How to Spot and Avoid Online Scams?

As the pandemic continues to disrupt our lifestyle, we also find new ways to get on with our daily activities. After almost two years in lockdown, the online realm has become our new entertainment, social, and financial space. Now, we are more versed in online bills payment, banking, and shopping because they are the safest options for our health.

However, with the rise of digitalization comes the rise of online scams that take advantage of digital newbies. They can range from email identity phishing to fraudulent bank pages. Sure, online transactions keep us safe from the virus, but they make us vulnerable to scams.

To keep yourself protected from fraudulent online transactions, below are the few things that you need to remember:

Do not discount yourself from being targeted by scams.

For the first quarter of 2021, a Global Consumer Pulse study reveals that 44% of Filipinos have been targeted by online scams. The same study shows that the majority of the target population were Gen Zs, followed by Millennials, comprising 90% of the total digital fraud attacks.

At the height of the lockdown in the Philippines, phishing was recorded as the top cybercrime committed in the country. Phishing may sound like an unfamiliar term, but the experience might be familiar to you. Have you received a text or an email asking for your personal details, log-in credentials, or card numbers? That is the most common example of phishing. 

As we grow digitally, phishing methods have also transformed. Now, they may come in links that compromise your phone or computer’s data with just one tap or click. But not only individuals are in danger of digital attacks. Even enterprises can also be victims of fraudulent transactions and data breaches. 

Next to phishing, other methods of digital attacks come in the form of internet selling schemes and spreading false information. As digital attacks now come in many forms, it is getting harder to avoid them.

The best way to identify an online attack, whether it is via email, social media platforms, or ads, is to ground them to reality. Do they sound too good to be true? Are they promising something unrealistic? If you encounter anything along these lines, it is best to avoid them.

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Learn who you are doing business with.

In every online transaction that you do, make a background check to know the credibility of the person you are dealing with. Make extra precautions if you are dealing with somebody for the first time on the internet. If you are still uncertain after doing a check, it is best to postpone that transaction for now.

If you receive photos, you can go to the web and do a reverse picture search to find people who have made previous transactions with that person online. On the chance that a spammy-looking message or email comes from someone you know, contact that person to alert or verify.

These days, people involved in scams create profiles mimicking your friends or other close family members. Their modus is to get as much information as possible and make you share sensitive information such as birthdays, addresses. As much as possible, avoid sharing this information online as it can be used to access bank accounts and other financial services.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Keep your personal details secured.

Did you know that your data on paper can also be used against you online? Your details from your letters, bills, and receipts may contain information that compromises your online security. With the rise of online shopping in the country, parcel scams are also on the rise.

The best way to tell if your data has been shared against your will is when you start receiving spammy messages. They can range from promotions to emergency messages impersonating your friend or family member. 

To avoid these, make sure you erase any personal details from packages or papers before throwing them out. Alternatively, you may also shred them before throwing them out, so they are no longer readable.

Keep your cell phones and personal computers secure.

Are you fond of listing down sensitive information on your phone and computers, like card details and passwords? They may not be as secure as you think. 

For important notes, make sure you add another layer of security like passcodes. For your social media accounts, you can set up two-factor authentication methods using a third-party app or through text message. 

Two-factor authentication reports suspicious log-ins to your connected accounts and asks for your verification before granting access. It works like the one-time passwords (OTPs) banks send when you log into their mobile apps.

You should also avoid using the same passwords for multiple accounts. Compromising this can mean endangering the safety of all your online accounts. Avoid using your birth date as your password, as these are combinations that are easy to guess.

Some phones now come with built-in password protection. Aside from keeping a protected list of your passwords, they can also suggest new passwords for each new account you create.

To better protect yourself, below are the important things to remember when picking a password:

  • Do not pick a password that can be easily guessed, like your cellphone number, date of birth, anniversary date, and the likes.
  • As much as possible, do not keep a copy of your passwords in your home. If you do, make sure they are also protected by a passcode.
  • Do not share your password with anyone. No matter the intention, the best way you can protect yourself digitally is by limiting who has access to your accounts.
  • Do not forget to change your password every once in a while 

Check your social media protection and security settings.

Every time you create an account on social media, you effectively agree to the terms and conditions of that website or app. Most of us are probably guilty of not reading those terms and what we are agreeing to. Luckily, you can still change your privacy settings on most of these social media sites.

Maximize your privacy settings on your social media accounts to limit who can send messages to you, see your profile, or connect with you. This way, you avoid unwanted interaction and attacks from strangers.

Be constantly vigilant.

Yes, transacting online keeps us safe from the virus. But the online world has its own set of threats. To protect yourself from potential digital attacks, transact only on sites and apps that you trust. If you are unsure, it is best to check reviews or seek the help of someone more well-versed with the digital world.

Did you know that you can also protect your home with a passcode? Learn more about smart homes and other ways to keep your home protected by checking out Camella’s house and lot for sale offerings.

Published by thewinningmentality

The Winning Mentality is a blog site that motivates and educates the audience to be successful in life.

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