The hacking theft of credit and debit card numbers should make everyone, including students, more careful about protecting their money from cyber thieves. The following measures can help, according to the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA).
Never provide Social Security numbers, bank account numbers or credit card numbers in response to a phone call, fax, letter or email. If you get an email from a bank or company with which you do business, don’t click on any links in the email. The link may lead you to a fake web page run by thieves hoping you’ll enter personal information, or it may install spyware or malware on your computer. Instead, sign in through the website you normally use when you do business with that firm.
Never provide bank, credit card or other sensitive data on a website that doesn’t explain how your information will be protected, including encryption to transmit and store data safely.
When using an ATM card or debit card, make sure no one standing nearby can see your personal identification number (PIN).
Install a free or low-cost firewall to stop intruders from gaining remote access to your personal computer. Download and frequently update security patches offered by your operating system and software vendors to correct weaknesses that a hacker could exploit.
KHEAA is the state agency that administers the Kentucky Educational Excellence Scholarship (KEES), need-based grants and other programs to help students pay their higher education expenses.
To find links to other useful education websites, go to www.gotocollege.ky.gov. For more information about Kentucky scholarships and grants, visit www.kheaa.com; write KHEAA, P.O. Box 798, Frankfort, KY 40602; or call 800-928-8926, ext. 6-7214.