It’s a scary world out there. People, especially around the holidays, find themselves at risk for cybercrime. That’s why it is important to protect yourself from fraud online. We have seen major hacks that have compromised the security of many people and companies alike.
In 2021 alone, we have seen some of the biggest ransomware scams in history, with a pipeline’s back-office compromised and a leading provider of IT services to hundreds of businesses also attacked and ransomed. These hacks are often caused by not following proper safety precautions when using email, social media websites, or other forms of communication.
Tech support scammers want you to believe you have a serious problem with your computer. They often ask for money upfront, claiming it’s needed to fix the issue at hand, but there is no such thing as an honest tech-support scammer. PC Handyman comes across frightened clients who have had scammer experiences at a computer repair company.
A client of ours fell victim to a computer repair scam. She was surfing the web and came across an article that sent her to oblivion. It could have been something you see so much you don’t think it’s an issue, as in these images.
Don’t fall victim and let these unscrupulous individuals take advantage when you are just trying to feel safe online. By clicking on links from email scams or phishing websites that try tricking people into entering their personal information like passwords and bank account numbers onto fake sites designed to obtain sensitive data so hackers can steal everything, you’ve worked hard all your life building up – even if not much!
There are many ways to keep yourself safe from online confidence schemes. Below we discuss 7 steps you can take to protect yourself from fraud, so your personal information stays protected!
Protect Your Identity At All Costs
Protect your identity at all costs. Never give out any personal information online unless you are sure about who it is and where they got the information. Personal information includes anything that can be used to identify someone, such as their name, address, phone number or social security number. If something seems suspicious on a website, ask for more details before going any further.
Shop only at reputable sites
Do not shop at any site that is not reputable. There are many sites out there pretending to be something they’re not in order to steal your information and money. You can tell if the website has a poor layout, spelling mistakes, or delays when loading pages. These are all signs of an untrustworthy site! If you’re not sure about a site, do research before making any purchases.
If you ever have an issue or question with something that was bought from a site online, call customer service so they can help resolve the problem. Remember- if it seems too good to be true, then it is!
Watch Out for Click-Bait
Be aware of clickbait. These are ads or videos that appear to have something important to say, but when you watch them, it’s just a way for the person to get your personal information so they can sell it online!
Install anti-malware software on any device connected to an internet network at home or work. This includes smartphones, computers, TVs, and other appliances that connect.
Keep Passwords Secure
Passwords should be secure. It’s important to have a strong password that can’t be guessed or hacked with brute force. This means using at least 16 characters and letters, numbers, and symbols (like !@#$%^&*). A good way to make sure your passwords are difficult to guess is by including both uppercase and lowercase letters and numbers in the mix!
Do Not Open Links You Don’t Trust
Be careful about what links you click on- especially if they come from an email. Email scams often look like regular emails, but when clicked, it doesn’t take you where you think they will, instead of redirecting you somewhere else without your knowledge or permission. Watch out for these red flags so you.
It may be a royal pain, but changing passwords is one of the most important steps you can take to protect yourself online. Make sure that when changing passwords, they differ from all other passwords and have at least 16 characters in them with letters, numbers, and symbols (like !@#$%^&*). I have a client who protects her passwords from cybercrime by using this formula Favorite Seafood + significant 4-digit year + the site you are on. Also, don’t forget to replace letters with numbers or vice versa. For example Cr@b1978W0RDPR3$$
Use a Password Manager
You could get a password logbook or use a password manager to store all of your passwords in one place. Check out this article for more information on how and why you should use it:
For example, the program LastPass can be downloaded as a software program or an app for your browser. It will generate strong passwords, save them all in one place and help you sign in to websites by typing nothing at all (which protects you from keyloggers.)
LastPass is free to use on any device with either Internet Explorer/Edge, Chrome, Firefox, or Opera browsers. Many other similar programs are available such as Dashlane, which also saves passwords while being easy to use.
2 Step Verification or 2 Factor Authentication
Two-step verification is a process that involves two authentication methods performed one after the other to verify who or what requesting access is. Those authentication methods in this type can be the same. For example, you could enter your password, then get an email that sends a verification code.
2 Factor Authentication 2FA is different. While both involve multiple steps, in 2FA, an individual may use different factors within these categories for identification. For example, someone might authenticate themselves with their password first before having another factor such as a retina scan done second. Two-factor authentication occurs when people are asked to submit something they know (like passwords) along with something they have on them, like security tokens or biometrics).
The internet is dangerous, but you don’t have to be an easy target. Follow these tips and keep your identity safe from online thieves! Computer repair scams come in many flavors and sizes. But it only takes a few minutes of time each day to protect yourself, and it’s worth the peace of mind knowing that your information is being safeguarded.
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