It is a well known fact that nearly everyone has access to the Internet.  How each person uses it, though, varies.  Some people use the Internet everyday for work; some use it for news updates; and still others order goods and services.

While it is useful, you can encounter problems if you are not using the Internet in a safe manner.  So, how do you know if the information you are accessing is safe?

Here are a few tips to remember while surfing the web:

Know the website you are visiting – Ensure that the website you are visiting is the correct website.  Hackers can create a site that looks very similar to the legitimate site.  When you are visiting a website, it is best to type the Web address yourself.  Links in email messages, text messages, instant messages, or pop-up ads can take you to websites that look legitimate but are not.

Watch out for scams – It is important to be vigilant and watch for scams.  Be wary of emails that contain information on deals that sound too good to be true, contain alerts about your bank account, credit card, etc.  These emails could easily be the work of cyber criminals looking to collect your financial data.

Only submit sensitive information over an encrypted connection – Before you enter sensitive information on a Web page, ensure the Web address begins with “https,” not just “http.”  The “s” stands for secure.  Also, if you have an encrypted connection, you will notice a closed padlock icon either next to the Web address or in the lower right corner of the screen.

Conduct financial transactions at home – Never pay bills, bank, shop or do other financial business on a public or shared computer or on devices that are on public wireless networks, such as laptops or cell phones.  The security is unreliable.

Heed browser warnings – Ensure you thoroughly read any pop-up messages and security warnings that appear on your screen.  You should not continue viewing the site unless you understand the risks stemming from these messages.