If you consider yourself an expert in cybersecurity - or even if you’re somewhat knowledgeable about how to protect yourself online, you probably won’t fall for the standard Nigerian prince email scam. Enter your bank account information below, and we’ll send you a whole bunch of money. Those kinds of tricks are old news, and most people have enough knowledge to stay away from those kinds of attacks.
What about the more advanced methods of hacking into your computer and compromising your private information. Every day we become more vulnerable to these threats, and cybersecurity experts only expect it to get worse. It’s important to be fully aware of all the dangerous risks that exist online.
In this article, I’m covering some of the more unique threats that can surprise even the savviest techies.
Bank Loan Scams
You might be saying - I would never get tricked by something as simple as a bank scam. Hackers are getting more creative though with their attack and it's becoming more difficult to identify a real opportunity from a full-blown scam.
You might receive an email saying you’re pre-approved for a sum of money then you follow the process and put in your information. They send you a fake report about why you were pre-approved and what the metrics are. You then pay a variety of processing fees to receive your loan, and that's how they get you.
Online Dating Scams
No matter how much you know about online scams, it's very easy to become swept up in a potential romance and forget everything you know. With the popularity of social media, it is effortless for anyone to find out information about you and make a connection.
Online dating apps might be a great way to meet new people and potentially lifelong partners, but there are also precautions to take so you do not fall victim to dangerous people.
Men from West Africa and women from Eastern Europe are always creating fake profiles with the intention of sucking money out of helpless people looking for love online. It's vital that you know how to protect yourself and pay attention to the “red flags.”
- No one should ever ask you for money.
- Take your time before agreeing to meet with someone.
- Make sure they have a full profile with lots of pictures of them with other people.
- Don’t just interact through messages, call and video chat with the person as well.
- Online dating scams can be more dangerous than losing some files or money. It can turn ugly if you go to meet with someone who has intentions to harm you.
I’m sure you have seen the pop-up before that says “344 threats detected. Download VirusX right now or risk losing documents!”
These pop-ups get made with the intention of looking like a windows update or Norton antivirus for example.
Most of the time, these pop-ups mean nothing and if you clear them away, you will be fine. Sometimes though attached to these windows can be dangerous spyware or ransomware. These threats can block off your entire computer system and request that you pay a ransom to receive the key to your data.
This is why it's incredibly important to have the proper virus protection at all times and keep everything up to date. When you receive a pop-up like that - you can run a virus scan, so your legitimate software can notify you of any real issues with your computer.
With just about every business offering public Wi-Fi these days, we often connect to the nearest network without a second though. Unfortunately, a vast majority of these Wi-Fi hotspots are unsecured and highly susceptible to being intercepted.
With the ever-increasing number of people using these networks to make online payments or access sensitive data such as their online banking, it has become a prime target for hackers to steal private data and commit identity fraud.
If you find yourself often relying on public Wi-Fi to go about your daily tasks then you should strongly consider investing in a cheap VPN to secure your private data. This will help encrypt your data and ensure it can’t be used with your authorization.
Get Rich Schemes
Just like with dating - no amount of technological know-how can protect you from your dream of becoming an overnight millionaire. These scams are everywhere - especially if you are on social media. People are always sending out messages and requests for you to join their program, training sessions, live chat, group call, strategy class, etc.
These scams always have buy-in, and they promise ridiculous returns fast. They require you to pay $100 to gain access to the training and all the training does teach you how to ask other people for $100. This is not a business model and is illegal.
Fake Shopping Sites
We live in a world that's always in a rush. Even when doing enjoyable things like shopping we are in a hurry to get through it, so we don’t still pay attention to every detail.
Hackers are becoming savvy enough to redirect you away from a popular shopping website and send you to a fake site to purchase the same product. Shown above is an example of a fake Amazon payment site. It looks similar to the original site, so it would be hard to distinguish the difference.
For example, you may think you’re going to Timberland.com to purchase a pair of hiking boots - when you are at an utterly fake site entering your payment info and will never receive your boots. Here are a few ways to spot a fake site:
Substantial discounts - If you're receiving ridiculous discounts on things to the point where it is suspicious, I will consider calling before purchasing.
Clunky website design for a large brand - For a large company like Timberland, you know their website is going to operate correctly. If it just doesn’t look right and the images are of poor quality - that could be a red flag.
A slight variation to the domain name - Pay close attention to the domain name. If you are searching for Timberland boots, the website would be Timberland.com. A slight difference like Timberlland.com could sneak right by you quickly if you aren’t careful.
PixelPrivacy.com is all about making the world of online security accessible to everyone. We pride ourself in writing guides that we’re certain even our own mothers could understand! Be sure to head over to our blog if you’re interested in keeping your private information just that: Private!
Latest posts by BillHess
- Everyday Threats That Can Fool Even The Savviest Of Techies - May 25, 2018