Symptoms of a Spyware or Adware Infected Computer
Endless pop-up browser windows
redirected to unwanted web sites
unexpected toolbars in your web browser
unexpected or new icons task tray
browser's home page suddenly changes
certain keys fail to work in your browser (e.g. the tab key)
random Windows error messages appear
your computer suddenly seems very slow when opening programs or processing tasks
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Internet Privacy >
Protecting Your Personal Information
Protecting Your Personal Information
Every day you share personal information about yourself with
others. It's so routine that you may not even realize you're
doing it. You may write a check at the grocery store, charge
tickets to a ball game, rent a car, mail your tax returns,
buy a gift online, call home on your cell phone, schedule a
doctor's appointment or apply for a credit card. Each
transaction requires you to share personal information: your
bank and credit card account numbers; your income; your
Social Security number (SSN); or your name, address and
It's important to find out what happens to the personal
information you and your children provide to companies,
marketers and government agencies. These organizations may use
your information simply to process your order; to tell you about
products, services, or promotions; or to share with others.
And then there are unscrupulous individuals, like identity
thieves, who want your information to commit fraud. Identity
theft - the fastest-growing white-collar crime in America -
occurs when someone steals your personal identifying
information, like your SSN, birth date or mother's maiden name,
to open new charge accounts, order merchandise or borrow money.
Consumers targeted by identity thieves usually don't know
they've been victimized. But when the fraudsters fail to pay the
bills or repay the loans, collection agencies begin pursuing the
consumers to cover debts they didn't even know they had.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) encourages you to make
sure your transactions - online and off - are secure and your
personal information is protected. The FTC offers these tips to
help you manage your personal information wisely, and to help
minimize its misuse.
- Before you reveal any personally identifying information,
find out how it will be used and whether it will be shared
a choice about the use of your information; can you choose to
have it kept confidential?
Websites directed to children or that knowingly collect
information from kids under 13 must post a notice of their
information collection practices.
- Put passwords on your credit card, bank and phone
accounts. Avoid using easily available information like your
mother's maiden name, your birth date, the last four digits of
your SSN or your phone number, or obvious choices like a
series of consecutive numbers or your hometown football team.
- Minimize the identification information and the number of
cards you carry to what you'll actually need. Don't put all
your identifying information in one holder in your purse,
briefcase or backpack.
- Keep items with personal information in a safe place. When
you discard receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance
forms, physician statements, bank checks and statements,
expired charge cards, credit offers you get in the mail and
mailing labels from magazines, tear or shred them. That will
help thwart any identity thief who may pick through your trash
or recycling bins to capture your personal information.
- Consider ordering a copy of your credit report from each
of the three major credit reporting agencies (CRAs) every
year. Make sure it's accurate and includes only those
activities you've authorized. CRAs can't charge you more than
$9.00 for a copy and in some states, your credit report is
- Use a secure browser when shopping online to guard the
security of your transactions. When submitting your purchase
information, look for the "lock" icon on the browser's status
bar to be sure your information is secure during transmission.
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