#TechBytes: 5 useful ways to protect yourself from online scams
India is going digital, but at the same pace, fraudsters are also using new, tech-savvy techniques to dupe unsuspecting people. Their methods vary from a simple phone call to a malicious website, but the ultimate goal remains unchanged - steal money/identity of the target. However, worry not, we've got 5 golden rules to help you stay clear of these scams. Let's take a look.
Never provide your financial or personal details
This sounds pretty obvious, but the fact is, fraudsters succeed because people give away their details. The fraudsters social engineer their targets and manipulate them into providing their bank/card details (and passwords/PINs) or confidential information like Aadhaar card number. So, remember that no matter what the other person is saying or where he's from, you should never provide your personal or financial details.
How scammers manipulate people?
Scammers normally offer fancy deals or warn of a major consequence to trap people into providing their details. They may even use major events or any information sourced from your social profile to sound more believable.
Never open suspicious pop-ups or attachments
For online safety, never open pop-ups while browsing online. They could be used to redirect you to a seemingly legit shopping website offering fancy deals, ultimately luring you into paying money. Also, avoid downloading any attachment from unknown emails as suspicious files like that could carry malware/ransomware capable of locking your computer and blackmailing you for money. Remember last year's WannaCry attack?
Remember and use legit websites only
Hackers may use phishing techniques to create a bogus copy of a shopping or banking website. The goal is to mine your critical banking details, but a method like this could only work if you fail to recognize original websites. To avoid such cases, use well-known sites and always check URLs because fake sites tend to have minor but noticeable spelling errors.
Same goes for smartphone apps
Scammers could also use malicious apps or seemingly legit copies of popular apps to carry out frauds. However, checking reviews before downloading an app and using official download sources (Google Play Store/App Store) can be a good way to avoid such traps.
Try to keep your internet activity as private as possible
Keeping your internet activity private also plays a major role in preventing thefts and frauds. Scammers targeting you could mine bits of information from your profiles and ultimately use that information to cook a scam or blackmail you. Not to mention, they might even use those details to create a fake profile and target any of your friends.
How to keep internet activity private?
To keep internet activity private, make sure you don't share any information with the public (only friends) on sites like Facebook. Also, keep a tab on the security settings of such sites.
Finally, use a strong mobile and desktop security software
These days, a strong anti-virus should be your first line of defense against online scams, both on mobile and PC. Also, never forget about changing passwords regularly. They should be strong and different for every social or banking service you use. And, lastly, be vigilant about online scams and do proper research if anything looks even slightly suspicious.