How to Protect Yourself Against Cybercrime
The number of cybercrimes continues to increase day by day. This can sometimes make it hard for you to completely protect yourself from these threats. But the more you know about these scams, the better chance you’ll have at identifying and avoiding them.
What is a cybercrime?
Cybercriminals aim to exploit your information for their own personal gain, causing harm to financial stability and exposing secure information. Cybercrimes are those criminal activities where a computer or the internet is used as a tool for fraudulent claims, to gain personal or business information, or to infect networks and devices.
*First Bank will always take the appropriate measures to keep your personal information safe.
In this article, we have outlined some common cyber scams, so that you can understand what to look out for. Some common scams/fraud includes:
- Phishing Email Scams
Perhaps the most common type of scam is phishing, usually done via email and designed to look like they are coming from someone at your company, someone you know, or a notable figure.
Because these emails look like they can come from anyone, it is easy to be caught in this form of scam. It may be hard to fully protect yourself from them, but it is always best to double check who is requesting your information.
- Payroll Scams
In Protecting Against Fraud from Nacha, a payroll scam is when, “fraudsters target individual employees by directing the employees to update or confirm their payroll information via a fake payroll platform that spoofs their employer’s actual payroll platform. In some cases, the fraudster may claim the employee must do one of these: view a confidential email from human resources or the payroll department, view changes to the employee’s account, or confirm that the account should not be deleted.”
Cybercriminals will use the stolen credentials to change payment information within the business’s payment platform. This type of scam can be extremely dangerous to an individual and a company because it exposes both user and business information.
- Romance Scams
According to fbi.gov, romance scams, or online dating scams, “occur when a criminal adopts a fake online identity to gain a victim’s affection and trust. The scammer then uses the illusion of a romantic or close relationship to manipulate and/or steal from the victim… The scammer’s intention is to establish a relationship as quickly as possible, endear [themselves] to the victim, and gain trust. Scammers may propose marriage and make plans to meet in person, but that will never happen. Eventually, they will ask for money.”
Always be careful when meeting people online because it may result in the above or have the potential to put you in other immediate danger. “If someone you meet online needs your bank account information to deposit money, they are most likely using your account to carry out other theft and fraud schemes.”
- Free Money or Debt Collection
Free money scams are when a fraudster leads someone to believe that they have won or qualify for free money. With these types of scams, they will try to look official and convincing, but if you receive notifications that sound too good to be true, be hesitant.
With debt collection scams, scammers will try to pose as real debt collectors attempting to intimidate others in to paying off their “debt”.
In both of these types, scammers may urge you to give them information such as your Social Security number or bank account number to act instantly. One sign that these scams are fake is that if you won, qualify, or owe money, then the person contacting you should already have certain information they may ask you for. These fraudsters may also say that before you can obtain your free funds you must pay a small fee, or for debt collection you must pay immediately to avoid consequences such as jail time.
- Wire Transfer Scams
Wire transfers can be an easy and convenient way to send money to other people or between businesses, but it can also pose a threat if a fraudster is attempting to get someone to wire funds incorrectly in order for them to gain access to bank information.
This type of fraud has become a significant threat because without proper face-to-face verification, it is possible for cybercriminals to trick others into making a transaction or making them believe wiring funds are necessary.
It is good practice never to wire money to someone you don’t know or haven’t met, someone who says they work for the government, anyone who pressures you to pay immediately, or says it is the only way that you can pay for something. You should also never initiate urgent wire requests that come via email, or any emailed requests, without talking to someone from a number you know or have looked up (not the one provided in the request).
Take a Breath and Double Check
Now that you know of some common ways fraudsters may try to get your information, here are a few tips to help protect you from them.
- Double check the sender. Make sure that the sender is a real person or someone that you know. Even then, you can call to make sure they are the ones requesting the information.
- Don’t click on attachments from unknown people. If an attachment seems fishy, don’t open it. This may lead to viruses or scammers accessing your information.
- Be hesitant if it sounds too good to be true. You may be excited, but always take a moment to consider all options and ask yourself if what they are saying can be real. As an additional measure, ask them for their information such as, name, company name, company address, and any other information that could verify them or their business.
- Resist the urge to respond immediately. These scams may be scary, but if you get a communication saying that something will happen if you don’t act on it right away, take a deep breath and contact the company directly.
- Send money to people you trust. Don’t send money to anyone who urges you or anyone you have only communicated with online or by phone.
- Do your research. Take some time to research the company’s information and contact them to verify a scammer’s claims.
- Keep your personal details secure. If you need to keep your passwords and/or pins, keep them in a safe place. Be care on how much information you share online.
Keep Your Eyes Open
Scammers can be tricky, so always look for the warning signs. If you think you have been a victim to a scam, change your passwords, call your services providers, and bank to notify them of the potential threat.
Want more information to keep you safe in the cyber world? Check out these handy resources:
Learn How to Be A Phishing Attack Detective
Lock It Up: Protect Your Login Info
5 Tips for Safely Managing Your Finances Online
7 Tips to Help You Protect Your Identity