Thoughts

Are You As Clued Up About Scams As You Could Be?

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Technology is an important part of our lives, but it can also cause issues if you leave your data open to theft. You might think you’re savvy about scams, but as online criminals become more sophisticated in their methods, you could easily find yourself the victim of some serious cybercrime.

Think you’re clued up about online scams? Read the following and make sure that you’re up to speed.

Think harder about your passwords

If you haven’t changed your passwords in forever, or you use the same password for everything, you could be putting your online accounts at risk. A hacker who manages to get into one of your accounts could soon compromise others. Spend time making some changes – it’ll take some time for you to go through your accounts, but it will be worth it.

There are many things you can do to create a strong password. Choose a mixture of numbers and letters, special characters and a mix of upper and lowercase letters. Apple and Android feature password generation functions, which automatically create passwords that are hard to crack, while there are also apps that will help you create and secure your passwords.

Change your passwords regularly to make sure you stay secure.

Be careful about who you share payment details with

It’s all too easy to enter your payment details online, but it’s important to think twice before you do. While your favorite shopping destinations will come with the right security measures, not all are as safe as you might think. If something sounds too good to be true or you’re unsure, it’s better to be safe and not spend.

You should never hand your card details over to people through Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and other similar websites – this could leave you open to theft, fraud and more and cost you a lot of money. Try paying with PayPal and other secure methods to help keep your payments protected.

Remember that scammers can still target you over the phone too. You can avoid costly disasters and fees during phone transactions by proceeding with caution. If you didn’t initiate the call, be wary, as the call might not be legitimate.

Not everyone is who they say they are

Many people fall victim to phishing scams, which are scams that aim to collect data from you, often by posing as other companies. Apple, PayPal and Amazon emails can often pop into your inbox, but they might not be the real deal. Legitimate online stores won’t email you to ask for your payment details, so make sure you learn how to spot a phishing email and keep your details safe.

If you ever have any doubts, sense-check things with a clued-up friend. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and a second pair of eyes ahead of a transaction is worth the time to avoid you losing money unnecessarily.

Check for legitimate websites

One of the newest types of online scams involves criminals cloning websites to look like popular shopping destinations, allowing you to browse and ‘buy’ products when all you’re really doing is handing your card details straight over to them.

You can learn how to recognize a legitimate website to avoid becoming a victim of a cloning scam. If you do accidentally hand your details over to a business that isn’t legitimate, your credit card company will most likely be able to pay your money back under payment protection schemes.

Don’t put yourself in dangerous positions

Online marketplaces and local listings can be a good way to pick up goods and save money on products in your local area. But this can open yourself up to dangerous situations if you’re not careful. Facebook offers some great advice on using Marketplace safely, featuring guidance that can be applied to various other platforms.

If you decide to meet someone in person, make sure you do so in a safe, public place and take someone with you. You should make sure you inspect any items that you’re buying carefully, making sure you’re happy with the quality before you walk away. It’s never worth putting yourself at risk, so avoid any situations where something doesn’t quite add up.

Protecting yourself online is important, and a silly mistake could cost you more than you think. Take basic precautions such as installing virus protection, using a VPN and not sharing your details online. Scammers invent new methods of stealing money and data regularly, so make sure you stay clued up on the latest scams to help you and others avoid them. The internet can be a wonderful thing, but make sure you protect yourself when using it.

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