With so many scams, phishing attempts, and other threats out there on the Internet, it can be difficult to know how to remain secure against them all. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to protect yourself from being scammed or targeted by identity thieves in the digital arena – whether you’re shopping online, entering contests, checking your email, or performing any other common online activity! Here are 5 easy tips shared by Faisal Abidi and Raghib Khan on how to remain secure against scams, spam, and fraud.
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Change your passwords
A phishing scam is an attempt by hackers or cyber criminals to obtain personal information from you, usually via email. Phishing scams often masquerade as coming from a legitimate business or organization. If you receive an email with a link in it that claims to be from your bank—but you are unsure whether it’s real—call your bank directly.
Make your passwords complex
The simplest way to fend off spam, frauds, and scams is by making your passwords as complex as possible. A strong password should be at least eight characters long, with a mix of letters (upper- and lowercase), numbers, and symbols. If you can’t remember it easily, write it down on a piece of paper or store it in a secure password manager like LastPass or 1Password.
Use apps like Norton
By using security apps like Norton Security Premium to protect yourself on your devices against phishing attacks, you can avoid becoming a victim of scams. A phishing attack occurs when hackers send out emails posing as legitimate sources asking for personal information. If a user falls for it and shares their information with them, it can be used for identity theft or fraud.
Be suspicious of attachments
When you get an email that says you’ve won a lottery or inherited money from someone in Nigeria, it pays to be cautious. Cybercriminals are constantly trying new scams, but they generally involve receiving some kind of link or attachment (usually an image file) that installs malicious software on your computer when you click on it. This lets them control your computer remotely so they can use it for all sorts of nefarious purposes—like sending spam emails.
Set up two-factor authentication (2FA)
One of our top tips for securing your accounts is to implement two-factor authentication. If you’re not familiar with 2FA, don’t worry—it simply means that a second step must be completed along with your password in order for you to access your account. This second step is usually a code that’s generated on an app or device of your choosing (such as Google Authenticator). By incorporating 2FA into your online life, you increase both security and convenience.
Use different security layers
Using multiple security layers helps prevent unauthorized access. This means ensuring that you have different passwords for different sites, using a password manager like LastPass or Dashlane, using a VPN for all internet use (or at least when you enter sensitive information), and never reusing passwords. All of these strategies can help minimize your risk of fraud or spam attacks.
Don’t pay with Bitcoin
Bitcoin is a decentralized form of payment that can offer massive levels of anonymity. Unfortunately, that comes with a price. The peer-to-peer system is more susceptible to fraud because there’s no centralized authority handling payments. Furthermore, once you transfer Bitcoin it’s irrevocable—which means if someone swipes your Bitcoins in a hack or scam, you won’t be able to get them back.
Run updates on all devices
New viruses, scams, and other threats are released all of the time. Make sure you’re running updates on all of your devices – especially your computer. Most threats aren’t targeted at a specific platform; they’re universal. If you keep everything up-to-date on one device but not another, you may be vulnerable in some way because of that difference.