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Use Public Computers with Caution

While airports and other venues with public computer terminals offer convenience, using them could compromise the security of your personal information.

You're on vacation and haven't been able to check email for a week. You stop for a cappuccino and notice a computer terminal in the corner of the coffee shop. It has Internet access and you decide to check your email and glance at the headlines on your favorite news website. No problem so far.

Then you decide to visit your bank's website, sign in and check to see if a couple of recent transactions have cleared. Is that a good idea? Probably not since you're using a public computer terminal.

There's no way for you to know what kinds of spyware programs are installed on public terminals. The computer may contain keytracking software or other invasive programs installed by someone who used the terminal previously. Those programs could help someone steal your identity if you're typing in personal information like an ID and password for online access to your bank account.

Given the ease with which spyware and other treacherous programs can imbed themselves on a personal computer used only by you, it's wise to be extra cautious and never access personal financial data from a computer used by the general public.

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