Monday, 18 June 2018 22:37

Local tech store offers advice for internet safety month Featured

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ELLSWORTH - With June being National Internet Safety Month, the staff at Ellsworth's AT&T store has been trying to educate people on how to keep their families safe online.

The average kid now gets their first smartphone at age ten, according to AT&T. And store representatives said 50 percent of children have social media accounts by age 12.


Matt Jellison, the retail sales manager at the Ellsworth AT&T location advised parents to make sure their kids are only friends online with people they know, and that their social media accounts aren't set to publicly display personal information.


"Keep an eye on what the kids are doing," said Jellison. "You know, have conversations regularly to check in."


One man from Franklin, in the store with his little brother, said he monitors his sibling's internet activity and makes sure his brother doesn't put in more private information than he has to to set up accounts.


He said he and his family "limit the amount of internet time being used" and tells his younger sibling not to friend people he doesn't know.


And experts said kids aren't the only age group at risk. AT&T store managers have seen adults, especially senior citizens, fall victim to phone scams such as caller ID "spoofing". Jellison said spoofing is when a caller or texter may use a fake 207 area code phone number to make it look like they're calling from Maine. But really, the caller could be phoning from anywhere, even outside the country. This method can be used to trick people into handing over personal, financial information.


"I tell our customers all the time that even in Ellsworth it's an issue," said Jellison. "You're never going to be asked for pin numbers, you're never going to be asked for passwords through an email, through a text."


Store employees said to make sure your password isn't your address, a nickname, or something a stranger could guess by looking at your public profile. And in general, people should keep an eye on bank accounts and credit card statements to watch for unusual activity.


And many of the safety pointers came down to common sense.


"If you're not sure who it's from, don't open it," said Jellison, speaking about suspicious emails. "If it's a prize that's too good to be true, then it probably is."

Kelly Mitchell

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Kelly Mitchell joined the news team in March of 2018. She grew up splitting her time between York, ME and Haverhill, MA, but her favorite childhood memories took place along the rocky coast of southern Maine. She's now e...