On Halloween we dress up as some other character - someone from the movies or television or perhaps ripped from the headlines. But in the real world, and not just on October 31, scammers are plotting how to "dress" like us and go out and steal using our good names.
STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ is the global cybersecurity awareness campaign created by a coalition of private companies, non-profits and government organizations with leadership provided by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG). Its aim is to help all digital citizens stay safer and more secure online.
Heart + Mind Strategies conducted the national survey of 1,007 U.S. adults ages 18 and up as part of an extensive analysis on online behaviors and attitudes for NCSA and APWG. I find some of its findings very interesting.
- 96 percent of Americans feel a personal responsibility to be safer and more secure online.
- 61 percent believe that much of online safety and security falls under their personal control, and consistent with those feelings, 90 percent said they want to learn more about keeping safer on the Internet.
- Concern about identity theft rates slightly higher than fears of job and healthcare loss. 54 percent of Americans are extremely concerned about loss of personal or financial information. To place this is in context, 53 percent are concerned about losing their jobs, while 51 percent feared not being able to provide healthcare for their family.
- When asked why they don't always do all the things they can or should do to stay safer online, Americans said they simply lacked the information or knowledge (28 percent) - a surprising finding that surpassed other hurdles often cited by the media. Only 12 percent said online safety was too expensive, while just 5 percent said they were too busy to take the extra step.
If you fall into the group who believes you lack the information on how to stay safe online, such information is everywhere. As just one example, our Identity Guard Resource Center can provide you with a wealth of information. The National Cyber Security Alliance's StaySafeOnline.org provides in-depth information and links to a whole array of other places you can get valuable advice.
Halloween is for fun. We dress up and pretend to be someone else. But identity theft is not fun, especially when someone 'dresses up' in our personal information to go out and scam. We should remind ourselves of that as we go out to trick or treat. We must be mindful, or else the trick might be on us, with the treat going to some scammer.