TAKE FIVE TO STOP FRAUD
Criminals are experts at impersonating people, organisations and the police. They spend hours researching you for their scams, hoping you’ll let your guard down for just a moment. Stop and think. It could protect you and your money.
Fraud committed via links in unexpected emails, posts or texts, or email attachments, is becoming all too commonplace, with millions affected every year. So are phone calls from strangers claiming to be from your bank, your credit card company or the police … but who are actually fraudsters.
It’s call this ‘social engineering’ – which cunningly manipulates you into a position where you can be scammed. The scams range from simple emails to complex multiple phone calls. Whichever the method, they are designed to steal your money or your identity … or both.
1. Clicking without Thinking Is Reckless
Just because you can click, doesn’t mean you should. Remember, it can cost you a hefty sum. Malicious links can do damage in several different ways, so be sure to inspect links and ensure they’re from trusted senders before clicking.
2. Stick to your own devices
Try to limit using another user’s device when possible. Never share your credentials with others, and never give anyone remote access to your computer.
3. Be aware of your surroundings
Keep an eye on your device. Lock it when you step away from your computer. And never leave sensitive or confidential items at your desk, like post-it notes with your password written on them or USB drives.
4. Keep track of your digital footprint
When you monitor your accounts, you can ensure you catch suspicious activity. Can you recall everywhere you have online accounts and what information is stored on them, like credit card numbers for easier payments? It’s important to keep track of your digital footprint, including social media, and to delete accounts you’re not using, while ensuring you set strong passwords (that you change regularly).
5. Keep up with Updates
Software patches can be issued when security flaws are discovered. If you find these software update notifications to be annoying, you’re not alone. But you can consider them the lesser of two evils when weighing up rebooting your device versus putting yourself at risk for malware and other types of computer infection.
6. Connect Securely
Cyber security tips about this have been dished out by nearly every tech expert under the sun, but many still don’t follow this advice. You might be tempted to connect your device to an unsecured connection, but when you weigh the consequences, it’s not worth it. Only connect to private networks when possible, especially when handling sensitive information.
7. Secure Your Mobile Device
Security doesn’t end at your desktop. It’s important to get into the habit of securing your presence through your mobile device as well. Use strong passwords and biometric features, ensure you turn off your Bluetooth and don’t automatically connect to any public Wi-Fi, and download with caution.
8. Beware Social Engineering
When hackers can’t find a security vulnerability, they’ll attack in other ways. Enter social engineering. This type of attack is more of an attack on the mind of the user, rather than on the device, to gain access to systems and information. Especially with the information publicly available online and over social media, cyber criminals come up with creative ways to dupe users.
9. Back Up Your Data
These days, storage doesn’t cost much. There’s no excuse not to have a backup of important data. Back it up on a physical location and on the cloud. Remember, malicious threats and hackers don’t always want to steal your data, but sometimes the end-goal is to encrypt or erase it. Back it up to have an ultimate recovery tool.
10. You’re not immune
The most harmful thought you can have is “it won’t happen to me,” or “I don’t visit unsafe websites.” Cyber criminals don’t discriminate in targeting all sorts of users. Be proactive. Not all mistakes can be undone with “ctrl + Z”.