Receiving an email informing you of the death of a relative that you never knew you had is a rite of passage for most people who use the internet. Some people think if you’re gullible enough to think you’re going to inherit millions of dollars from a distant relative who was a Nigerian prince then you deserve to be scammed.
But that’s not quite right. Some cybercrimes are a little more sophisticated than the Nigerian Prince scam and they mostly prey on the vulnerable, making it tough to protect those in the society that need it the most.
In this article, we give you some basic tips to help protect yourself from cyber criminals, read on to find out what they are.
Look for an SSL Certificate
Recent changes to data protection legislation have forced companies with websites to use SSL certificates in order to protect their client’s sensitive personal data. Effectively an SSL certificate encrypts all personal data put in by a customer and safeguards it against theft or accidental loss.
In the left-hand corner of your URL bar, you’ll see a padlock icon if the site has an SSL certificate and you can click on it to get further information. If you’re ever on a site and asked to input your personal data, do not do so if there is no SSL certificate or you see an icon saying ‘site not secured’.
Pay attention to grammar and language
‘Phishing’ emails are one of the most widely used scams on the internet. Essentially these emails masquerade as official emails from reputable companies such as Apple or HMRC and ask you to update your financial details.
There will be an embedded link that takes you to an external site that LOOKS like the official site but isn’t. Once there you’ll input your financial details and the fraudsters will be privy to your finances.
The first tell-tale sign of a scam email is usually the grammar or language used in them. If sentences don’t make sense or commas are all over the place, immediately disregard it as a scam email.
You can also look at the sender’s email address and check it against the company’s official records to be extra sure. If you do end up clicking on the link in the email, a lack of an SSL certificate will be your final warning of the scam.
Cybercriminals don’t just use the internet
One of the most popular cyber scams in the past 18 months makes its initial contact with victims through the telephone. Using the yellow pages or something similar, fraudsters will find out your name, telephone number, and address.
They will then call your landline and purport to be from BT, claiming there is a problem with your internet connection that they are ringing to fix for you. The fraudsters will ask you to access your computer and download a programme that helps to reconnect you to the internet.
What you won’t realize at the time is that the programme allows them remote access to your computer, which includes access to your online banking and sensitive data. Avoiding this is simple, just tell the person on the phone that you will call them back.
Ring the official number for BT and inform them of the attempted scam that you have just received.
Above are just a few tips to help you avoid becoming the victim of cybercrime but remember, you always need to be vigilant. Scams are continuously evolving and fraudsters will use more and more sophisticated methods to get hold of your money. If you’re ever unsure of an email you receive speak to an independent third party for advice.