Although you may think it’s impossible to share the common cold, flu, or even a STD online it’s possible!! How you ask?
Just like we can’t see germs and can unknowingly infect ourselves with sicknesses we also can’t always see information hackers! I’m going to tell you some ways how to avoid getting a cold, flu, or STD online.
Let’s look at a cold: it’s miserable, interrupts your life for a couple weeks, painful, and you usually end up buying medicines to help with the symptoms until they go away. This is like phishing scams. You think you’ve won some money, or a email comes saying how you’ve got some money waiting for you- but first you have to give them just a little bit of information such as:
- Your name- ok FLAG, if THEY contacted you they should know your name.
- Your address- again, chances are if it’s anything legit they will already have this information and should be able to send it to you to verify.
- Your phone number- because that’s all you need is for them to sell your contact info to telemarketing companies all over the world.
- Your Social Security number- ummmm MAJOR FLAG!! Never give this out to an unknown source that you can’t verify their credentials, especially when they contacted you for the information.
- Your birth date- if you’ve “won” anything it shouldn’t matter how old you are right?
The flu is something pretty much everyone will have at some point in their life right? Internet flu is basically a virus for your computer. Some are more serious than others. Where some you may not even know you have, others may destroy your computer’s hard drive or do major damage in other ways that make it completely necessary for a “Doctor’s visit” (computer doctor that is). How do you prevent internet flu? There are a few options:
- Download an antivirus software – however just like getting a flu shot every year these aren’t always 100% effective. But probably a good place to start.
- Avoid downloading from unknown websites.
- Scan your computer monthly (or more depending on how much you use it)
In my analogy I’m going to refer to a STD as “Secretly Transferred Data”. This happens when you download some programs or even visit some websites. This can also happen when you sign up for something- say a mailing list, and not realizing or reading it first you check the box that allows them to share your information with other companies. Now you’re open to getting all sorts of spam and junk mail from every company and their dog wanting to sell you something. Granted they may only have your email address and physical address or phone number but it also puts that information out there for less reputable companies to get ahold of.
So the moral of this post-
There are things you should NEVER share online in order to prevent getting “sick” or taken advantage of.
- Social Security Number
- Mother’s Maiden Name
- Bank account/credit card info
And if you do share your address, phone number, or birth date be aware that you’re opening yourself up to be contacted via those avenues by anyone who gets the information or buys it from a third party.