7 Tips to Help Keep Your Kids Safe Online

Child busy playing the smartphone mobile games does not pay attention to the moving car. Boy child playing mobile games on smartphone on the streetIf you’re a parent, you already know the way tweens and teens socialize is online via video game chat rooms, virtual worlds, social networking sites, and blogs.

Although the Internet offers lots of useful and entertaining information, being online can put your kids at risk of falling victims to other online users – children as well as adults – who want to exploit and/or intimidate them.

It’s your responsibility to take the necessary precautions to protect your children. Read more

5 Tips to Protect Yourself Online

Computer security or safety concept. Laptop keyboard with lock aWe’re concerned about helping you protect your family and your home from the bad guys. One way to do that, of course, is with a state-of-the-art home security system.

Another way is to safeguard your online identity. Whenever you connect to the Internet you are at risk of falling victim to a hacker who can steal your credit card numbers, passwords, tax information or even completely disable your device.

Follow these five tips to help you protect yourself online:
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How To Make Your Home Hard To Hack

How To Make Your Home Hard To HackIf you think a bad guy has to physically break into your home to steal from you, you might want to think again. As more devices in your home become connected to the Internet—the Internet of Things (IoT)—the more data they can gather about you like Social Security numbers, bank account, and credit card information.

That’s why cybercriminals are turning their attention to hacking into common household devices, including refrigerators, TVs, thermostats, and even baby monitors to crack your home network and gain access to valuable personal information.

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5 Ways to Prevent Credit Card Fraud

American Alarm - 5 Ways to Prevent Credit Card FraudIn an alarming statistic reported by Forbes, 42% of people in the United States have experienced some type of credit card fraud occurring to their account. After the card information has been stolen, an average amount of $5,000 in fraudulent activity occurs before the problem is fixed. Although credit card companies and banks are doing more to prevent this issue, it is, unfortunately, still up to the card holders to do as much as they can to prevent credit fraud.

We recently put together an infographic outlining the strange life of a stolen credit card — today we’d like to discuss our top 5 ways to prevent credit card fraud.

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[Infographic] The Strange Life of a Stolen Credit Card

Credit card fraud is a frightening hazard of commerce in the modern age, spurred on by our increasing reliance on Internet shopping along with increasingly brazen in-person high-tech cloning operations. How do credit card numbers get stolen? What happens to those numbers once they are in the hands of thieves?

We’ve put together this infographic to help explain not just the mechanics of how your credit card number could end up being sold to the highest bidder, but also who is out there purchasing this illicitly-gained data and what they are willing to pay for it. Keep reading – the answers to these questions, and more, might surprise you.

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Westborough Police Announce Check Cashing Scam

check cashing scamThere’s an old saying that has never applied more than in the internet age: if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Each of us has probably seen some kind of offer online — a car that’s priced way below its market value, an email informing you that you’ve won a lottery you don’t remember entering, or a stranger detailing a plan to transfer a huge sum of cash into your bank account — that couldn’t possibly be real. Yet, despite all of the warning flags surrounding these types of ‘deals,’ there are still many individuals who find themselves taken in by scams that end up costing them thousands of dollars.

Westborough Police are reminding people to be vigilant when dealing with unusual financial transactions or offers in order to protect themselves from both financial and potential identity theft as well. Offers to transfer money into your bank account — a portion of which you get to keep — are almost always bids from criminals to gain access to your banking details in order to defraud you.

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Home Security: Package Delivery Safety

The holidays are over and you may now have online gifts to return or exchange, so don’t forget about package delivery safety.

Packages are stolen each year, and reports of package thefts are appearing more and more in the headlines of our local news outlets. For example, on Monday, December 3, a group of Woburn, Mass. residents allegedly stole packages delivered to a home in Stoneham, Mass.

Also, Watertown, Mass. Police Lt. Michael Lawn is warning residents of the increase in packages stolen from doorsteps and apartment/condo lobbies.

“We have had a few reports recently and this is becoming a big problem especially around Christmas time when people are ordering many items online,” Lawn explains in a article. “This is just not a problem in (apartment) buildings but also in residential neighborhoods. Police have caught people following delivery trucks and grabbing the boxes after they are delivered.”

Last year, the Wellesley, Mass. Police Department released this video after investigating several thefts of packages delivered to the front doors of residents’ homes.

So what can you do to avoid being a victim of this crime? Local police departments offer these three tips:

  • If you aren’t home during the day, send the package to a neighbor or relative who is home. Be sure that person knows ahead of time so she can be at home to accept the delivery.
  • Request a signature confirmation on each delivery so a package will not be left at its destination unless someone is present to sign for it.
  • Send packages to your work address instead of your home.

Check with your shipper for options. UPS offers My Choice, a service that alerts you by text or e-mail a day before the package is scheduled to arrive. You can reschedule the delivery for a different day or reroute the package to be delivered to a different address (a neighbor for example) if you won’t be home.

FedEx offers similar services, including allowing you to hold the package at a FedEx retail location for pickup, or you can go online and request to have the package delivered to your home within a specific delivery time window.

The USPS will hold mail for pick up under some circumstances. Talk to your local USPS office for further information. For instance, if you’re traveling during the holidays all USPS offices offer a hold mail service to keep your packages, and all your mail safe at one of their offices until you return.

Sidenote: Both FedEx and UPS are warning consumers about fraudulent e-mails this year. These e-mails may reference a failed delivery or a suspended account. They are actually “phishing” e-mails, even though they may appear legitimate and come complete with the company brand, logo or legal disclaimers.

These types of e-mails contain invalid hyperlinks that may contain malware, and could corrupt your computer. These are not legitimate e-mails, so if you receive one do not click on any links. Delete the e-mail. FedEx and UPS do not send unsolicited e-mails to customers requesting information regarding packages, payments, invoices, account numbers, passwords, financial information or personal information.

Read more about fraudulent e-mails at the FedEx and UPS websites.

Next Steps:

Holiday Home Security and Safety Series: Online Safety

After the Black Friday mayhem, comes Cyber Monday. And many shoppers will choose to shop online up until just a few days before Christmas.

A Harris Interactive/McAfee study tells us 70% of consumers will shop online during the holiday season, with one in four using a mobile device.

Whether you’re shopping online or just browsing the web this holiday season, you must remain aware of the many ways criminals can strike over the Internet. Increased web traffic presents more opportunities for criminals to strike unsuspecting victims. From stealing your credit card number to various scams, cybercriminals find ways to wreak all kinds of havoc. Read more