Falling victim to an online scam is one of the scariest things that can happen. There are numerous scams out there today: falling victim to one could mean losing access to your computer until you pay a ransom in bitcoin, having money taken from your bank account, and having other personal details stolen. Older/elderly Internet users are sometimes the most sought after victims as they tend to be less “tech savvy.” Below, we’ll talk about you can unknowingly fall victim to an online scam and what you can do to avoid it:
Fake Social Networking Emails
This is a phishing scheme that involves getting a fake email that looks like one from your social network. For example, it’ll tell you that you have new, important notifications or that somebody is trying to get access to your account. It’ll then tell you that you need to sign in to stop this from happening and verify that you’re the owner of the account. You will be directed to a fake website if you click through, and if you sign in, scammers will hack your real account. Your contacts will get spam messages and you may even be blackmailed with personal information.
Tip: don’t click links on emails from people or companies you don’t recognize. Open the site as you usually do in your web browser or open on your phone.
Being sent an attachment by an associate isn’t that unheard of, which is why being caught out by a hacker is so easy. If a scammer gains access to a contact’s account and then sends an email containing a link, you probably wouldn’t think twice about clicking on it. To figure out what you should do, reach out to that contact directly using a different channel. You can ask them whether they sent it, and what it is.
A Strange Friend Request
A scammer may duplicate an account belonging to a friend and add you on it. Once you confirm, the scammer then has access to personal information that could be used to hack bank accounts. They can find out information to the questions you use to keep accounts safe, such as parent’s names and pet’s names. Never accept friend requests from strangers, and if someone you already know adds you, reach out to make sure they have actually created this account.
Buying Phony Goods Online
Online shopping is so common, especially on sites such as Amazon and eBay. People love a bargain, and this is where they feel they are most likely to get one. However, many items that are sold here are not genuine. In fact, some sellers are even selling counterfeit sex toys — can you imagine? These are dangerous because they aren’t made from body safe material, and they aren’t usually sterile. You can encounter problems with goods made online if you don’t verify their how genuine they are.
Free Wi-Fi Hot Spots
This doesn’t mean you should be scared of every single Wi-Fi hotspot, but there is a chance that criminals can get you this way. They set up an open access Wi-Fi hotspot somewhere like a coffee shop, and they then have access to your computer when you log in. Ensure your phone and laptop don’t automatically join networks to stop this from happening. Always double check Wi-Fi networks with the establishment to make sure they are the right ones before you join.