Posted on: November 27, 2016

Holiday Cyber Security

Cyber Security

Cyber Monday is upon us. Millions of Americans will turn to their digital devices to find that perfect gift for the special people in their life. And while the conveniences of online shopping have made it popular, there are many security threats that come with digital commerce.

Public Safety Officer Jeff DeJonge has some tips to keep your financial security safe during the holiday season.

  • Start at home: Having a secure Wi-Fi network that has a strong password (multiple numbers, letters, symbols) will give you a first line of defense against cyber-attackers. You should also be sure to consistently run your virus protection.
  • Do what you know: Always use familiar websites from reputable brands. Don’t ever click on phishing-type emails or spamy ads. Always make sure that the site you are using has an “https” connection.
  • Smartphone & Mobile Device Safety: If you are using your phone, tablet or MP3 player, always use certified apps from your provider’s app store. These have been thoroughly vetted and are held to higher standards than third party apps. When purchasing from your phone, never use public wifi – it’s best to use your own secure internet connection.
  • A word on Craigslist: If you’re purchasing items through Craigslist, the EGR Public Safety Department can act as a safe haven drop-off zone. Simply call the Public Safety Department ahead and notify the front-desk clerk when you have arrived.
  • Pay attention: Check your statements regularly. It’s easy to get sidetracked during the holiday season, but this is important. Make sure you are staying on top of what’s happening with your bank account so, if you do have a breach, you can catch it early.

In the unfortunate circumstance that you do have a cyber security breach, immediately notify your credit card provider and contact the Public Safety Department at 616.949.7010.

“Ultimately, it comes down to using common sense and taking precaution,” DeJonge said. “If a website looks shady, don’t interact with it. If you’re not using a secure wifi network, wait till you can. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

“Just by taking a few minutes to assess the situation before making any transaction, can be the difference between having a safe, happy holiday season and dealing with the headache of cyber fraud.”

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