Guide to Online Safety: Scams, Fraud Prevention & Phishing
Internet is a blessing. There is no doubt about that. This invention has made human lives much easier. People rely on the internet to do their different tasks. For instance, someone can use the internet to connect with their loved ones while others may use it to pay their Optimum bills. However, as more and more people are using the internet, the number of cybercriminals is increasing rapidly. Hackers are now using more sophisticated ways to access your data and identity.
Cybercrime has become a normal occurrence. In fact, the University of Maryland conducted a study and found out that cybercrime is committed after every 39 seconds in the United States alone. Considering this, one must be tread carefully on the web in order to remain secure.
The Risks of Cyberattack
Anyone can fall for cyberattacks. However, the research has shown that young adults in their early 20s are the most vulnerable to online attacks. This is because the younger generation is more dependent on technology. The second most susceptible group is the elderly. This demographic tends to lose a lot of money from scams and fraud.
A cyberattack can yield a lot of different risks. Some of them are as follows:
- Identify theft
- Theft of sensitive data & funds
- Loss of intellectual property & passwords
- Unauthorized transactions
Many organizations have started to focus on cybersecurity. And it’s about time that they are taking proactive steps to protect their customers. After all, a cyberattack will only have devastating effects on their reputation as a business.
One of the favorite ways for hackers to attack their victims is through phishing. This is a tactic where a hacker will pose to be from a trustworthy source. They will then ask for your sensitive information. And if you provide them with all the details they need, they will steal from you! To lure you, they might send you an email, run an ad, or may take you to a website where they will request your personal information such as your social security number, bank account information, and passwords. But you have to be smart here. Don’t fall for this trap, or it could not end well for you.
3 Types of Phishing
Now that you are familiar with what phishing is, let’s have a look at its four types:
#1. Email Phishing
This is when a malicious user will send their victims an email while disguised as someone from a trustworthy source. If you are employed, then you may receive an email from where you work or a familiar company asking you to update your personal information. You can also receive a message stating that your password has been compromised, and to resolve the issue, they can ask you to click on a link or call a number. These are just a few examples of email phishing. Just don’t click on any link if you are not sure about the source of the email.
#2. Spear Phishing
Spear Phishing is a type of phishing that is targeted towards a specific person. This type of phishing is quite difficult to spot as the content of the email is personalized and is directed towards a person of interest. The email is carefully composed so that you can click on a link without any hesitation or download a file without thinking twice.
Also known as voice fishing, this type of phishing happens with the help of phone calls. So, if you have ever received a call or a voice message asking you to update your insurance information or you are in trouble with the government, then know that a scammer is on the other end of the call. Hence, just avoid it and hang up the call.
A scam is a scheme that is carefully thought of to steal money from an unsuspecting individual. The internet is occupied with different scams. Therefore, it is important to be extra careful on the web. Also, young adults should be made aware of different types of scams. And internet safety for kids should be stressed upon so they can remain safe on the web.
3 Types of Scams
Let’s now have a look at different types of scams:
#1. Tax or Investment Scams
It’s probably one of the most common kinds of scams. So, what happens in this scheme? Well, a scammer will impersonate to be someone from the local tax authority and will request you to tell them about all the details of your finances. Also, they may claim that you haven’t paid taxes or have made a mistake on your taxes and will have to face serious penalties if they don’t cooperate.
#2. Dating Scams
This is another type of scam where a cybercriminal will create a fake profile on a dating app and will try to enter into a virtual relationship with you. And when they are successful, they will start to ask you for money by coming up with fake scenarios such as family problems or illness.
#3. Lottery & Competition Scams
If you receive a call or a message that you have won a competition or a lottery, then there are a few ways that can help you determine if it is a scam or not. First of all, if you didn’t enter a competition or a lottery, then you can obviously not win anything, and it’s clearly a scam. Then, if you are asked to pay a fee or tax upfront before receiving your winnings, then this is a scam.
Fraud is a general term where scams normally fall under. And while scams are related to money, fraud includes different kinds of deception.
3 Types of Fraud
Let’s have a look at the three main types of frauds that cybercriminals usually do:
#1. Internet Fraud
This is a general term for any kind of fraud that occurs online. This can include viruses, data breaches and phishing.
#2. Banking Fraud
This happens when an investor is asked to pay a fee upfront before finalizing the deal. The fee can be framed in many ways. However, one thing is for sure; you are never going to see that money again.
#3. Elder Fraud
Any fraud that is directed towards elderly people. It’s easy to target elders because they are the most vulnerable to online threats. The reason is that they are not technologically versed. Therefore, they can easily fall into traps and usually have more money to give away.
The internet has transformed the world. People are now more connected because of it. However, no matter how many perks the internet has to offer, you must remember that this tech has a dark side to it as well. There are many malicious users on the web who will not miss any opportunity to target their innocent victims. They will use various ways such as the ones mentioned above to steal your private information. Hence, you should use a VPN or take other precautionary measures to make sure that you remain secure online.
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