just don&rsquo;t know yet?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tom-harnish">Tom Harnish</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/we-were-hacked-8-tips-for-minimizing-your-risk">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cloud-computing-and-your-wallet">Cloud Computing and Your Wallet</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-choose-a-better-password">How to Choose a Better Password</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-fitness-gadgets-actually-worth-the-money">5 Fitness Gadgets Actually Worth the Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center Technology computer hacker computer security cyber-crime online safety small business Fri, 22 Jul 2011 19:16:14 +0000 Tom Harnish 620102 at http://www.wisebread.com