It seems like there are more hackers trying to get to us on the Internet.  Here is one of my favorite recent emails.  “Dear Sir, Sorry for the late response, Your Invoice has been paid.  Please update your bank account.  Also please confirm your bank account to correct the situation.   Regards S. Harakita, Box 20704 Safat 13068 Kuwait”  Obvious one, right?
Here are some simple ways to protect yourself.  First, when you purchase a product or service, or download a new app, carefully read the other items on your screen.  You may be signing up for cookies, a way that a company tracks your activities.  The company may be trying to provide alerts about new products or change your search engine.  This can be disastrous because they may sell your data, or they might get hacked and your data stolen.  When dealing with a small, unknown company, the odds increase that there will be problems.
Second, when you get an email from someone whose services you are already using, and it asks you to make a payment, or correct your personal information, DO NOT click on anything in that email.  Click a separate tab on your computer, call on the phone, or go to the office with the printout of the possibly bogus screen in hand.  There you will find out the truth.  Hackers use copies of the logos for banks, businesses, and even a friend’s photos to trick us. 
Third, I love my friends online, especially Facebook ones, but I now average one new “friend” request almost every day.  Virtually all of them are already my friends.  All I have to do is check my own friend list to see if they are already there, or I could call them to see if they sent it.  If you see a request that has just one or two news items posted, either far in the past, or recently, it is likely someone trying to become a “friend” and have access to all your contacts.  They then contact the real friends with evil intent.
Fourth, if you are a nice person, the hacker’s job is made even easier.  Nice people want to appear cordial, cooperative, helpful, and trusting.  The hackers rub their hands together in their cubicle and tell the next hacker over, “Come watch this.  I’ve got a good one.”  An unsolicited phone call, letter, email, or package requires NOTHING from you.  Hang up, don’t respond, delete the email, and use the free postage stamp or labels.  You do not have to be nice to people that are trying to take advantage of your good nature. 
Fifth, never access private accounts on your mobile devices while on a public internet.  The person smiling at you from the fifth row of seats in the airport may be using your debit card to buy things at the moment you smile back.  As a backup, put a dollar limit on your cards, checking and savings accounts that triggers an alert.  I have mine set at $150.  I get an email.6
Sixth, NEVER respond to a popup on your device screen that says, “Your system has been hacked” or “you are running out of storage” or “your anti-virus has expired, get Norton for $19.95 per year.”   Popups are just like unsolicited mail.  Even be careful how you get rid of them.  We recently started receiving a popup every four to six minutes from Norton, hundreds per day.  I called the tech department of my MacAfee Anti-Virus and they helped me stop the popups and showed me that we had accidentally signed up for “alerts for new deals.” 
Seventh, when a website offers to save your user ID, password, or credit card information just say no.  Every company that has your credit card information, is capable of being hacked.  Recently Target was targeted, Scripps Healthcare was hacked back to pre-1960 record keeping, and the Veterans Administration Medical system was compromised.  Anyone can be hacked and the less of your personal information that is saved by others, the better it will be for you.  Take the extra minute to input it each time instead of leaving it with others.    Hope these hints help you and please share them.

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