Cyber safety

I wonder how many of you have already had a brush with identity theft. It’s so frustrating, and what you have to do to fix or repair the damage is just as bad as getting your identity stolen in the first place. Let’s really get into this. Some of the primary targets of theft are computers, laptops, smartphones and even MP3 players. The more technology that we get, the more chances that we have for someone to steal our identity.

I took my car to this mechanic who works out of his house. I’m cheap, and he’s a nice guy. I think he’s a bit of a hermit, though. Anyway, he looked at my car, then said he’d have it fixed later on that day.

I said, “OK. Shoot me a text.”

He looked at me as if I’d just grown wings out of the sides of my head. And then he said, “Oh no, I don’t do text.”

I started laughing. He didn’t.

I asked him, “What are your thoughts on indoor plumbing and horseless carriages?”

He said, “Huh?”

I said, “What?”

He said, “What?”

I said, “Huh?”

Then it occurred to me: This cat was serious.

I thought to myself, “This is really funny. I’ll be laughing about this all day. But wait a minute: I bet this mechanic has a very small cyber footprint. On the other hand, my cyber footprint must look like a crater!”

My point is, let’s try to reduce the ways in which someone can get at us electronically. If a company or business wants your private information, ask questions. Why do you need that? What are you going to do with it? Remember financial or payment institutions will never request sensitive data via popups or emails. Purchase a locking device and or tracking software.

I recently worked with a student who thought her iPod was stolen. She was able to track it with her smartphone; that’s cool tech.

You all know if you receive a suspicious-looking email, delete it. Destroy private records, and rip up or keep those ATM receipts. Don’t put personal information or photos on your website or social networking sites. OK, I don’t even know why I just wrote that part about the photos. Let’s make a deal: Just don’t post photos of you standing next to your mailbox holding a poster with your Social Security number on it, cool?

Take your name off marketers’ lists. Try the do not call list at 1-888-382-1222 or Use a secure browser that will encrypt or scramble purchase information.

Keep track of your billing dates/cycles, and follow up with creditors if you don’t receive bills or statements on time.

Monitor your credit report; you can request a free one once a year.

And don’t forget YSU Police; you can reach the department at 330-941-3527.

The people who would steal from you spend a great deal of time thinking about ways to rip you off. Let’s spend a little time making it harder for them.

Happy surfing, and remember to take care and take care of one another!