This post will show you how to protect yourself from online fraud. Also, I will reveal 6 effective tips for staying safe on the internet.
Recently, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) rolled out its 2020 Internet Crime Report. To say that the said report boasted several alarming findings would be an understatement:
For starters, it concluded that 2020 happened to be a record year in terms of internet fraud. The total losses amounted to a whopping $4.2 billion.
With the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc worldwide, online scammers found an opportunity to target both individuals and businesses. From pretending as representatives of COVID-19 Aid Programs to those of Economic Security ones, scammers were able to obtain a lot of people’s hard-earned money last year.
With the pandemic showing no signs of going away anytime soon, cybercriminals are working 24/7 to overcome advanced security challenges. Now is the right time you learn the art of keeping yourself safe from online fraud.
But first, you need to understand what online fraud is:
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Online Fraud: What You Need to Know
Today, it’s not hard to find a guide that walks you through the essential cybersecurity tips for businesses or individuals. However, what caused people to start writing these guides? That’s correct; the surge in internet crimes did.
Online fraud or Internet fraud refers to the act of utilizing Internet services to either steal money from victims straight away or trick them into paying a handsome amount in exchange for a non-existent or lackluster product/service.
Over the years, fraudsters have come up with various ways to deceive people online.
Some of these ways are mentioned below:
- eCommerce fraud cases have only increased with time. This method involves the victim purchasing stuff from an online store which they never receive. Moreover, no refund or apt assistance is provided to the “customer.”
- Scammers have also mastered the art of convincing people to hand over their credit or debit card information to them.
- After all these years, phishing or spoofing is still considered an effective way of hacking someone. For those of you unaware, this act involves a fraudster creating a fake login page (that appears to be associated with a credible website) to trick their victim(s) into sharing personal data such as passwords, security numbers, etc.
- And, of course, data breaches are still here. A breach occurs in light of an unwarranted leakage of confidential information.
6 Effective Tips that Help You Protect Yourself from Online Fraud
Now that you have read how common cyber crimes have become in the present day and age and how scammers can use different methods to steal people’s money and identity, it’s essential to learn how to foil the fraudsters’ schemes.
Therefore, we’ve compiled a list of 6 effective tips that would come in handy in protecting you from online fraud:
1. Acknowledge the Existence of Online Scams
The first step in dodging online fraud is accepting the fact that it does exist. How many times have you received a text or mail claiming that you have won a certain amount of money in a lucky draw and that you will have to click on a “link” to proceed? That’s right, many times.
When someone you haven’t heard of approaches you with a life-changing offer, there’s a high chance that a scammer has set you as their target.
In such cases, do not just follow the instructions provided by the potential scammer. Instead, hit the internet and look up the individual who contacted you or the business they claim to represent. Match the contact details and gauge the legitimacy of the offer sent your way.
2. Improve the Strength of Your Passwords
Yes, there are examples of people getting their accounts hacked due to setting weak passwords, such as their DOBs. Whether it’s your official PayPal account or a social media page, protect everything with a strong password.
Ensure that the password you choose is over eight characters long and contains uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
Additionally, never protect two or more accounts with the same password. Always use a different password for every website you have registered an account on.
3. Stay Alert of Phishing Attacks
As discussed above, phishing scams are pretty prominent in this day and age. Hackers take their time to craft login pages that look exactly like those of legitimate websites. When you enter your email id and password in the appropriate fields on such pages, the hacker receives this confidential data.
To avoid falling into this trap, simply avoid clicking on any links or attachments sent by unknown people/businesses or rather use click fraud prevention software. Also, never open mysterious pop-up windows. That way, you can protect yourself from online fraud.
4. Secure Your Gadgets and Internet Connection
Whether you are using a desktop, laptop, or smartphone, you are never safe from online fraud. Therefore, keep your gadgets secure from cyber threats by protecting them with credible security software. Additionally, enable automatic updates, so your security programs always remain equipped with the latest features and fixes.
It’s important to note that security concerns don’t end with your gadgets. You also have to keep your internet connection safe from different threats. You can do so by putting its accessibility behind a strong password.
Moreover, while using public Wi-Fi, make sure not to transmit critical and confidential information over it.
5. Rely on Encrypted Websites
A website that starts with “HTTPS” as opposed to “HTTP” is encrypted. In most cases, encrypted website URLs are accompanied by a lock icon. Even though not every encrypted site is safe to surf, such sites offer more security than their non-encrypted counterparts.
6. Enable Two-Factor Authentication
While a strong password does a good job of keeping your account safe, an extra layer of security never hurts. Moreover, fraudsters have devised tons of creative ways over the years to steal your passwords.
This is where two-factor authentication strives to help you. The said security feature requires you to provide two authentication variables, i.e., a password and an access code that you receive via text.
So, those are the 6 effective ways to protect yourself from online fraud.
While IT experts have been doing a phenomenal job of offering unbeatable security solutions to individuals and businesses, cybercriminals aren’t resting either. In fact, they have been putting in equal efforts to break into heavily-protected systems.
We are confident that the above-mentioned cybersecurity tips will help in protecting you from online fraud.
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