Protect yourself before you connect yourself
When it comes to falling victim to scams and fraud online, no one wants to be “that guy.” So take yourself out of the target zone by gaining a better understanding of what scams look like and how they work. Check out these tips to become a step ahead of the fraudster:
- Provide MAX security! Configure your email to filter spam.
- Keep a side-eye glance at unsolicited emails.
- Treat email attachments with extreme caution.
- Beware of links! You’re a smart cookie, think before you click.
- Antivirus software & a personal firewall are your best friends. Always keep them happy and up to date.
- When it comes to social media, take it offline. Never provide your account info to customer service Twitter accounts or chatbots.
- Don’t fill out forms in email messages that ask for personal financial information.
- Don’t trust the email? Don’t touch it. Simple as that.
Protect your info because your identity depends on it.
Seriously question anyone who asks for your personal financial info. There’s a solid chance it’s a scam. Reputable financial institutions will never ask you for account information. Keep your account numbers, passwords and PINs to yourself and your finances will be safe and sound.
In short: don’t write your PIN & passwords down and keep it in your wallet, car or desk.
It’s too good to be true.
Stop and think about whether that unsolicited email promising an all-expenses-paid trip to Disney is legitimate or not. (hint: it’s not.) Even less expensive giveaways (i.e. free iPhones) are likely acts of trickery. One click can expose your computer to hacker programs that can track keystrokes and gain access to your personal information. Avoid financial heartbreak simply by thinking before you click an unknown link or attachment.
In short: keep your antivirus software and firewall protection as up to date as your mom on Facebook.
Sharing isn’t always caring.
People who download files or view streaming content from torrent sites (or similar sites) can actually expose the entire contents of your computer to anyone else who uses the same torrent sites. Which means cyber criminals could have easy access to information such as your bank account numbers, tax returns, password files, birth dates and other personal data.
In short: use caution & hide your IP address with a VPN (Virtual Private Network).
Prepare your computer for cyberbattle.
A hacked computer is a goldmine for someone looking to steal your money, credit and identity.
Your laptop’s portability can also be your identity-protection downfall. When you’re in public, never leave your laptop unattended; all it takes is one, Snapchat-length distraction for a thief to get your expensive hardware and your financial information. And you might not get the chance to chase them down…running is hard.
In short: change your financial passwords regularly and keep your computer login password projected.
Don’t be a sucker.
Let us leave you with one more brief, but important piece of advice: under no circumstance are you the heir to a foreign fortune, a long-lost royal relative or the winner of a lottery you didn’t enter. When fraud is fishing, don’t take the bait.