MIAMI (CBSMiami) — October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

With identity theft on the rise, it’s extremely important to be cautious with the information that we reveal online.

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Most parents teach their kids to be wary of strangers on social networking sites and to limit the amount of personal information shared online.

However, many adults fail to practice what they preach and continuously share sensitive information on their profile, such as their birth date, home town, address, and phone numbers.

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Furthermore, announcing via Facebook that you’re out or town is not advisable.  If a criminal reads on your Facebook page that you’re traveling, they will know that you are not home.

There is no doubt that increased connectivity brings an increased risk of theft and fraud, and no one is immune from becoming a victim.  However, each of us can take the following precautionary steps to help minimize the risk:

  • Limit the amount of personal information you post online, and use privacy settings to avoid sharing information widely.
  • Set strong passwords, and don’t share them with anyone.
  • Keep your operating system, browser, and other critical software optimized by installing updates. Delete all suspicious e-mails without opening them.  Be especially careful when opening attachments to e-mails.
  • Ensure that commercial websites you visit utilize secure transmission measures (usually Secure Sockets Layer or SSL), typically indicated by a key or padlock icon along the lower section of your screen.
  • Before purchasing goods or services online make sure you are dealing with a legitimate business.
  • Look for the Lock. The lock symbol in your browser’s Status Bar and “https” in the Address Bar show that you’ve got a secure connection. Look for it any time you’re about to engage in a financial transaction.
  • Maintain an open dialogue with your family, friends, and community about internet safety.
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To check the complaint history of a company, file a complaint or ask consumer-related questions, contact the Miami-Dade Business Affairs Division at 305-375-3677. You can also log on to the department website at