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PNS Daily Newscast - October 20, 2017 


In focus on our Friday Rundown; the U.S. Senate takes a first step towards passing major tax cuts; holiday help wanted as retail and restaurant job opportunities abound; plus, we report on a website that helps new moms take 12 from work.

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Tips for Staying Safe Online During Cybersecurity Awareness Month

In phishing scams, a person pretends to be from a reputable institution in an email in order to steal personal information. (aitoff/Pixabay)
In phishing scams, a person pretends to be from a reputable institution in an email in order to steal personal information. (aitoff/Pixabay)
October 12, 2017

PIERRE, S.D. – October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and AARP South Dakota's Fraud Watch Network is offering a few tips for staying safe online.

First, create strong passwords and change them often, preferably every three months on sensitive accounts. Using phrases instead of something like a child's birthday or pet's name is much safer, too. Also, don't access sensitive information while connected to public WiFi.

Lindsey Holmquest, community outreach director for AARP South Dakota, cautions people to be on the lookout for phishing scams. These are scams where someone pretends to be from your bank or other reputable institution and emails a link asking for verification of personal information, such as a credit card or Social Security number.

"What we always tell folks is, never click through,” Holmquest said. "If there's a question, that company will likely reach out directly to you, probably by a phone call. If you do get an email, it's best to call them back. Verify first before sharing any of that information."

AARP South Dakota is holding Fraud Watch Network presentations across the state through the rest of this year, including in Brookings on Oct. 25. The group will focus on fraud protection for veterans in November with meetings at VFWs.

Cybersecurity has been in the spotlight after the credit reporting agency Equifax announced a data breach, which potentially compromised the personal information of more than 140 million Americans. Holmquest said it's important to be vigilant, especially now.

"Definitely monitor your bank and your credit accounts online, look for suspicious activity, make sure that you recognize all the transactions that are happening,” she said. "If there's any question, if anything looks funny, make sure you're contacting your financial institution right away."

Holmquest said if South Dakotans suspect they have been the victim of identity fraud, they should reach out to the state attorney general's office right away, so it can get an investigation started as soon as possible.

She said folks also can add it to the Fraud Watch Network's scam-tracking map at the group's website, which records scams in the region.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - SD