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(ARA) – It’s something you’ve probably done – sign online andcheck your bank statement or make a purchase. But when you connectto your wirelessInternet service, are you cautious of cyber scams? In 2009,cyber scams resulted in $560 million in losses, according to theInternet Crime Complaint Center’s 2009 Annual Report. It’s quite ajump from $265 million in losses in 2008. So before you submit yoursocial security number or credit card information, follow thesetips for avoiding cyber scams:

Don’t purchase on an unsecure network – If you think it’sharmless to use your neighbor’s wireless connection to shop online,think again. Surfing on unsecure wireless Internet connections isone of the easiest ways for hackers to access your personalinformation. Some scammers are so advanced, they can track everykeystroke you make. It’s important to get online using apassword-protected, secure Internet connection.

Check your city’s cyber crime rating – A recent study fromSymantec’s Norton product group ranked cities where people are atthe greatest risk for becoming cyber crime victims. The studycompared all U.S. cities and looked at the number of Wi-Fi hotspotsand how often the population made online purchases, checkedpersonal finances and sent e-mails. The five cities with thehighest risk for cyber crimes were Seattle, Boston, Washington,D.C., San Francisco and Raleigh, N.C.

Be wary of free Wi-Fi – If you head to the local coffee shopbecause of the “Free Wi-Fi” sign plastered in the window, you maywant to think twice. Symantec’s study also found that cities withmore access to free Wi-Fi were at a higher risk for Internetscams.

Fortunately, there are some easy ways to get around it. CLEAR4G, a high-speedInternet provider, turns entire cities into wireless hotspots.So instead of getting unsecure Wi-Fi at a local coffee shop, youplug the CLEAR USB modem into your laptop and surf on a completelysafe network. You can even use the technology to get high-speedInternet on a bus, in a cab or at the park. The On-The-Go Internetservice is changing the way people get online – and making it asafer experience, too.

Create clever passwords – Creating a unique password is easy.But do you use the same password across all your favorite Websites? If so, you’re putting yourself at serious risk. Once ahacker figures out one of your passwords, they’ll likely visitnumerous sites including Gmail, Yahoo and banking sites to try andaccess more of your information. Use unique passwords for everysite and keep a master list so you can keep track of each one andmake changes if your computer is ever at risk.

Don’t become a statistic in 2010. Take proper precautions beforeyou submit personal information over the Internet. And if youregularly access high-speed Internet when you leave the house,choose a provider like CLEAR Internet, so you’reguaranteed a secure connection.

Courtesy of ARAcontent