Cyber criminals target businesses and consumers of all ages alike. The internet has made it infinitely easier to shop, pay bills and enjoy our leisure time, but it’s also made it easier to commit crimes.
With our private lives, homes and work offices connected to such a vast online world, we need to be cautious about how cyber criminals can gain access to our sensitive private and financial data.
Here’s 4 of the most common internet scams to watch out for:
Phishing. A phishing scam is a communication sent to you through email or social media by criminals that try to convince you to hand over personal information such as logins, bank account details, work details or other personal information they deem valuable. They do this by sending you links to websites that look legitimate, asking you to confirm your details to continue. You should always double check what the link is before clicking. The link may look valid at first but could use a spelling or domain variation (.net instead of .co.uk). If something looks strange – don’t click it.
Fake antivirus software. You’ll occasionally see popups with messages saying that your device has been infected and you need to immediately download their software. The software will likely install malware designed to disrupt, damage or gain access to your device. It’s best to immediately close the popup and keep your own antivirus software up to date. Here’s a useful list of known rogue security software.
Make money fast. These will sometimes be advertised as jobs or websites that will promise to make you rich quickly. They are designed to get you to provide private information such as bank account or other personal details. It’s best to ignore these offers and move on – there’s no such thing as a free lunch!
SMS phishing (also known as smishing). We use our smartphones more than ever before, which is why phishing has evolved to now include SMS. Smishing is similar to email or social media phishing, where you’ll receive an urgent text message requesting personal details through a link. Much like phishing, you should always double check the link you’re clicking on and delete it if you’re unsure.
How to keep yourself safe online
- Be careful what you click
- Keep your network security (antivirus and anti-malware software) up to date and on at all times
- Don’t overshare your personal details as they could be used to comprise your accounts
- Always question the websites you visit
- Use strong password generators and never use the same password twice.