While the technology constantly progresses, so do the abundant ways scammers use to access your personal details or bank accounts. Use the tips below to make sure you protect yourself against any potential cyberattacks.
«Scammers don’t care about someone like me ». Yes, they do.
Online criminals target people of all ages, social groups, statuses, etc. There is no specific group of people who are more or less likely to be targeted. Therefore, each of us should be careful on the Internet.
What is dangerous about online scams is how trustworthy they can look. While new businesses, technology, and events are being introduced to the world, scammers quickly develop new ways to use them to their advantage and trick you into sharing your personal details. Fraudsters can deceive you when making electronic transfers, as in the example of the scam of the Octapay website.
How do you protect yourself?
Forewarned is forearmed. Whenever you contact a stranger via phone, email, social media, or any other similar way keep your guard up. There is always a possibility you are being lured into a scheme, and this is especially relevant for the cases in which everything seems too good to be true.
Do your research. If you meet someone you have no shared friends with or stumble upon a company you’ve never heard of before, make sure to look up as much as you can about them. Don’t forget to see if you can find any dependable reviews or references, and do an image search on the pictures. A good habit to have would also be double-checking on your friend directly whenever you receive a message or an email from them that seems to be out of their character.
Delete, if suspicious. Whenever you receive a text or an email that comes from an unknown source and seems weird, look up the contact before opening or responding. If you cannot figure out who the sender is and why they have your contact, delete and block.
Don’t give remote access to your computer. Asking for remote access to install or update an app is a common excuse scammers use to get an opportunity to install a virus that will steal all your passwords and personal details. Whenever you are asked to do this, hang up, even if they are using a name of a big and respectable company.
Secure yourself. Be careful about how much you share on your social media, don’t post too much about your income or whereabouts. Shred all important papers before throwing them into the trash. Make sure your passwords are not easy to guess and are kept in a safe space. Most importantly, do not use the same password for all your accounts.
Secure your devices. Use password protection and regularly update and back up your software. Put a password on your WiFi and don’t use public WiFi to access banking or any other apps that might contain sensitive details.
Be smart about your passwords. Update them regularly and don’t have them include any obvious details, like your birthday or phone number. A good password contains a mix of upper and lower case letters, some special symbols, and numbers. Do not share your passwords with anyone.
Secure your social media. Review the privacy settings, and make sure you do not offer all information about yourself to complete strangers. If you are contacted or stumble upon a suspicious post or a profile, make sure to mark it as spam or report.
Be cautious with your money. Do not send your bank details or documents to someone you don’t know well. Moreover, don’t agree to transfer money for someone else, this might be a sign of a money-laundering scheme.
Know your payment methods. Scammers tend to ask their targets to use pretty unusual payment methods, like pre-paid or gift cards, and cryptocurrency.
Shop smartly. Don’t let yourself be lured in by promotions and sales that you know sound too good to be true. Only use online shops that you know and trust. It is also not recommended to use crypto for online shopping because you will not be able to process a chargeback.
How to tell if you’re looking at a fake document?
While documents are not that hard to fake, there are some things that might raise serious red flags.
The most obvious one would be a document with a name of a company that does not exist (make sure to look the company up before believing or signing anything). Poor grammar and typos are also bad signs. Read the document to make sure everything makes sense. Surprisingly or not, the overly official and stiff text is often also a sign of a fake.
Simple documents, like bank statements, have rather minimalistic layouts. This, unfortunately, allows scammers to create believable fakes with the help of information they can find online. A logo of any company can be downloaded online and your name and contact details can be taken out of your social media.
How can you tell you received a fake email?
Like the bank statements, “official” emails can be easily created with the help of the Internet. We tend to become less attentive whenever we receive an email from a company we already know. If you, however, are not expecting to be contacted by them, make sure to check the sender’s address and compare the email to the previous one you received from them.
How can you tell you are being catfished?
Whenever you have doubts about someone you’ve met on a dating app, make sure there is nothing off about their set of pictures, interests, or bio. If you feel like something doesn’t really add up, do a Google search of their image. Catfishes do like to use pictures of other people they found online.
However extreme this is, sometimes cybercriminals like to go back to their victory fields to try and dig up more money.
Beware of lawyers offering you to investigate your case for additional fees. Law enforcement does not require any charges for these services. Never trust a “wife” or a “doctor” of your scammer to lead you into believing that they are in some serious danger and are in need of money.
Thankfully, there are not many ways to follow up on scams. However, don’t let the fact that the new approach is different from what has occurred before fool you. Using a new scheme is a common strategy in such cases. Moreover, your details might have simply been shared among scammers, each of whom has their own ways of getting their hands on your personal details.
Hopefully, you found these tips useful. Make sure to apply the ones you haven’t already, and be cautious!