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AT&T account and customer information security

Learn how AT&T protects your personal information and defends you against identity theft.


ArticleDETAILED INFO

Learn more about account security

AT&T Mail uses state-of-the-art software to provide you with one of the most secure email experiences on the web. AT&T Mail is firewall protected, mailboxes can't be bookmarked, and, in most cases, the Back button will not work.

Steps you can take to protect your privacy
  • Each time you exit your account make sure to sign out completely to prevent others from viewing your email. This is especially important if you’re connecting from a public computer.
  • Be sure to clear the browser's cache and then restart the browser at the end of each session. Doing this will remove the possibility that another user on the same computer could view any of the contents of your account.

Common scams
Whether you realize it or not, you expose your personal information online through the technologies you use. From information posted to social networking sites to data sent over unsecured wireless networks, you reveal bits of information that hackers can piece together to either scam you or steal your identity. Hackers use your email address to send targeted spam and your passwords to access your accounts.

If hackers have an email address from your Facebook page and a mention in your profile about how you love animals, they can send you an email asking you to donate to help animals in need, with a link to a fake donation site. These targeted email attacks are called 'spearphishing' and it is a popular and growing online scam.

Spearfishing is a key component of one of the most popular online scams, known as the Nigerian or 419 scam. This scam got its name because it usually involves a spam message from someone claiming to be in Nigeria, and 419 is the section of the Nigerian criminal code that this scam violates. The sender asks the recipient to help him or her transfer a large sum of money in exchange for a portion of the funds. They may claim that the recipient has inherited a great deal of money and asks for their account details to transfer the inheritance. While many of you may think that you would never fall for this scam, the hackers are adept at employing techniques to gain your trust, using your empathy, familiarity with current events, and your own personal information to trigger a response. Hackers also attempt to leverage your needs. A great example is the job search scam, which targets individuals who are looking for employment. The hacker posts a fake job ad on a website, asking for applicants to submit personal information, such as copies of their driver's license for a delivery job. They then combine this information with the applicant's social security number and steal the job hunter's identity.

Another common online trick is the banking scam. The hacker sends you an email claiming to be from a major bank asking you to verify your email address by clicking on a link and entering your account details. The messages appear legitimate, often including the bank's real logo. However, it's worth knowing that a real bank would never email you asking for account details.

How to protect your personal information
With your credit, money, and identity at stake, it's essential to take steps to safeguard your information. Let's look at some of the ways in which you may inadvertently make your personal information available to hackers, and how to minimize your exposure.
  • Email and instant messages (IM) Do not give out any personal information or click any links from contacts you don’t recognize. In addition, don’t send information, like credit card numbers, social security numbers, or account usernames and passwords, over email or instant messaging. For tips on how to identify fraudulent email, visit the Customer Education page.
  • Social networking sites Be careful posting your email address, work information, and other significant details on your profile pages. And watch where you click—the message you thought was from a friend could be from a hacker.
  • E-commerce sites If you’re shopping at a website you've never been to before, look for a trustmark, such as the McAfee SECURE1 trustmark, that ensures the website has been scanned and certified as safe. Only sites with the highest level of security can earn the McAfee SECURE trustmark because their sites are scanned daily for potential vulnerabilities. Also, always check to see if the company encrypts, or scrambles, your payment information. You can find out by looking for the lock logo in your browser. You should be able to click this lock logo and verify that the website is legitimate. The website address should also start with "https://" rather than just "http://", indicating that the site uses encryption to keep your information safe.
  • Wireless networking Take steps to protect your network by enabling the firewall on your router and using a software firewall.
  • Laptops and removable media Don’t leave your laptop unattended in a conference room or cafe, you’re inviting hackers to steal sensitive information. You also need to be careful about where you leave your removable media, since it could be stolen.

What you can do to protect your computer and your network
  • Use a firewall Firewalls provide an important first line of defense. They stop information on the Internet from getting to your network or computer. If you have a home wireless network, make sure that the firewall on your router is enabled, and use a software firewall to protect your computer.
  • Use comprehensive computer security Because there are a variety of ways in which hackers can access your information, make sure that you use a comprehensive security solution, like AT&T Internet Security Suite powered by McAfee, to safeguard all possible points of entry.
  • Educate yourself Keep up to date about the latest scams and tricks hackers use to get your information so you can avoid potential attacks.
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Identity theft

Here are a few easy things you can do to help prevent identity theft:
  • Destroy documents before discarding them.
  • Check your credit reports from all 3 of the major credit reporting agencies at least once a year.
  • Carefully read all communications from utility companies and credit companies.
  • Avoid emailing personal or financial information, and only use secure websites.
  • Be careful about disclosing personal information over the phone.
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Links to more information

Learn more about how we protect your data.
For more information, see the AT&T Privacy and Security policy.

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