Digital scammers, spammers, and fraudulent individuals threaten the safety of internet users on a daily basis. To avoid being duped by these conniving criminals, it’s important to know how they operate and how to spot them before they scam you out of your hard-earned money or sensitive personal information. Based on the conversation with Raghib Khan, Co-founder of RNF Technologies; this article will discuss three of the most common types of scammers and give you tips to help you avoid falling victim to their scams in the future.
How online crooks make money Digital scammers, spammers and fraudsters are a threat to internet users. They steal money and information from people through lies and deceit. Digital criminals can be very technical in their approach by using scammer websites or malware. However, some of them can be very simple such as lottery scams that appear genuine but are not real at all. Even email spam can contain malicious links that lead you to phishing sites where crooks harvest your personal information such as login credentials.
How they target their victims A digital scammer might send out thousands of spam emails in hopes that some recipients will click on a link or provide personal information like passwords and credit card numbers. They can then use that information to access bank accounts and other financial resources. A fraudulent website might ask for a user’s credit card number before providing access to free music downloads. Though it may seem harmless, scammers gain access to your bank account after you give them your credit card number.
The danger of social media Social media sites have made communication with other people around the world easier than ever before. Social media apps make it so you don’t even have to leave your house to communicate with people all over. The ease of communication is wonderful, but there is a dark side. Many social media apps are used by scam artists and other fraudulent users who are after one thing: your money.
Avoid making mistakes You can prevent being a victim of digital scammers by avoiding making mistakes. Make sure you don’t open suspicious emails or attachments. If you get an email from someone you don’t know that asks for money, do not respond to it. Even if it is a legitimate request and they send you another email asking for your banking information, do not provide it. If something seems too good to be true online, it probably is.
How do you ensure the security of your critical information on the internet? It can be challenging to know how to act when you’re so used to throwing caution to the wind when surfing online. On the one hand, you want to embrace the internet and all of its risks, but on the other hand, you want to protect yourself from fraudsters, scammers, and spammers who want to take advantage of people like you and me. In a webinar, Faisal Abidi and Raghib Khan, Co-Founders of RNF Technologies, shared some helpful ways to keep yourself secure on the internet.
Change your passwords regularly
Hackers have become so sophisticated that they can probably crack most passwords in seconds. So don’t make their job easy by using easily guessed passwords like your pet’s name or birthday. Instead, create a unique password for each account—even similar ones (such as two email accounts you use). To increase security, change passwords often—at least once every six months. Also: don’t share any of your passwords with anyone else; if you need to share an account with someone, create a unique passcode. It will allow them access without giving up control of your account.
Use different passwords for different accounts
Most of us share a small handful of passwords across multiple online accounts. Unfortunately, this is bad news: if you do end up getting hacked or having your account compromised by a spammer, you’re likely going to have big problems on your hands—and it might be hard to determine where exactly everything went wrong. So never reuse passwords for multiple accounts. Instead, opt for a password manager like LastPass (which even lets you generate super-secure passwords) and unique passwords for every account that requires one.
Don’t give out personal information
The easiest way fraudsters can scam you is by getting your personal information. That includes your credit card number, bank account info, or social security number. So don’t give out personal details in any emails you receive – especially if it involves money! If it seems too good to be true or if there are spelling errors in an email, chances are it’s a scammer trying to steal from you.
Avoid links you can’t verify
Never click on a link unless you can verify its legitimacy. Never share your personal or financial information with anyone until you are sure you know who it is. To avoid phishing scams that trick you into handing over your passwords or other sensitive information, ask companies if they will contact you via email instead of asking for it directly—and make sure it’s actually them sending these messages! A little common sense goes a long way to avoid fraudsters.
Two-factor authentication is a great way to keep yourself extra secure on your accounts. With 2FA enabled on your email, you’ll need your password and a unique code sent via text message to log in. That means if someone does get their hands on your password, they won’t be able to access your account—unless they also have access to your phone.
Report phishing emails
If you’re ever in doubt about an email or get an email that seems out of place, report it. By reporting spam emails, you help others from becoming victims of a phishing scam. To do so, look for a spam button at or near the top of your inbox and push it. This will forward any information found within that message directly to your network provider or provider of choice.
Keep your devices up-to-date
No matter how locked down your passwords are, you’re never completely safe on the web. Scammers often use your data against you by catching out unsuspecting people who aren’t keeping their devices up-to-date. To reduce your risk of online fraud, make sure you install software updates as soon as they’re available; these updates often include critical security patches that help protect against security breaches and malware.
The digital world we live in has grown exponentially in recent years, meaning the chances of becoming a victim of scams, fraud and spam are rising as well. Thankfully, there are some simple steps you can take to minimize your chances of being on the receiving end of one of these terrible experiences. We talked to Faisal Abidi and Raghib Khan, Co-Founders of RNF Technologies to write this helpful guide to learn about how to protect yourself from scams, fraud and spam in the growing digital world.
#1 Shop on sites you know and trust
Online shopping is a great way to save time and money. But all it takes is one malicious website or piece of spam email to put your identity in jeopardy. Before you shop online, research any site you’re considering—and if a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. Make sure that websites are secure before entering personal information like your address or phone number and look for HTTPS in front of any web addresses that show up in your browser bar.
#2 Be aware of pop-ups
We live in a world with more and more pop-ups. When visiting a website that wants to sell you something or sign you up for something, watch out for extra windows or pop-ups that try to get your attention. Usually, these are scams and frauds.
#3 Don’t click on links in emails you don’t recognize
One of the most popular methods for digital fraudsters is to create an email that looks like it’s from your bank, or another business you use regularly. Since we all get these emails frequently and rarely question them, many people don’t think twice about clicking on a link in one. So unless you have any reason to believe an email is real (you know it came from that specific business) or suspect something might be up, always call a number on your own rather than clicking through a hyperlink.
#4 Change your passwords regularly
Changing your passwords regularly is an essential security practice to help protect yourself from fraud and scams. Hackers are getting smarter and more creative by the day. If you’re serious about protecting yourself, do some research on a reputable password manager—the kind that can generate random alphanumeric strings for all of your logins across websites.
#5 Use multi-factor authentication
One of your first lines of defence is multifactor authentication (MFA). This requires a person to present two things—like a password and another one-time code sent via text message—to access an account. Ideally, you want to use both something you know (your password) and something you have (your phone) when signing into important accounts like email or work documents. Many services offer two-factor authentication; Google Authenticator, Apple’s iCloud Keychain and LastPass are all examples.
#6 Monitor your bank accounts
If you don’t want to get hit with overdraft fees or lose track of your money, monitor your accounts online. Most banks and credit unions have mobile apps that enable you to check balances, pay bills and more right from your phone. Make sure you opt for a password-protected app so no one else can log in without your permission.
#7 Investigate text messages with links
If you’re wary of a text message with a link in it, take your time. Try visiting websites by typing in their web address to see if they match up. If you spot any discrepancies, there’s likely something suspicious about them. This simple step can save you from falling for scams and spam—which cost people over $1 billion every year (according to Norton).
#8 Use an ad blocker
Ad blockers are free programs that stop all ads from showing up on your computer. They also keep your computer safe by blocking malicious pages and dangerous scripts that could hack into your computer. Furthermore, ad blockers eliminate most spam e-mails you receive because spam relies on displaying ads to be successful. If you’re trying to avoid fraud and scams while browsing online, it’s a good idea to install an ad blocker on your computer immediately!
#9 Beware of fake news/social media users
Read and thoroughly research before you buy. No matter what social platform you’re on, make sure you read every little detail of anything that might affect your money. Fake news can quickly take advantage of gullible social media users and send them down a rabbit hole of scams. Don’t be one of them! Be wary if something seems too good to be true; it probably is. If something sounds or looks suspicious—especially if it asks for personal information—it’s likely, not legit.
#10 Don’t install apps unless you need them
Of course, it’s easy to get excited about new apps—especially when you think they’ll save you time or money. Before installing a new app or signing up for any service on your smartphone, however, take a few minutes to check out reviews and read through the terms of service. You can also download an anti-virus app to protect yourself from malware and other unwanted files.