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As millions of Americans tune in to watch the World Cup and cheer on the U.S. men’s national soccer team, it’s important to stay vigilant against cyber criminals and hackers who may to try to take advantage of people’s enthusiasm to gain access to their information online. Hackers and identity thieves have been known to exploit high profile events using phishing emails and websites to target people looking to purchase tickets, merchandise, or stream video online.
If you’re purchasing merchandise or browsing for information on the World Cup, follow these tips to protect your personal information and avoid becoming a victim of identity theft:
- Think before you act. Be wary of “too good to be true” deals. Free tickets, cheap team merchandise, cheap collectibles – if a deal sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
- Check your bank and credit card statements regularly. Make sure that you authorized all of the charges listed.
- Shop only at reputable online retailers. Look for the padlock symbol or for URLs that start with “https” or “shttp.” For auction sites such as eBay, check the seller’s reviews.
- Be cautious online. Do not click on suspicious links or download items from unknown sources. Only use secure wireless networks and websites (those that start with https://) when conducting sensitive activities online.
It is also important to always take steps to stay safe online, including:
- Use social media carefully. Do not divulge sensitive information (such as your address or birthday) over social media. Set your social network privacy settings so only your real friends and family can see your information.
- Set strong passwords. Especially for sensitive online accounts (such as online banking), make sure your passwords are complex and unique. Do not set passwords that will be easy for cyber criminals to guess.
- Keep a clean machine. Keep your software and operating system updated. This will help your computer better fight against malware.
- Lock your devices when you’re away. Prevent others from accessing your computer and mobile devices by locking your devices when they are not in use.
For more information on individual cybersecurity, visit www.dhs.gov/StopThinkConnect.