Cybercriminals can show considerable ingenuity when it comes to luring money from Internet users. Cybercriminals can use a variety of methods to attack their victims, from disguising themselves as government officials to creating fraudulent sites on the Internet, adapting them to current topics.
Last year, many scammers used the COVID-19 pandemic theme to impersonate health authorities or offer to sell scarce protection products. Today, scammers are trying to make money by taking advantage of users' interest in the topic of the coronavirus vaccine.
How can students protect themselves from cybercriminals? Read this post to get a comprehensive student guide to online scams.
Top 4 Ways to Protect From Online Scams
Safety on the Internet largely depends on us. By applying simple rules we can protect ourselves from fraudulent actions.
Secure Your Accounts
Reliable protection for your email accounts, social networks, and personal accounts on websites that provide various services will help ensure safety on the Internet. Account hacking results in:
- fraudsters' access to your personal information;
- using your identity for any purposes, including illegal – sending spam, malicious software;
- requests for urgent money transfers, etc.
Accounts should be protected by complex passwords to prevent fraudsters from accessing your data, and two-factor access authentication (2FA).
For instance, when you sign up to order essay on an essay writing website, choose a complex and strong password. It should be 10-12 characters in length, including uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters, for example, K2sh5d61e_Th.
But it is difficult to remember such passwords, especially considering that each account has its own password. In order not to keep a large number of passwords in memory, or write them down on paper or keep them in a file, use password managers. Then you will only need to remember one password – from the password manager.
Two-factor access authentication is a double protection technique. Its first frontier is the usual username and password combination, i.e. what is stored on the server. The second one is what only the specific user has access to (most often, the message that comes to your smartphone).
Simply put, it's connecting the account to your phone number. Two-factor authentication should be used for email accounts, social media accounts, and online banking accounts.
Students usually address professional writers for help. So, remember that when you hire the best essay writer on paper service, check your password for reliability. This will allow you to know your information is secure.
Avoid Phishing Sites
In order to get access to your accounts and bank cards, frauds create phishing (fake) sites. That is why one mustn't follow external links to social networks, payment systems, or online stores. Such links can lead you to a site that is trying to collect your personal data and access your accounts.
Install Antivirus Software
Everyone is aware of the existence of malware but is often careless about protecting their computers, smartphones, and tablets. This is mainly because currently operating systems and browsers have built-in protection systems. To some extent, they protect users from viruses and malware, but they do not always cope with the flow of new viruses and malware.
Only regularly updated antivirus software can provide better protection against viruses and malware. A malware infection can result in:
- computer (smartphone, tablet) malfunction;
- loss of information;
- theft of personal data and passwords;
- theft of money from bank cards.
Malware can penetrate devices after users:
- click links;
- open attachments in emails or messages;
- download pirated software;
- use infected removable media;
- visit dubious sites.
It is definitely a scam if your computer, smartphone, or tablet does not work properly and there are messages about:
- blocking the operating system;
- presence of viruses with a proposal to enter your phone number and send an SMS;
- blocking Internet access;
- blocking your social networks.
Check your device for malware using the installed antivirus.
Analyze Any Offers and Information You Receive
If you have securely protected all your accounts and regularly update the anti-virus software you have installed, you should beware of scammers. In recent years, they use various psychological methods to commit unlawful actions on the Internet. Scammers know human psychology well and skillfully use all available information.
Scammers use the following motives:
- concern for loved ones and acquaintances;
- concern for your bank account or bank card;
- desire to win a big prize;
- curiosity, i.e. the desire to get access to some information;
- a need to buy or sell something;
- the desire to help sick children or people affected by natural disasters.
Social networks are a fount of information for fraudsters. When we put information about ourselves on our profiles, we don't think about who can use it. Meanwhile, scammers can easily find out information about relatives, contacts, and hobbies of their potential victims. So, they inspire confidence by knowing about people's personal lives when trying to extort money from them.
In addition, data breaches and selling information often occur. So, fraudsters have databases of different information at their disposal. This allows them to deceive, blackmail, and gain access to money from bank cards and accounts.
Unfortunately, fraud is inextinguishable. It lurks us everywhere on the Internet: in emails, social networks, and on various sites. As the years go by, scammers invent new tricks, but the basic mechanisms of deception do not change.
Only users themselves can make their life in virtual space safe. We hope that the tips and information in this article will be helpful to you.
About the author:
Charlie Bird is a professional journalist with 10+ years of writing experience. She writes on topics he is passionate about, and that, in her opinion, can bring the most value to the reader. Her goal is to educate and offer a helpful piece of advice.