How to Prevent Scammers from Stealing Your Information
Identifying scams can be tricky. Most consumers provide crucial data to hackers without realizing they are being scammed. Many cybercriminals pretend to be government officials or charities. They ask for important information or donations from their targets.
Large businesses have the resources to protect their IT infrastructure from hackers. Service providers like Cox Cable invest in modern technology to upgrade their networks. However, the same cannot be said for individual users. Therefore, it is important to stay up to date with the latest trends in information security.
That said, here’s how you can identify scams online:
Verify the Email Address or Phone Number
You might have received phone calls or text messages from “official” numbers or emails. Most computer criminals pretend to be health officials or security officials. They are in fact hackers who try to lure the public into giving crucial information. The subject of the conversation typically revolves around confirmation or callbacks. Hackers mask their IDs using sophisticated tools. This makes it difficult for people to ascertain their identity.
It is advisable to verify the contact info whenever you receive suspicious texts or calls. You can block unwanted texts or calls from suspicious caller IDs. Moreover, you can contact your local health authorities and provide them details about the caller. Avoid answering calls or replying to texts from unknown numbers. Legitimate organizations won’t ever ask you for your personal information via calls and texts.
Do No Fall for Prize or Lottery Claims
Prize scams are the most types of cybercrimes. Hackers often contact people with lottery or prize claims. You might be asked to pay some fee to “avail the prize”. I recently came across a scam on Women’s Day. Someone or something pretending to be KFC had been virtually distributing meal boxes. But to win the offer, people had to share the link in their WhatsApp group. KFC later issued a statement asking people not to fall for the scam.
Moreover, some hackers might ask you to remove a virus from your computer. Others might try to scare or pressurize you by saying that you owe them money. These are all tactics to fool the masses into giving their confidential information. It is advisable to stay vigilant against such calls and texts. Contact the authorities immediately if you feel the need be.
Resist the Pressure to Act Immediately
It is important to maintain your composure during tense situations. Scammers might try to persuade you into doing something irrational. Some might say that your family is in an emergency. Others might threaten to come after you unless you give them what they need. Whenever you find yourself in such a situation, relax and hang up the phone immediately. Block the number and provide the details to the authorities.
Report Phishing Emails & Unsolicited Texts
Scammers often use phishing emails to target individuals and businesses. Such emails come with fake links and fraudulent images and texts. You might have received emails from some prince in Nigeria or a so-called Afghan war veteran. Do not reply to such emails and unsolicited texts.
All these emails share the same subject, that is, money transfer. They ask you to maintain confidentiality and initiate a channel of correspondence. The BBC’s “Famalam” show has provided a brilliant satirical take on these email scams. You can check it out on their YouTube channel for some laughs.
Be Careful of How Hackers Ask You to Pay
Scammers might ask you to pay via online transfers, gifts cards, or checks. Some computer criminals might send you a check and ask you to deposit it on their behalf. Do not fall for any of these tricks. People often become victims of these scams since they believe they’ll receive money in return for paying checks or transferring some funds. Legitimate organizations won’t ever ask you to pay for something via call or text.
Protect Your Devices & Accounts with Strong Passwords
Do not leave your smartphones or other devices visible to prying eyes. Follow all privacy and security instructions of your email and social media service providers. Use a unique combination of letters, numbers, and alphabets as your passwords. Moreover, do not use the same password for your social media or computer accounts.
Stay Vigilant, Stay Safe.