PHOENIX - With COVID-19 causing a large number of Arizonans to work from home or attend school online, Attorney General Mark Brnovich advises Arizonans to use safe internet practices. With crooks and scammers busy trying to gain access to people's computers and personal information through weak security measures, AG Brnovich offers the following common sense tips to help you, your business, and your family stay safe online.
Security for Online Meetings and Classrooms
Reports of hijacked or interrupted online meetings and classrooms have increased as more people work or attend class from home due to COVID-19. Some of these incidents have subjected participants to hateful or graphic language and images. Incidents such as these generally can be prevented by following some broad guidelines:
- Limit participation in virtual meetings and classrooms by using a password or a system that allows the meeting host to control who can participate.
- Keep meeting and classroom passwords and links private. Send log-in information directly to participants and don’t share log-in information on social media.
- Always use the most up-to-date version of software. Regularly check for software and security updates.
- Always use a unique ID and password for each meeting to make it harder for intruders to identify and join meetings.
- If you are acting as a meeting host, be familiar with the security features available through the service you are using:
- Know how to lock all image, screen, and file sharing accesses;
- Prevent participants from showing and sharing files or images without the host’s permission; and
- Know how to silence and remove participants from the meeting.
Personal Computer Security While Working or Attending Class Remotely
Exercising good security habits can make a substantial difference in maintaining security and privacy while working or attending class from home:
- Use reputable and up-to-date antivirus and anti-malware software on all electronic devices connected to your network.
- Beware of the “tech support scam.”
- Do not take unsolicited phone calls from support personnel.
- Do not call phone numbers on pop-up windows claiming IT issues are affecting your device.
- Know your company’s IT support phone number and verify with them that any assistance is coming from a known source.
- Never give out passwords or private information to an unsolicited caller.
- Use unique passwords for any device or website requiring a log-in. Do not use the same log-in and password for all accounts.
- Beware of emails, links, and attachments from unknown sources.
- Always verify the source of an email to make sure that the communication is legitimate.
- Use extreme caution if the email is unsolicited and do not click on links in unsolicited emails.
- Don’t fall for emails offering easy money or that use threats demanding Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency.
The FTC provides additional learning materials for parents and children about how to stay safe online:
- Computer Security for Parents and Children
- Kids and Computer Security
- Protecting Kids Online
- Information About Child Identity Theft
Additionally, the Attorney General's Community Outreach Division recently produced webinars and online presentations for students, parents, and teachers in order to reach communities across the state in their homes during the current health crisis. Outreach currently offers multiple educational programs including Internet Safety for both students and parents. More information on specific programs and details on how to schedule a webinar.
The Attorney General’s Office launched a COVID-19 webpage dedicated to providing consumers with the latest information on COVID-19 scams and frauds.
If you believe you have been the victim of consumer fraud, you can file a consumer complaint by visiting the Attorney General’s website. If you need a complaint form sent to you, you can contact the Attorney General's Office in Phoenix at (602) 542-5763, in Tucson at (520) 628-6648, or outside the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas at (800) 352-8431.