Why Do I Need to Use a VPN?

VPNs protect your online privacy. They can protect you from government surveillance, protect your identity from cybercriminals, and unblock geo-restricted content. These benefits make using a VPN essential. If you are not familiar with these benefits, read on to learn more about them and how they work.

Why Do I Need to Use a VPN?

Protects you from government surveillance

If you're a consumer of information, protecting yourself from government surveillance has become an increasingly important issue. Today, governments have the resources to perform mass surveillance, including the collection of metadata, which can reveal your every move. This type of surveillance is made possible by recent developments in technology, such as social media and machine learning. To gather information, governments scrape social media profiles and organize them into large databases. These databases are then analyzed by artificial intelligence. These algorithms can infer your location and political views, as well as your sexual orientation.

Provides anonymity

When choosing a VPN service, it's important to choose one with high-quality privacy protection and strong encryption. It should be based in a country where users' privacy is respected. Otherwise, countries that are members of intelligence-sharing alliances can force VPNs to collect user data. If you're concerned that your data is at risk, you can check out this guide before signing up for a VPN service. ExpressVPN has a huge network which delivers in just about every area. Check out this particular ExpressVPN review provided by top experts for further details.

A VPN is especially important if you regularly access public Wi-Fi networks, as your personal information can be accessed by hackers and identity thieves. These individuals may even track your browsing history.

Protects you from cybercriminals

One of the best ways to protect yourself from cybercriminals is by using an antivirus program. These programs can guard your data against viruses and spyware, while at the same time protecting your identity. In addition to this, a good antivirus can protect your computer from identity theft and other online crimes. For instance, Kaspersky Total Security is an excellent example of an antivirus program.

Another way to protect yourself from cybercriminals is to make sure your security software is updated. Updates are essential for your devices, especially those connected to the Internet. Generally, your computer will alert you when a new version of software is available.

Online privacy

VPNs are a great way to protect your privacy online. It protects your identity by encrypting all of your traffic. Its servers are located around the world, so your IP address will not be exposed. VPNs work with a protocol called IPsec. Without this protocol, a VPN cannot encrypt data.

ISPs can track your online activity and may share it with third parties. This is done for a variety of reasons. Some countries require ISPs to store your digital activity data, and others allow them to sell your browsing history. Using a VPN blocks your IP address from being traced by ISPs, so no one can see what you're searching for online. This type of information can include passwords, social media data, and even your location.

Accessing streaming services

Using a VPN for streaming services is a great way to circumvent geographical restrictions and gain access to content you'd otherwise be unable to view. While many streaming services have apps that allow users to access them without a VPN, those apps can cause DNS leaks and prevent your VPN from controlling internal DNS settings. This can result in blocked content.

If you are experiencing difficulties accessing Hulu, try another server, or contact your VPN provider. Some have Live Chat features to help you with issues. You can also try asking for a specific server. Another option is to switch to a different VPN provider altogether. A good VPN for streaming services costs as little as $6.67 per month, while Private Internet Access costs just $2.03 a month.

Helps you bypass geo-restrictions

If you're having trouble streaming videos, movies, and TV shows from outside your home country, then you need to check out VPN services. These services help you circumvent geo-restrictions while ensuring the privacy of your data. Not only do VPNs bypass geo-restrictions, but they can also help you unblock websites that don't work in your region. For example, if you're looking to watch Comedy Central outside the US, you can use a VPN service to bypass geo-restrictions

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Online Threat Alerts Security Tips

Pay the safest way

Credit cards are the safest way to pay for online purchases because you can dispute the charges if you never get the goods or services or if the offer was misrepresented. Federal law limits your liability to $50 if someone makes unauthorized charges to your account, and most credit card issuers will remove them completely if you report the problem promptly.

Guard your personal information

In any transaction you conduct, make sure to check with your state or local consumer protection agency and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if the seller, charity, company, or organization is credible. Be especially wary if the entity is unfamiliar to you. Always call the number found on a website’s contact information to make sure the number legitimately belongs to the entity you are dealing with.

Be careful of the information you share

Never give out your codes, passwords or personal information, unless you are sure of who you're dealing with

Know who you’re dealing with

Crooks pretending to be from companies you do business with may call or send an email, claiming they need to verify your personal information. Don’t provide your credit card or bank account number unless you are actually paying for something and know who you are sending payment to. Your social security number should not be necessary unless you are applying for credit. Be especially suspicious if someone claiming to be from a company with whom you have an account asks for information that the business already has.

Check your accounts

Regularly check your account transactions and report any suspicious or unauthorised transactions.

Don’t believe promises of easy money

If someone claims that you can earn money with little or no work, get a loan or credit card even if you have bad credit, or make money on an investment with little or no risk, it’s probably a scam. Oftentimes, offers that seem too good to be true, actually are too good to be true.

Do not open email from people you don’t know

If you are unsure whether an email you received is legitimate, try contacting the sender directly via other means. Do not click on any links in an email unless you are sure it is safe.

Think before you click

If an email or text message looks suspicious, don’t open any attachments or click on the links.

Verify urgent requests or unsolicited emails, messages or phone calls before you respond

If you receive a message or a phone call asking for immediate action and don't know the sender, it could be a phishing message.

Be careful with links and new website addresses

Malicious website addresses may appear almost identical to legitimate sites. Scammers often use a slight variation in spelling or logo to lure you. Malicious links can also come from friends whose email has unknowingly been compromised, so be careful.

Secure your personal information

Before providing any personal information, such as your date of birth, Social Security number, account numbers, and passwords, be sure the website is secure.

Stay informed on the latest cyber threats

Keep yourself up to date on current scams by visiting this website daily.

Use Strong Passwords

Strong passwords are critical to online security.

Keep your software up to date and maintain preventative software programs

Keep all of your software applications up to date on your computers and mobile devices. Install software that provides antivirus, firewall, and email filter services.

Update the operating systems on your electronic devices

Make sure your operating systems (OSs) and applications are up to date on all of your electronic devices. Older and unpatched versions of OSs and software are the target of many hacks. Read the CISA security tip on Understanding Patches and Software Updates for more information.

What if You Got Scammed?

Stop Contact With The Scammer

Hang up the phone. Do not reply to emails, messages, or letters that the scammer sends. Do not make any more payments to the scammer. Beware of additional scammers who may contact you claiming they can help you get your lost money back.

Secure Your Finances

  • Report potentially compromised bank account, credit or debit card information to your financial institution(s) immediately. They may be able to cancel or reverse fraudulent transactions.
  • Notify the three major credit bureaus. They can add a fraud alert to warn potential credit grantors that you may be a victim of identity theft. You may also want to consider placing a free security freeze on your credit report. Doing so prevents lenders and others from accessing your credit report entirely, which will prevent them from extending credit:

Check Your Computer

If your computer was accessed or otherwise affected by a scam, check to make sure that your anti-virus is up-to-date and running and that your system is free of malware and keylogging software. You may also need to seek the help of a computer repair company. Consider utilizing the Better Business Bureau’s website to find a reputable company.

Change Your Account Passwords

Update your bank, credit card, social media, and email account passwords to try to limit further unauthorized access. Make sure to choose strong passwords when changing account passwords.

Report The Scam

Reporting helps protect others. While agencies can’t always track down perpetrators of crimes against scammers, they can utilize the information gathered to record patterns of abuse which may lead to action being taken against a company or industry.

Report your issue to the following agencies based on the nature of the scam:

  • Local Law Enforcement: Consumers are encouraged to report scams to their local police department or sheriff’s office, especially if you lost money or property or had your identity compromised.
  • Federal Trade Commission: Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or use the Online Complaint Assistant to report various types of fraud, including counterfeit checks, lottery or sweepstakes scams, and more.
  • Identitytheft.gov: If someone is using your personal information, like your Social Security, credit card, or bank account number, to open new accounts, make purchases, or get a tax refund, report it at www.identitytheft.gov. This federal government site will also help you create your Identity Theft Report and a personal recovery plan based on your situation. Questions can be directed to 877-ID THEFT.

How To Recognize a Phishing Scam

Scammers use email or text messages to try to steal your passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers. If they get that information, they could get access to your email, bank, or other accounts. Or they could sell your information to other scammers. Scammers launch thousands of phishing attacks like these every day — and they’re often successful.

Scammers often update their tactics to keep up with the latest news or trends, but here are some common tactics used in phishing emails or text messages:

Phishing emails and text messages often tell a story to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment. You might get an unexpected email or text message that looks like it’s from a company you know or trust, like a bank or a credit card or utility company. Or maybe it’s from an online payment website or app. The message could be from a scammer, who might

  • say they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts — they haven’t
  • claim there’s a problem with your account or your payment information — there isn’t
  • say you need to confirm some personal or financial information — you don’t
  • include an invoice you don’t recognize — it’s fake
  • want you to click on a link to make a payment — but the link has malware
  • say you’re eligible to register for a government refund — it’s a scam
  • offer a coupon for free stuff — it’s not real

About Online Threat Alerts (OTA)

Online Threat Alerts or OTA is an anti-cybercrime community that started in 2012. OTA alerts the public to cyber crimes and other web threats.

By alerting the public, we have prevented a lot of online users from getting scammed or becoming victims of cybercrimes.

With the ever-increasing number of people going online, it important to have a community like OTA that continuously alerts or protects those same people from cyber-criminals, scammers and hackers, who are every day finding new ways of carrying out their malicious activities.

Online users can help by reporting suspicious or malicious messages or websites to OTA. And, if they want to determine if a message or website is a threat or scam, they can use OTA's search engine to search for the website or parts of the message for information.

Help maintain Online Threat Alerts (OTA).

Why Do I Need to Use a VPN?