Downloads and File Sharing

1. Be wary of free downloadable software. This type of software often contains spyware or other malicious software that can steal your information or harm your computer.

2. Practice caution when using free file-sharing programs. These sites are notorious for distributing malicious software (malware) that can be used to steal your passwords and other personal information. Music, video and game files on these sites are often pirated, and could put you in violation of copyright laws. If caught, you could be subject to stiff penalties, including fines and prosecution.

3. Be alert to phishing scams in email, Web or social networking sites.  Attempts to collect your personal information or requests for immediate action are indicators that you are being “phished.” These include notices of account closures, disconnection of service, request for immediate verification of account information, etc. Even though some may look legitimate, they could be scam emails (made to look like they come from a real business). A bank will NEVER request your account information via email. If you’re uncertain, directly type in the web site address of the site in question or call your bank or other service provider on the number you would normally contact them, not one provided in the email or Web site.

4. Don’t follow email links or pop-up ads that claim your computer is infected and offer anti- spyware software. These could be what is known as rogue anti-spyware programs and may actually contain spyware.