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Tips for Cyber Safety Month

With passwords for online banking, social media, email and other accounts, how you do you know that your information is safe?
PEORIA - With passwords for online banking, social media, email and other accounts, how you do you know that your information is safe?

October is cyber safety month and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency recommends double checking online merchants before you buy.

Here are some of its tips:

·  Check out sellers in advance to ensure they are reputable.  Search for online reviews of the merchant and note phone numbers and physical addresses of vendors in case you have a problem with your transaction or billing.

·  Make sure the site is legitimate before you enter your personal and financial information.  Look for a closed padlock on your web browser’s address bar or a URL address that begins with shttp or https.  This indicates the purchase is encrypted or secured.

·  Use safe payment options.  Credit cards are generally the safest option because they allow buyers to seek a credit from the issuer if the product isn’t delivered or isn’t what was ordered. 

·  Print and save records of your online transactions, including the product description, price, online receipt, and terms of the sale and copies of any email exchange with the seller.

·  Turn your computer off when you’re finished shopping or when it’s not in use.  Leaving your computer on gives scammers 24/7 access to your computer to install malware and commit cyber crimes.

Bradley University Associate Professor and Department Chair, Steven Dolins said even some newer passwords like voice recognition and fingerprints might not be solid.

"Even the biometric passwords are digitally stored so I think there will be some security issues with people being able to access the digital replication of a fingerprint or even a speech pattern," Dolins said.

For more online safety tips, visit the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.
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