Stay one step ahead of cybercriminals with this handy online safety guide.
As the internet grew over the years, so have the many scams that tech-savvy crooks use to steal your information. Learn the top 5 most common cyber scams and how to spot them before they trick you with one click on a shady link.
WHAT IS IT? – Phishing is a scam where victims receive fake emails or texts supposedly from banks, companies, or people they know. The message contains a link that once clicked gives the scammer access to the victim’s IP address, passwords, and accounts linked to their email.
HOW TO DETECT & AVOID – Check for incorrect letters in the sender’s name and if it’s not from a verified company account. Never click links without reading the message first. Block the sender and alert the real company or person of the identity theft.
WHAT IS IT? – Romance scams use emotional manipulation to steal money from victims. Scammers use stolen photos on dating sites to build trust and quickly ask for money without providing proof of their identity.
HOW TO DETECT & AVOID – Red flags everywhere? Check for video chat excuses, reverse image search their pictures, and verify their identity before sending any money. If they ask for money, you must block and report them immediately.
ONLINE SHOPPING SCAMS
WHAT IS IT? – Online shopping scams start with scammers contacting their victims and claiming to sell luxury brands at a low price in third-party stores. Once the victim buys a product on the website with their credit card, they do not receive any more updates about the product they “bought”.
HOW TO DETECT & AVOID – Not all discounts are legit. Search for verified customer reviews and never give your credit card details, especially if the payment method is not secure. Make sure the website URL is secured by seeing if the website starts with “https” and not just “http”.
FREE ITEMS SCAMS
WHAT IS IT? – If you see an ad online claiming you won the latest gadgets, don’t fall for it. Scammers may ask for your address and credit card info to claim your “prize”, but once you give it, they’ll take control of your bank account.
HOW TO DETECT & AVOID – If it’s too good to be true, it most definitely isn’t. Do not click on these suspicious ads as they not only make you give your information away but also put viruses into your device.
ACCOUNT FAILURE SCAMS
WHAT IS IT? – Similar to phishing, scammers send their victims an email claiming that their online accounts have been compromised. They then demand credit card details to “fix” this problem. Even the streaming giant Netflix has experienced this, leading many users to unknowingly give their information to scammers.
HOW TO DETECT & AVOID – Do not fill out any form asking for your credit card details or other vital information. Contact the actual website or company where this account is connected and ask if this is a legitimate issue. Provide screenshots showing the suspicious emails and block the sender once proven to be false.
The best way to stay safe online is to know the red flags and how to keep your information safe. However, the number of security programs available online can feel overwhelming. Microgenesis offers various cybersecurity programs and services that will keep hackers, scammers, and viruses at bay.