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From the NYS Office of Information Technology Services

Recognizing and Combatting Cybercrime

Todays world is more interconnected than ever before. However, increased connectivity brings increased risk of theft, fraud, and abuse. While online crime is often associated with hackers stealing personal information for monetary gain, crime on the Internet takes many forms. Cybercrime can include everything from organizational data breaches to consumer issues like identity theft, cyber-stalking, harassment and bullying. Fighting cybercrime requires a high level of collaboration among law enforcement, government agencies, the private sector and the general public.

The best way to protect yourself from cybercrime is to use common sense, be prepared and take precautions

* Protect all devices that connect to the Internet. Be sure to keep the operating system and application software updated/patched on all of your computers and mobile devices. Be sure to check that your anti-virus/anti-spyware software is running and receiving automatic updates. Confirm that your firewall is enabled.

* Do business with reputable online vendors. Before providing any personal or financial information, make sure that you are interacting with a reputable, established vendor. If you have questions about a merchant, check with the Better Business Bureau or the Federal Trade Commission. Confirm the online seller's physical address, where available, and phone number in case you have questions or problems. When banking and shopping, check to be sure the site is security enabled with https:

* Beware of unsolicited emails or suspicious websites. Never provide your credit card number, bank account information, or other personal information in response to an unsolicited email or to a suspicious Internet web site.

* Report suspicious activity. Report online fraud to the Federal Trade Commission

Online safety and security are shared responsibilities, and we each have an obligation to protect our identities and our information online. The following sites provide helpful resources and tips to avoid becoming a victim of cybercrime:

* New York State Police - Crime Prevention/Online Safety: (Click for web site)

* Federal Bureau of Investigation - Internet Crime Center Prevention Tips: (Click for web site)

* National White Collar Crime Center: (Click for web site)

* New York State Office of Information Technology Services - Cyber Security Tips Newsletter: (Click for web site)

* StaySafeOnline - Id Theft, Fraud and Victims of Cybercrime: (Click for web site)

* Federal Trade Commission - Report Identity Theft: (Click for web site)