A fool and his money are soon parted. That’s how the saying goes. Many of us think we’d never fall for a blatant scam, but the reality is quite different. Online frauds are increasing every year, and you’re more likely to fall for a scam than be robbed, mugged, or threatened.
Since that’s the case, it’s time to review the most popular ways in which fraudsters want to take your money online and how to avoid them.
A phishing scam can come from anywhere, which is why it’s the most common one. Most of the time, it’s through email, and it works incredibly well.
Let’s say that one of your work buddies downloaded a virus or got hacked. You’ll receive an email in your inbox where they’re asking you to edit a document. And as soon as you accept the invite, cybercriminals can read your entire inbox. Even though this sounds like science fiction, it’s one of the most popular scams that happened to Google. Yes, Google!
Since most of your banking apps are connected to your email, that’s one thing that gets targeted immediately. The second thing can be your social security number, ID, or passport.
If you’ve been careful and have none of that information available, they’ll go for your social media accounts and hold them for ransom!
Phishing can come through any platform. No, many applications have added an extra step, asking you whether you actually want to follow a link you clicked on. Let that be a reminder of how widespread it is.
Don’t trust anyone that sends you an email out of nowhere. Always triple-check whether the sender is legitimate, and don’t download any attached executable files.Also read: 9 Best Cybersecurity Companies in the World
A few years ago, everyone wanted to try dropshipping as a side hustle. The business sounded incredibly simple. You open up an eCommerce store, and you are the middleman between Amazon, Alibaba, or Aliexpress and customers in your home country. While there’s nothing wrong with an honest business, some people decided to take it a step further.
Cybercriminals started creating online stores for products that were never shipped!
They just stole money through payment processors or used the cards of their clients to make additional purchases.
This worked because they created legitimate social media ads that directed people to a website that looked incredible. However, everything was fake, and people were just scammed for their money.
If you ever find yourself clicking on a store you’ve never visited before, read genuine reviews and ensure that the site is secure.
Anyone that has been through the DotCom bubble can notice the similarities between crypto scams and what happened twenty years ago. History doesn’t repeat itself, but it definitely rhymes!
The crypto world was exciting, cool, and trendy. Everyone wanted to be a part of it, but since it’s a new technology, most people were ignorant of bad actors in space. Since identities are anonymous on the blockchain, it’s easy to fool people with projects that promise the world but leave the investors without their valuable tokens.
Crypto scams range from entire projects to pump-and-dump schemes, rug pulls, or simple phishing hacks. Exchanges and companies got attacked too. The best way to defend yourself is not to sign any suspicious smart contracts, not to send any tokens to unknown addresses, and to keep the keys to your crypto.
Clicking on a bad link doesn’t do much. However, downloading something from a bad link is a whole other story. Most people don’t pay too much attention to what they’re downloading. Those that do know that they should never interact with suspicious executable files. However, hackers have gotten smarter.
Now, they’re hiding malware in PDFs and other documents. LinkedIn scams were relatively common because cybercriminals pretended to be HR reps and fake company members.
The best way to protect yourself from harmful files is to have a combination of an antivirus and a VPN.
Once you get your mouth burned, you’ll blow on cold water. There’s a reason why some sayings are so popular, and that’s because they’re true. If you’ve fallen for one scam, you’ll treat all of your online encounters as potential frauds. Now, there’s both a positive and a negative there. The positive is that you’re aware and cautious. The negative is that you’ve been scammed.
However, a better way to approach this problem is through knowledge. A cybersecurity glossary is an excellent place to start, and you won’t have to endure the hardship of learning on your own skin. Instead, you’ll learn from the mistakes of others.
Last but not least, use the security tools that you have at your disposal. This includes firewalls, VPNs, and antivirus programs!
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