Unfortunately, you cannot afford not to take your online safety seriously. Scammers and fraudsters want to get hold of your data, your money, and your identity. Ultimately, many of them are aiming to empty your bank account. However, some want to clone your details for even more nefarious reasons like identity fraud or terrorist activities. You genuinely cannot be careful enough. The internet is a fantastic place, but you must be on your guard to avoid the tricksters.
Software and system developers are aware of the latest scams and always try to stay one step ahead to keep their users safe. They are constantly updating their programs with patches and extra levels of security. The thing that you have to do is to make sure that you download and install the updates. If you are still running your laptop or mobile on an older operating system version, you are leaving yourself wide open to fraud. You can set your device to stay updated automatically, and you will be notified that the update will happen at a specified time. Do not click on random links from unknown numbers or email addresses claiming to contain updates. This is not how they are communicated
Use Your Common Sense
The best tool that you have to avoid scammers is your common sense and brain. Fraudsters rely on making you feel vulnerable or scared. Various hoaxes are going around, including automated calls allegedly from the IRS. This is not how a Government Department would contact you, and they would never demand immediate payment. If you ever receive a call like this, the advice is
- Record the number and then hang up the phone immediately.
- Report the call to TIGTA using their IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting form or by calling 800-366-4484.
- Report the number to [email protected] , and be sure to put “IRS Phone Scam” in the subject line.
Similar advice holds true for any phone, text, or email you receive. Do not click on any links or give your details to a cold caller.
Use Your Web Browser
If you get any form of message asking you for payment or telling you to change your password, do not just click through on a link. Instead, stop and check what you are doing. Then, go online and search the message you have received. If it is a hoax, someone will almost certainly have already reported it, so that you do not need to be caught out.
Always check the web address of any site you are visiting. Companies that are serious about their customers’ safety will always host their sites on secure servers. So check that the address is HTTPS and not just HTTP. The S is for SECURE.
Features in the app or website
Many platforms now have additional safety measures built into them to keep their users safe. A platform like eBay, for example, advises users to transact through its platform so that their guarantee covers the purchase. A seller might try to persuade you to complete the purchase by bank transfer, but you will have no comeback if things go wrong.
Responsible online gambling platforms go one step further. They not only aim to safeguard their customers’ financial information but also protect the user from potential gambling harms. Various tools are used to protect the player and ensure they are running safe online casinos, including daily deposit and wagering limits.
Protect Your Passwords
This advice has been around forever, yet most of us find creating unique passwords that are not easy to guess very difficult. It is human nature to try and have something memorable so that we are not constantly locked out of our favorite accounts. This is where AI tools can be useful. Plenty of extensions and apps will generate passwords and prompt you to remember them and then sync them across your various devices. You can use something like LastPass, regarded as one of the best password managers available, or use the Google or Apple password generators when prompted. Do not just keep repeating the same password everywhere because it is easy. If it is easy for you to remember, it will be easy for hackers to get hold of.
Secure Your Network
This is another piece of advice that seems so simple, yet so many people fail to do it. Your router comes with a standard name and password. You can change this in your Wifi settings by changing your SSID and password. There is a short list of instructions to follow here. When you have done this, create a guest network for your visitors. They will be prevented from accessing everything but can go online and watch a movie or play games with you.
Head for the Cloud
Storing your files and work in the cloud is also a great way to improve your online safety. Not only are you freeing up space on your devices, but everything in the cloud is password protected. As long as you have set up a strong password, you should be the only one able to access your files. Storing your data on the cloud also has the advantage of allowing you to access your files anywhere from any device. So even if your phone or laptop is misplaced, your files and data are not lost.