Anyone who wants to be safe online should make it a priority to protect themselves from scams such as the Action Fraud. Learn about common scams like lottery and sweepstakes scams to avoid falling for them.
Fraudsters can be persistent and push your emotional hot buttons to get you to make quick decisions. Here are some easy ways to protect yourself.
Do not share personal information
You expose yourself to cyberbullying and identity theft when you share your personal information online. Identity thieves may use your personal data to carry out financial transactions or purchase items using a credit card that has been stolen. They can also use this information to create fake websites and social media accounts. Scammers can send you fake emails and texts. This type of fraud is known as phishing.
Only give your personal data to organizations that you trust and know. If you have any doubts about an organization’s legitimacy, contact them to verify their identity. Also, never click on links or attachments in emails that are suspicious. These attachments or links could potentially download malware onto your device, or transmit your personal information. Hovering over the URL or address will reveal if this is a legitimate link. Do not open unsolicited attachments.
Beware of scams which involve wire transfers and checks. Contact your bank if you receive a fake check from someone that you don’t recognize. Never cash a check from a stranger and don’t transfer funds to them via wire, money order or gift cards. These methods of payment are not secure and can allow scammers to take control of your funds.
Always be cautious when selling or purchasing items through local ads or online marketplaces. You should meet in a place where you can be seen by others, or keep your phone on you. Be careful when posting pictures of your home and other valuables on the internet. These photos can be used for burglary or to steal your possessions. Finally, never access your personal accounts on public Wi-Fi networks. These networks may contain spyware that records your every keystroke.
Be wary of links in text messages and emails
Scammers use urgency to trick people into giving up their money or personal data. They may claim something is about be canceled, or you’ll miss out on an offer if you don’t act quickly.
Scams can be sent via emails, text messages, pop-ups and phone calls. They pretend to be someone you trust, such as a bank, the government or a tech company. They can also alter the name that appears on your Caller ID in order to appear more legitimate.
Never click on links within texts or emails from unknown senders. Check that the website is secure by looking at a padlock or an address beginning with https. If you’re not sure, you can call the company directly by using a number you know to be real or a website bookmark.
Another scam is ransomware. This locks your computer down and demands money to unlock it. To prevent this, always keep your anti-virus software up to date and don’t download files or click on links from unknown senders.
It is not easy to protect yourself against scams. However, it is important that you are aware of the most popular schemes. Never give out personal information over the telephone, never wire money overseas to an unknown company, and always verify who you are dealing with before you agree to anything. It’s best to ignore suspicious calls and to avoid sending or receiving packages without a tracking code. You should also pick up your mail as soon as it’s delivered and don’t let anyone into your home who doesn’t have an appointment.
Don’t click attachments or links
Cybercriminals send billions spam emails every day that contain links to malicious websites or malware that can be installed on your device, or your personal information. Some of these scams appear to be from someone you know and are highly targeted.
Messages sent by your bank, email service provider or social media account should never ask you click on links or download attachments. This is true even if the message claims that your account was compromised. Legitimate customer service representatives will only ever contact you by phone or in person.
By clicking on a link, or opening an attached file, you can install malware that compromises your device’s privacy online and your passwords. Compromised accounts are often the result of phishing attacks where hackers use personal information stolen from data breaches to make emails look legitimate. This information can be gathered from your social media accounts, email, instant message apps, or public records. Check if any of the details you provide on Have I Been Pwned have been compromised.
In some cases, hackers use email addresses and phone numbers from companies that have been hacked or from the contacts list of employees or friends who have been added to company databases. They can send phishing email with a high rate of success. These emails can be sent to your family, colleagues at work or even your neighbours.
The emails are sent using a compromised account, either via email or instant message. They are intended to trick you into clicking malicious links or attachments that will install malware on your device and steal your passwords or personal details. Many of these emails use a combination of text formatting and misspellings to make them look more authentic.
Don’t share your PIN and password
Scammers love your personal information. They will use it to steal money, your identity, and more. This is why it’s important to protect your information and beware of any unsolicited requests via email, text message or phone call.
Scammers find new ways of stealing your money and your information. They’re using WhatsApp to pretend to be family members to convince you to send money or allow them access to your house to install a home security system. They also use new technology, such as voice assistants, to trick you into giving them your passwords and other personal information.
One of the most common scams involves stealing your one-time PIN, which is typically sent as a text message or email. Criminals can then use your PIN to access your account to steal your money or purchase services and equipment in your name.
Avoid this by not responding to any emails with links or downloading any attachments. You should also change your PIN frequently and create strong passwords with letters, numbers, and symbols. Having different secure PIN numbers for your accounts reduces risk so that all of your accounts can’t be immediately accessed should one of them fall into the wrong hands.
Scammers are clever and ruthless, but prevention is key. Keep an eye out for the red flags that scammers look for: requesting personal or financial information from you, claiming to be from your bank or other legitimate companies, asking you to make a payment before confirming the details and making a deadline super urgent. You should also review your bank account transactions and report any suspicious activities to your bank. If you suspect fraud, you can freeze your credit.
Don’t let anyone into your home
Scammers use new methods to steal money from unsuspecting individuals. Be cautious of anyone who contacts your out of the ordinary. If they ask you to click a link or send money, it’s likely a scam.
Also be careful of any calls, texts or emails that claim to be from your bank or other trusted organisations. Remember that email addresses and caller IDs can be spoof to look authentic. It’s best to only use contact methods you know are genuine, such as the organisation’s website or advertised phone number.
A common scam involves criminals pretending to be utility workers and showing at your home in order to upgrade or repair your equipment. They often do this to steal your payment information or gain access to the property. Pick up your mail immediately after it arrives and don’t leave outgoing letters at your door for long periods. Install a video camera so you can see who is calling.