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Category: Internet Filtering & Security

Parental Control: Filtering App and Accountability

internet accountabilty and filtering

Most filters block content which often hinders you from viewing legitimate sites that you wouldn’t consider harmful. And even the best filters are not perfect. Covenant Eyes Parental Control Software is different by promoting a culture of accountability through email reports on internet use and sending them to an accountability partner.

This accountability relationship may include kids and their parents as well as adult friends who are struggling with porn on the internet.  Unlike the history in your browser that can be deleted, Covenant Eyes keeps track of all user activity within account holder.  It teaches safe browsing habits.  Just knowing that an extra set of eyes will see the search history on a daily or weekly basis help keeps family and friends responsible when surfing the internet, including Google.

In the case of teens or adults, you may not even decide to block content. A users actions will already be greatly controlled by the strength of the accountability relationship.  As mentioned, a user is aware that any website they visit will also be seen by their accountability partner.

The email reports are not cumbersome. Bad websites are highlighted to produce an easy to view history report of where a user has been online. Those keeping an eye on a users internet habits can also log in anytime to see a recent history. Of course, this is not ideal for younger kids because you don’t want them stumbling on explicit material even by accident.

Beyond accountability, Covenant Eyes still allows you to block content based on the age. It can also decide the times of day the internet may be used, and decide how much time per day or per week the internet may be surfed under each username. Choose whether to block or to allow specific websites, and this option can be applied differently to each user. Covenant Eyes can be used to help block instant messaging, file sharing, and other protocols.

How To Set Up Parental Controls With Accountability

  • Covenant Eyes Parental Control Software is downloaded to a computer.
  • Covenant Eyes keeps a complete and accurate record of all web usage.
  • Accountability Partners, selected by the user, receive reports by email about internet activity.
  • Unique dynamic scoring system highlights questionable sites, making the report easy to read.
  • The program may even be purchased by the person who is struggling with their use of the internet.  When they remove an accountability partner, that partner set up to receive reports is notified.
  • Download Covenant Eyes Parental Control Software

This software provides an economical solution to internet filtering for the entire family. The accountability feature works ‘hand in hand’ with our Google search filtering. As mentioned, for younger kids you should also employ the full parental control internet filtering features.

If you choose to implement filtering using parental control software, we still encourage you to also use Safe Search Kids for safe filtering of Google. Filtered search engines do a great job of keeping offensive and dangerous websites out of search results but that can’t replace a parents guidance on safe browsing behavior combined with software solutions.

Parental Control Reporting

Covenant Eyes analyzes each website visited and blocks or allows them according to each user’s sensitivity settings. The parental control filter requires an ‘uninstall code’ in order to remove it from the computer. If the program is uninstalled, all users and accountability partners receive an email that the Covenant Eyes is no longer tracking usage.

As mentioned, you can choose to not have a lower level of filtering for older family members. At it’s most basic level, the software program instills positive browsing habits through accountability and reduces the risk of developing addictive behavior. Parents should also consider controls for very young children spending time online.

Some users are adults who choose to resist temptation on the internet by remaining accountable to a friend or spouse.

Learn More and Download Covenant Eyes!

Most filters block content which often hinders you from viewing legitimate sites that you wouldn’t consider harmful. And even the best filters are not perfect. Covenant Eyes Parental Control Software is different by promoting a culture of accountability through email reports on internet use and sending them to an accountability partner.

This accountability relationship may include kids and their parents as well as adult friends who are struggling with porn on the internet.  Unlike the history in your browser that can be deleted, Covenant Eyes keeps track of all user activity within account holder.  It teaches safe browsing habits.  Just knowing that an extra set of eyes will see the search history on a daily or weekly basis help keeps family and friends responsible when surfing the internet, including Google.

In the case of teens or adults, you may not even decide to block content. A users actions will already be greatly controlled by the strength of the accountability relationship.  As mentioned, a user is aware that any website they visit will also be seen by their accountability partner.

The email reports are not cumbersome. Bad websites are highlighted to produce an easy to view history report of where a user has been online. Those keeping an eye on a users internet habits can also log in anytime to see a recent history. Of course, this is not ideal for younger kids because you don’t want them stumbling on explicit material even by accident.

Beyond accountability, Covenant Eyes still allows you to block content based on the age. It can also decide the times of day the internet may be used, and decide how much time per day or per week the internet may be surfed under each username. Choose whether to block or to allow specific websites, and this option can be applied differently to each user. Covenant Eyes can be used to help block instant messaging, file sharing, and other protocols.

How To Set Up Parental Controls With Accountability

  • Covenant Eyes Parental Control Software is downloaded to a computer.
  • Covenant Eyes keeps a complete and accurate record of all web usage.
  • Accountability Partners, selected by the user, receive reports by email about internet activity.
  • Unique dynamic scoring system highlights questionable sites, making the report easy to read.
  • The program may even be purchased by the person who is struggling with their use of the internet.  When they remove an accountability partner, that partner set up to receive reports is notified.
  • Download Covenant Eyes Parental Control Software

This software provides an economical solution to internet filtering for the entire family. The accountability feature works ‘hand in hand’ with our Google search filtering. As mentioned, for younger kids you should also employ the full parental control internet filtering features.

If you choose to implement filtering using parental control software, we still encourage you to also use Safe Search Kids for safe filtering of Google. Filtered search engines do a great job of keeping offensive and dangerous websites out of search results but that can’t replace a parents guidance on safe browsing behavior combined with software solutions.

Parental Control Reporting

Covenant Eyes analyzes each website visited and blocks or allows them according to each user’s sensitivity settings. The parental control filter requires an ‘uninstall code’ in order to remove it from the computer. If the program is uninstalled, all users and accountability partners receive an email that the Covenant Eyes is no longer tracking usage.

As mentioned, you can choose to not have a lower level of filtering for older family members. At it’s most basic level, the software program instills positive browsing habits through accountability and reduces the risk of developing addictive behavior. Parents should also consider controls for very young children spending time online.

Some users are adults who choose to resist temptation on the internet by remaining accountable to a friend or spouse.

Learn More and Download Covenant Eyes!

Student Data Privacy in the Modern Classroom

Student Data Privacy

As we move to distance learning due to the recent health crisis, it’s more important than ever to carefully consider the implications of transferring student data between parents, teachers, and administrators. Educational technology is now a standard across classrooms—so what exactly does that mean for our students?

Risk of Student Data Breaches

From 2018 to 2019, student data breaches tripled. In the worst case, the student’s personally identifiable information, or PII, was sold on the dark web. Even on a small scale, these breaches mean the potential for hackers to decode passwords. In these cases, student’s accounts are compromised, and there have even been reported cases of cyberbullying.

Lengthier Education Records

Years ago, the extent of student data was education records stuffed into file cabinets. Oftentimes, those records were lost or tampered with. Ultimately, they didn’t follow students as far as education records will today. Solidified on the web, students have little room for mistakes in the current climate.

It’s important to consider these factors when employing new chatrooms or technology mediums in classrooms. Ensuring all edtech helps, instead of hinders, student’s futures should be an educator’s number one priority.

Responsible Student Data Privacy in the Classroom

Student data privacy laws on a federal and state level monitor some of these potential risks on a micro-level. As an educator, though, you must take proactive measures to protect student data privacy. Consider the following when implementing education technology in digital and physical classrooms:

  • Follow FERPA Sherpa: Use resources available from the government to understand the concerns with edtech in the classroom.
  • Read the privacy policy: Before having students visit a website, make sure you read the privacy policy thoroughly. It may indicate it sells data to third parties, or worse, does not have a privacy policy in place at all.
  • Follow the school’s approved list: Districts and schools will have an approved list of companies and websites to use in the classroom. Seek out this approval before asking students to use a program or website.
  • Explain best practices: Explain best practices for safe web use to your students, and lead by example. Inform them of the dangers of sharing personal information online and not to believe everything they read online.
  • Avoid clickwrap agreements: If a website in question has a clickwrap agreement, avoid using it in the classroom. These agreements are data-controlling and have free use of information used on their site.
  • Look for secure sites: the “s” in ‘https’ signifies that a webpage is encrypted. Any site where students need to log in to an account should be encrypted.

The advancement of tech in education can be a benefit for efficient, personalized learning, but it’s important to take extra measures to protect the new influx of data. With proper vetting of websites, technologies, and platforms; technology can be an advantage for students, parents, and teachers.

As we move to distance learning due to the recent health crisis, it’s more important than ever to carefully consider the implications of transferring student data between parents, teachers, and administrators. Educational technology is now a standard across classrooms—so what exactly does that mean for our students?

Risk of Student Data Breaches

From 2018 to 2019, student data breaches tripled. In the worst case, the student’s personally identifiable information, or PII, was sold on the dark web. Even on a small scale, these breaches mean the potential for hackers to decode passwords. In these cases, student’s accounts are compromised, and there have even been reported cases of cyberbullying.

Lengthier Education Records

Years ago, the extent of student data was education records stuffed into file cabinets. Oftentimes, those records were lost or tampered with. Ultimately, they didn’t follow students as far as education records will today. Solidified on the web, students have little room for mistakes in the current climate.

It’s important to consider these factors when employing new chatrooms or technology mediums in classrooms. Ensuring all edtech helps, instead of hinders, student’s futures should be an educator’s number one priority.

Responsible Student Data Privacy in the Classroom

Student data privacy laws on a federal and state level monitor some of these potential risks on a micro-level. As an educator, though, you must take proactive measures to protect student data privacy. Consider the following when implementing education technology in digital and physical classrooms:

  • Follow FERPA Sherpa: Use resources available from the government to understand the concerns with edtech in the classroom.
  • Read the privacy policy: Before having students visit a website, make sure you read the privacy policy thoroughly. It may indicate it sells data to third parties, or worse, does not have a privacy policy in place at all.
  • Follow the school’s approved list: Districts and schools will have an approved list of companies and websites to use in the classroom. Seek out this approval before asking students to use a program or website.
  • Explain best practices: Explain best practices for safe web use to your students, and lead by example. Inform them of the dangers of sharing personal information online and not to believe everything they read online.
  • Avoid clickwrap agreements: If a website in question has a clickwrap agreement, avoid using it in the classroom. These agreements are data-controlling and have free use of information used on their site.
  • Look for secure sites: the “s” in ‘https’ signifies that a webpage is encrypted. Any site where students need to log in to an account should be encrypted.

The advancement of tech in education can be a benefit for efficient, personalized learning, but it’s important to take extra measures to protect the new influx of data. With proper vetting of websites, technologies, and platforms; technology can be an advantage for students, parents, and teachers.

Best Parental Control App for 2020

best parental control app

You don’t have to be a computer savvy parent to begin making sure your child is searching the internet from a properly filtered safe search engine. We have additional filtering of Google that blocks all bad content in your kids search results.  It’s a good start, but the best parental control apps are also recommended to keep kids protected from the broad variety of threats online.

Apart from Google search, even if using a internet filtering app, kids searching the web without parental control software installed will be able to go directly to any website that one of their friends may have told them about. There are also social media concerns, such as cyberbullying, online predators or inappropriate images.

And what about harmful texts, such as the sending of personal photos that are best kept private? What about the innocuous threats, including spending too much time playing video games? A search engine cannot control all of these issues. It takes a software application for complete safety online.

Parental Control App for iPhone, Android, Fire, Chrome

A comprehensive solution for complete online safety is software that Filters and Monitors all aspects of online activity for kids. It provides an easy to use app or access from and computer dashboard that gives parents peace of mind knowing their children are protected online.

Net Nanny by Contact Watch is the #1 Rated Parental Control Software program since 1998.  Their most recent version for 2020 is out and enables you to Monitor and Control all Online Activity on their App! View Features & Download Options

Software solutions make it easier for parents to take control of their kid’s activities online, maintain their kid’s safety, manage their kid’s screen time, as well as manage their own time more effectively so that they can continue to do what they do best: Parent.

Effective Parental Controls include:

  • Web filtering including keyword and phrase filtering.
  • Application Filtering (Blocking apps by category, name or age-rating).
  • Monitor and manage users real-time activity.
  • Centralized management of multiple computers, lap tops and mobile devices, including iPhones, Android and Amazon (Kindle Fire).
  • Time management and daily scheduling.

Parents and guardians will also enjoy a slew of product enhancements, including:

  • Chat filtering.
  • Security options to block system changes on computer.
  • Alert notifications by email or text, such as when new apps are installed.
  • Invisible / stealth operation.
  • Real-time tracking of users whereabouts and whether they are online or not..

Download the best Parental Control Software App

When it comes to maintaining the safety and innocence of children, the Internet isn’t just a search engine anymore. So many other elements are at needed in an effort to keep kids safe online. Not to mention, the more time parents spend managing screen time restrictions, social media friends, texting and photos – the less time parents have to focus on building a stronger relationship with their child. 

Parental Control Software becomes the “bad guy” monitoring activity. While is blocks bad content, it also puts the onus on your child to be responsible for what they do online. You only get a bad report if they try to do something harmful online.

It’s not enough to just turn on safe search. Parental Control Apps help parents adjust to the new reality. It not only ensures that kids stay safe, monitoring software can help build character in kids to make the right decisions on the internet.

As a parent, you no longer have to play the “guessing game” as to what their kid searches for online, who their friends are, and whether they are actually studying for that history project or just killing time playing games.

Do you Know? (Internet Use by Kids)

Do you know what your kids are looking at online? 41% of U.S. teens say that their parents have no idea…

Do you know how often your kids frequent social networking sites? According to the Norton Online Living report, 76% of U.S. teens ages 13-17 are “constantly” or “frequently” visiting social networking sites.

Do you know if your child has been contacted online by a stranger? 16% of U.S. children have been approached online by a stranger. Is your child one of them?

What is YOUR Internet Monitoring Strategy?

You can rely on the search engines or safe search apps for filtering services, but they are not designed to include social media or screen time monitoring. Another option is to join other parents who have partnered up with software combined with ways to help teach kids online responsibility and accountability.

Do More With the Power of Software..

  • Discover how much easier it can be to have a parental control app controlling internet access for every user in your home according to their age.
  • Enjoy reduced stress no longer having to hunch over your child’s shoulder monitoring their online activity or asking for their phone to search for bad apps.
  • Parental focus and peace of mind can be restored knowing that full control is within your fingertips via an app or on any computer.

Learn more about the best Parental Control App for 2020!

You don’t have to be a computer savvy parent to begin making sure your child is searching the internet from a properly filtered safe search engine. We have additional filtering of Google that blocks all bad content in your kids search results.  It’s a good start, but the best parental control apps are also recommended to keep kids protected from the broad variety of threats online.

Apart from Google search, even if using a internet filtering app, kids searching the web without parental control software installed will be able to go directly to any website that one of their friends may have told them about. There are also social media concerns, such as cyberbullying, online predators or inappropriate images.

And what about harmful texts, such as the sending of personal photos that are best kept private? What about the innocuous threats, including spending too much time playing video games? A search engine cannot control all of these issues. It takes a software application for complete safety online.

Parental Control App for iPhone, Android, Fire, Chrome

A comprehensive solution for complete online safety is software that Filters and Monitors all aspects of online activity for kids. It provides an easy to use app or access from and computer dashboard that gives parents peace of mind knowing their children are protected online.

Net Nanny by Contact Watch is the #1 Rated Parental Control Software program since 1998.  Their most recent version for 2020 is out and enables you to Monitor and Control all Online Activity on their App! View Features & Download Options

Software solutions make it easier for parents to take control of their kid’s activities online, maintain their kid’s safety, manage their kid’s screen time, as well as manage their own time more effectively so that they can continue to do what they do best: Parent.

Effective Parental Controls include:

  • Web filtering including keyword and phrase filtering.
  • Application Filtering (Blocking apps by category, name or age-rating).
  • Monitor and manage users real-time activity.
  • Centralized management of multiple computers, lap tops and mobile devices, including iPhones, Android and Amazon (Kindle Fire).
  • Time management and daily scheduling.

Parents and guardians will also enjoy a slew of product enhancements, including:

  • Chat filtering.
  • Security options to block system changes on computer.
  • Alert notifications by email or text, such as when new apps are installed.
  • Invisible / stealth operation.
  • Real-time tracking of users whereabouts and whether they are online or not..

Download the best Parental Control Software App

When it comes to maintaining the safety and innocence of children, the Internet isn’t just a search engine anymore. So many other elements are at needed in an effort to keep kids safe online. Not to mention, the more time parents spend managing screen time restrictions, social media friends, texting and photos – the less time parents have to focus on building a stronger relationship with their child. 

Parental Control Software becomes the “bad guy” monitoring activity. While is blocks bad content, it also puts the onus on your child to be responsible for what they do online. You only get a bad report if they try to do something harmful online.

It’s not enough to just turn on safe search. Parental Control Apps help parents adjust to the new reality. It not only ensures that kids stay safe, monitoring software can help build character in kids to make the right decisions on the internet.

As a parent, you no longer have to play the “guessing game” as to what their kid searches for online, who their friends are, and whether they are actually studying for that history project or just killing time playing games.

Do you Know? (Internet Use by Kids)

Do you know what your kids are looking at online? 41% of U.S. teens say that their parents have no idea…

Do you know how often your kids frequent social networking sites? According to the Norton Online Living report, 76% of U.S. teens ages 13-17 are “constantly” or “frequently” visiting social networking sites.

Do you know if your child has been contacted online by a stranger? 16% of U.S. children have been approached online by a stranger. Is your child one of them?

What is YOUR Internet Monitoring Strategy?

You can rely on the search engines or safe search apps for filtering services, but they are not designed to include social media or screen time monitoring. Another option is to join other parents who have partnered up with software combined with ways to help teach kids online responsibility and accountability.

Do More With the Power of Software..

  • Discover how much easier it can be to have a parental control app controlling internet access for every user in your home according to their age.
  • Enjoy reduced stress no longer having to hunch over your child’s shoulder monitoring their online activity or asking for their phone to search for bad apps.
  • Parental focus and peace of mind can be restored knowing that full control is within your fingertips via an app or on any computer.

Learn more about the best Parental Control App for 2020!

Protecting Against Online Scams (Phishing, SMishing, Vishing)

Beware of Phone Scams

Anyone who is connected to the internet will be a target of online scams. These scams are common and come in a variety of ways. Scams may be on your smart phone via text, in an email and even in the form of a phone call. The key to keeping yourself safe from getting scammed is to be aware of various methods scammers use to try and trick you.

Scammers want to get money out of you. They do this by stealing your personal information and having you pay for something you don’t need. Once you are more attentive to the methods online scammer use, you’ll be more quipped to recognize them and even more importantly, ignore them.

Let’s review what these methods are and also give you some tips on how to confirm whether an email, text or phone call is legitimate or not. There are three main ways scam artists use to get your attention and fool you. Phishing, SMishing and Vishing. Here is what each of them mean and how you can protect yourself if presented by one of these methods.

Phishing

Phishing happens when a scam is sent to you via email. Most often, a scammer will invite you to click a link to gain access to your personal information. They will pose as a legitimate company, such as a bank, an online streaming service or social media platform. Basically, any online account you may or may not have is fair game.

You may not even use one of these services and wonder why they are targeting you. This is why it’s called Phishing. The term was created to sound like the word ‘fishing’. Someone fishing on a lake will cast their hook out into the water. They don’t know how many fish are in the lake. They don’t see the fish or know whether any of them are even interested in the bait on the hook. But the person fishing knows there may be at least one fish that will take a bite and be hooked. Another way to look at it is this. Imagine someone fishing from a boat with a large net. Not all the fish will be caught, but many will.

In the same way an online scammer will send the same email to millions of people. It may be for a company you don’t have an account to. But many other people getting the same email could be tricked into clicking the link. By doing so they will log in to a fake website and the scammer will capture their username and password. This will give the scammer access to the user’s real account in order to steal their identity.

How to Protect Yourself: Never click on a link you receive in an email, even if you think the email is legitimate from an account you have. Simply go to your web browser and visit your account’s website directly or by using a bookmark you’ve created. Log in from there and check to see if there are any issues with your account.

Phishing only works because people are not paying attention. For example, let’s say you just ordered a package from Amazon. Shortly afterward, an email arrives stating that there is something wrong with your shipment. This is probably a coincidence. You can see how easy it would be to click the link since you just sent a package.

SMishing

SMishing is when a scammer sends a message to you via text. It is called SMishing because texting is also known as SMS (short message services). Just like Phishing, criminals who want to steal your information or money cast a wide net via text to catch people off guard. SMishing is a more recent problem. There has been a lot of information about email scams over the past few years. Now, we need to be also be on the look out for SMishing scams on our phones. Most often these are security texts which appears to be from a bank stating that something is wrong with your account. The goal is the same. To trick you into giving over your personal information.

SMishing may also come in the form of a positive message. It may be a great deal on something but by clicking you may end up paying for something you won’t receive. Most recently with the Coronavirus outbreak, there have been text scams offering free face masks or hand sanitizer.

How to Protect Yourself: Be careful when clicking links in a text. Never click on a link associated with an account you may have, such as a bank account or any online account, including Spotify or Facebook. Of course, friends may send you links to websites or videos. In that case, just be extra careful and pay close attention to who is sending you the link.

Vishing

The “V” in Vishing stands for voice call scams. We’ve all received them. We’ve all been greatly annoyed by these scam phone calls that come from a foreign or strange looking phone number. Worse yet, many calls that are spoofed to look like a local number. The Spoofing of a phone number is when a caller makes it look like they are calling from a particular number, but the call is actually from different location altogether.

Just like other scams you need to be ready to think before you respond. The call may sound like it’s from a legitimate establishment. Adults are often tricked into thinking the call is from their government’s tax collection service. If the call is fact real, they won’t be threatening the receiver with arrest by the police if they don’t pay immediately, as scammers often do.

How to Protect Yourself: Never give any personal information over the phone, even if the person sounds like they are from a real company. If in doubt, hang up and call the company directly. If the caller is uttering threats or demanding information or money, hang up! You can also do your part to stop the scammer by reporting it. Google the contact information for your country’s anti-fraud center. You can call them or submit a report online from their website.

Protecting Your Computer from Scams:

On a final note, it’s important for anyone with a computer or laptop to also protect themselves from malware and viruses. If you accidentally click on a bad email link, you have better protection with a secure computer.

  1. Make sure your operating system’s security features are activated and up to date.
  2. Then install a reputable anti-malware software program. This type of program will also offer protection when surfing the web, in the event you land on an infected website that is trying to access your personal information.

These types of malicious websites may also try to secretly install malware on your computer and direct you to fake websites. You could also be infecting other computers through email without your knowledge.

To ensure you don’t have malware currently on your computer, you can do a free scan using MalwareBytes.

Who likes games?
Take the STOP SCAM SLAM Test!

Anyone who is connected to the internet will be a target of online scams. These scams are common and come in a variety of ways. Scams may be on your smart phone via text, in an email and even in the form of a phone call. The key to keeping yourself safe from getting scammed is to be aware of various methods scammers use to try and trick you.

Scammers want to get money out of you. They do this by stealing your personal information and having you pay for something you don’t need. Once you are more attentive to the methods online scammer use, you’ll be more quipped to recognize them and even more importantly, ignore them.

Let’s review what these methods are and also give you some tips on how to confirm whether an email, text or phone call is legitimate or not. There are three main ways scam artists use to get your attention and fool you. Phishing, SMishing and Vishing. Here is what each of them mean and how you can protect yourself if presented by one of these methods.

Phishing

Phishing happens when a scam is sent to you via email. Most often, a scammer will invite you to click a link to gain access to your personal information. They will pose as a legitimate company, such as a bank, an online streaming service or social media platform. Basically, any online account you may or may not have is fair game.

You may not even use one of these services and wonder why they are targeting you. This is why it’s called Phishing. The term was created to sound like the word ‘fishing’. Someone fishing on a lake will cast their hook out into the water. They don’t know how many fish are in the lake. They don’t see the fish or know whether any of them are even interested in the bait on the hook. But the person fishing knows there may be at least one fish that will take a bite and be hooked. Another way to look at it is this. Imagine someone fishing from a boat with a large net. Not all the fish will be caught, but many will.

In the same way an online scammer will send the same email to millions of people. It may be for a company you don’t have an account to. But many other people getting the same email could be tricked into clicking the link. By doing so they will log in to a fake website and the scammer will capture their username and password. This will give the scammer access to the user’s real account in order to steal their identity.

How to Protect Yourself: Never click on a link you receive in an email, even if you think the email is legitimate from an account you have. Simply go to your web browser and visit your account’s website directly or by using a bookmark you’ve created. Log in from there and check to see if there are any issues with your account.

Phishing only works because people are not paying attention. For example, let’s say you just ordered a package from Amazon. Shortly afterward, an email arrives stating that there is something wrong with your shipment. This is probably a coincidence. You can see how easy it would be to click the link since you just sent a package.

SMishing

SMishing is when a scammer sends a message to you via text. It is called SMishing because texting is also known as SMS (short message services). Just like Phishing, criminals who want to steal your information or money cast a wide net via text to catch people off guard. SMishing is a more recent problem. There has been a lot of information about email scams over the past few years. Now, we need to be also be on the look out for SMishing scams on our phones. Most often these are security texts which appears to be from a bank stating that something is wrong with your account. The goal is the same. To trick you into giving over your personal information.

SMishing may also come in the form of a positive message. It may be a great deal on something but by clicking you may end up paying for something you won’t receive. Most recently with the Coronavirus outbreak, there have been text scams offering free face masks or hand sanitizer.

How to Protect Yourself: Be careful when clicking links in a text. Never click on a link associated with an account you may have, such as a bank account or any online account, including Spotify or Facebook. Of course, friends may send you links to websites or videos. In that case, just be extra careful and pay close attention to who is sending you the link.

Vishing

The “V” in Vishing stands for voice call scams. We’ve all received them. We’ve all been greatly annoyed by these scam phone calls that come from a foreign or strange looking phone number. Worse yet, many calls that are spoofed to look like a local number. The Spoofing of a phone number is when a caller makes it look like they are calling from a particular number, but the call is actually from different location altogether.

Just like other scams you need to be ready to think before you respond. The call may sound like it’s from a legitimate establishment. Adults are often tricked into thinking the call is from their government’s tax collection service. If the call is fact real, they won’t be threatening the receiver with arrest by the police if they don’t pay immediately, as scammers often do.

How to Protect Yourself: Never give any personal information over the phone, even if the person sounds like they are from a real company. If in doubt, hang up and call the company directly. If the caller is uttering threats or demanding information or money, hang up! You can also do your part to stop the scammer by reporting it. Google the contact information for your country’s anti-fraud center. You can call them or submit a report online from their website.

Protecting Your Computer from Scams:

On a final note, it’s important for anyone with a computer or laptop to also protect themselves from malware and viruses. If you accidentally click on a bad email link, you have better protection with a secure computer.

  1. Make sure your operating system’s security features are activated and up to date.
  2. Then install a reputable anti-malware software program. This type of program will also offer protection when surfing the web, in the event you land on an infected website that is trying to access your personal information.

These types of malicious websites may also try to secretly install malware on your computer and direct you to fake websites. You could also be infecting other computers through email without your knowledge.

To ensure you don’t have malware currently on your computer, you can do a free scan using MalwareBytes.

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