Gone are the days when you could protect yourself by deleting emails from foreign royalty. Today’s online scams are more subtle and you need to be smart about keeping yourself safe online. Here are a few to look out for.
Some scammers try to hit people where they feel safe, where they’re surrounded by family and friends – on social media. Usually, this shows up as an email about notifications, or a warning that someone is trying to login to your account. The simple way to avoid this is to never click on links, but always go directly to the social network page for your messages and to verify your information.
Another common tactic is the random friend request. If you get a request from someone you don’t know, always try to verify who they are and how they found you before you accept.
Free wi-fi is a great thing that many businesses offer, but it’s also a common scammer’s ploy. They set up a wi-fi hotspot that looks legitimate, but once you connect to it, they can access your data. You can protect yourself with a little common sense. First, never do any banking or shopping over public wi-fi. Also, verify the correct name of any public network before joining. Either keep your wi-fi turned off or turn off the ability to join networks automatically.
This is a common way of preying on people’s fears. Out of nowhere, a pop-up window appears saying that your computer is infected and if you click this window, it will download a program to clean it. But it actually downloads malware and possibly viruses, infecting your computer instead. The easiest way to prevent this is to install an ad blocker in your browser, or else just never click on anything in a pop-up window. A good antivirus program, kept up to date, will keep you protected.
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