Cybercriminals are smart and crafty. They are constantly coming up with intricate and sophisticated ways to steal your money and personal information. You need to be equally savvy to protect yourself from being scammed.
You Are Not Immune to Cyber Scams
The first thing you need to do to protect yourself from cyber scams is to realize that you could be a potential target. Realizing that you can be targeted should help you change online activities that could put you at risk.
Scammers target people of different backgrounds, income levels, and ages. There is no group of people that have a higher propensity to been scammed than others. Everyone can become a cyber criminal’s victim if they are not careful.
Scams are successful because they come in packaging that makes them look legitimate. Scammers are taking advantage of new technologies, services, and products, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, to create believable stories that convince you to give them your money and personal information. Do not think that you will instantly be able to identify a scam.
Be Alert to Scams
Being alert means that when you are interacting with people soliciting your information, either by mail, phone, email, or via social networks, and you don’t know who they are, you need to proceed with caution. It is better to assume that someone is trying to scam you.
Scammers used two tactics. They either try to scare you into giving them information or offer something that seems too good to miss out on. For example, they may contact you and pretend to be your bank, PayPal, or a streaming service. They scare you by saying that your account has been compromised.
They may approach you posing as your banking institution and saying that they made a bank error in your favor. The bank needs to correct the error.
Take Advantage of Software to Help with Cyber Theft
You cannot catch every attempt by cybercriminals to infiltrate your Internet-connected devices. Thankfully, there is software that has been created to help aid you in this fight.
For example, a vulnerability scanner can help you or your organization scan authorization issues. These scanners combine patch management and security scanning in one console. You are able to see operating system vulnerability and increase cyber resilience with automated patching and security scans.
VPNs are excellent tools that protect you by creating a secure encrypted tunnel that connects your device to the server you are communicating with. VPNs add an extra layer of protection if you connect to the Internet in cafes or other places that have unsecured Wi-Fi networks.
All your devices should have antivirus and anti-malware software. There is no software in the world that is going to protect you 100 percent from cybercriminals. However, by using the right software, you can minimize the chances of becoming a victim.
Use Common Sense
When you interact with a person online, use the same criteria you use for judging a stranger face-to-face. You would not accept food from a complete stranger who came up to you on the street. You don’t know them, so you are skeptical about who they are and where the food they are offering you came from. Similarly, if a person you do not know reaches out to you for a business opportunity, do research.
If a message or email comes from a friend, but it seems weird that they would contact you, contact your friend directly to confirm it is them.
Keep Your Personal Information Safe
Put a lock on your mailbox. Destroy documents that have personal information on them before you throw them out. PINs and passwords should be kept in a safe place. Use caution when sharing information on social media. Scammers will often use the information and pictures you put on social media to create a fake identity and target you with a scam.
Scammers will not quit scamming. This means that you cannot let your guard down. There’s nothing you can do to protect yourself 100 percent from cybercriminals, but you can sure make it difficult for them to be successful. Keep your personal information safe, use common sense, take advantage of cybersecurity software, and be alert to scams.
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