National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

National Cybersecurity Banner

Held every October, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) #TXCyberAware19 is a collaborative effort between government and industry to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity and to ensure that all Texans have the resources they need to be safer and more secure online.

NCSAM 2019 will emphasize personal accountability and stress the importance of taking proactive steps to enhance cybersecurity at home and in the workplace. This year’s overarching message – Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT. – will focus on key areas including citizen privacy, consumer devices, and e-commerce security.


Now, more than ever, people are sharing sensitive personal information about themselves online. Technology allows us to connect to each other around the world no matter our location, bank and shop online, and even control our televisions, homes, and cars from our smartphones. With this added convenience comes an increased risk
of identity theft and Internet scams. Every time we connect to the Internet–at home, at school, at work, or on our mobile devices–we make decisions that affect our
Roughly half of American adults (110 million) had their personal information exposed by cyber criminals in 2015 alone.
Two-thirds of Americans (65 percent) who use the Internet received at least one online scam offer during 2013.
Identity theft has been at the top of the Federal Trade Commission’s Top Consumer Complaints list for 15 years in a row.

Common Internet Scams

Just as technology continues to move forward, making our lives easier and more connected, cybercriminals will use more sophisticated techniques to exploit technology to steal your identity, your personal information, and your money. To help protect yourself against online threats, here is a list of common internet frauds from the Federal Trade Commission.


Identity theft is the illegal use of someone else’s personal information in order to obtain money or credit. How will you know if you’ve been a victim of identity theft?
You might get bills for products or services you did not purchase. Your bank account might have withdrawals you didn’t expect.
You may see unauthorized charges on your credit cards. You may even see new accounts opened in your name that you did not authorize.
You may fail to receive regular bills or mail. You may be unexpectedly denied for a credit application (when you believe you should qualify).


Phishing attacks use email or malicious websites to collect personal and financial information or infect your machine with malware and viruses. Cybercriminals use legitimate- looking emails that encourage people to click on a link or open an attachment. The email they send can look like it is from an authentic financial institution, e-commerce site, government agency, or any other service or business.


Imposter scams happen when you receive an email or call seemingly from a government official, family member, or friend requesting that you wire them money to
pay taxes or fees, or to help someone you care about.


“You’ve Won” scams occur when you get an email telling you that you have won a prize, lottery, or sweepstakes. Though the person seems excited for you to collect
your winnings, they then tell you there is a fee or tax to pay for the prize and request your credit card or bank account information.


Healthcare scams happen when you receive a call, email, or letter that promises big savings on health insurance but claims that you need to provide your Medicare or
health insurance information, Social Security number, or financial information to take advantage of the deal.

Simple Tips

There are many steps consumers can take to avoid becoming victims of identity theft or online scams.
When in doubt, throw it out. Links in email, tweets, posts, and online advertising are often the way cybercriminals compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious,
even if you know the source, it’s best to delete it.

You also have the option, if appropriate, to mark it as “junk email ”so you no longer receive emails from this sender.


Think before you act.
Be wary of communications that implore you to act
immediately, offer something that sounds too good to be true, or ask for personal



Make passwords long and strong.
Create a password with eight characters or more that uses a combination of numbers, letters, and symbols.

Guard your personal information. Keep Social Security numbers, account numbers, and passwords private, as well as specific information about yourself.


Use stronger authentication.
Using stronger authentication requires that you use your password in conjunction with an additional piece of information (such as a PIN sent to your mobile device) to verify your identity. Even if a cybercriminal is trying to access your account and has captured your password, they still cannot get account access without the second component, if you have instituted stronger authentication. Visit for more information on stronger authentication. Unique account, unique password. Create unique passwords for each account. Keeping separate passwords for every account helps thwart cybercriminals.


Unique account, unique password.
Create unique passwords for each account. Keeping separate passwords for every account helps thwart cybercriminals


If you discover that you have become a victim of cybercrime, immediately notify your local authorities to file a complaint. Keep and record all evidence of the incident and its
suspected source.
Texas Department of Information Resources


Texas A&M Cybersecurity Center

Own it. Secure It. Protect It.