Scammer Check: An Expert Guide to Avoiding Online Security Threats

An Expert Guide to Avoiding Online Security Threats

Internet fraud manifests in many forms, and it wouldn’t hurt to have a scammer check. Cyber thieves are still alive and kicking, often using email tricks for financial information, pop-ups that infect your computer with malware—even resorting to catfishing to forge fake romantic relationships.

In the last five years, the FBI Internet Crime Report tallied a total of $13.3 billion in reported losses. Although anyone can fall victim to online scams, older adults stand at higher risk as they have more to lose.

These numbers are frightful, but unplugging from the internet is likely not a viable option in this modern world. So, how can you reduce exposure to cybersecurity threats and stay safe online? This scammer check serves to take you through the optics of common internet scams and how you can avoid them.

What are Internet Scams?

Cybercriminals prey on their victims using online services or software, attempting to obtain financial or personal information through email accounts, social media, dating apps, etc. In the end, the successful crime results in the victim losing substantial amounts of money or not receiving promised funds.

Rise in Internet Scams since COVID-19

Unfortunately, the global pandemic has brought forth more fraudulent cases on the scene. Find out how COVID-19 impacted data protection for many businesses or read about the latest online scams below:

Rise in Internet Scams since COVID-19

Types of Internet Scams

These days, scammers are getting creative with ways to defraud victims through the internet. The first step in protecting yourself would be to recognise these methods.

Social Media Scams & Impersonation

Social networking sites are the motherlode of valuable personal information. Aside from aesthetic pictures, social media is also filled with fake posts about COVID-19 and fake accounts.

Take Facebook and Instagram, for instance. Fraudsters tend to copy a real account’s name, profile picture, posts and so on, creating a second identical account. Then, they target the original account’s friend list, sending follow requests to gain access to their profiles.

  • Scammer check: One might dismiss cloned accounts as a scam, considering the number of secondary accounts by the same person. However, it’s best to contact your friend directly if you get any suspicious friend requests. Ensure to report these accounts to Facebook or Instagram.
Coronavirus Emails

The deadly virus has affected us in various ways, including posing a threat to our online security. There have been emerging scams with false claims of cures, tests and vaccinations for sale, even going as far as to offer dirt-cheap deals on toilet paper.

  • Scammer check: Receiving emails full of links to great deals or vaccinations from unknown senders are never a good sign. Some may claim to be an “official” source but keep in mind that vaccination notifications don’t come in emails. Instead, head directly to official websites, such as WHO or CDC, to acquire factual information and news.
Quick-Money Promise

You’ve likely seen this scam everywhere. It could begin from a simple phone call, email, or LinkedIn message, endorsing a job that requires little effort for fast cash. As much as we want it to, the world doesn’t work that way.

Typically, these scammers would target those looking for new or WFH jobs. Once you secure the job, they’ll require you to fill up personal details like bank information, address, etc. But rather than receiving a pay cheque, you’ll be handing over entry to your financial accounts.

  • Scammer check: When a job position appears too good to be true, it probably is. Therefore, it’s best to stick to reputable sites during job hunts and do thorough research on the employer.
Online Romance Scams

Cyber thieves love preying on the vulnerable, and that includes people looking for love online.

First, they’ll start a conversation with an unsuspecting individual, establishing a romantic relationship. Gaining the victim’s trust, they might start asking for money, insisting that it’s for an emergency or for flying out to visit the victim.

  • Scammer check: It’s a red flag if your online partner never fails to produce excuses for why you can’t meet in person. Never allow access to your private financial accounts or transfer money to an internet stranger.
Malware Scams

Malicious software presents itself in deceptive ways: pop-up security warnings, links to news articles, phishing emails, etc. The perpetrator might scare their victim with pop-up warnings of virus infection, directing them to download fake antivirus software.

Clicking these embedded links will trigger malware installation, allowing the software to take control of your device, scan your private information, perhaps even destroy your files.

  • Scammer check: Such scams can look like legitimate messages from well-known computer security providers. Avoid clicking on any links, opening attachments, or even replying to the message.
Malware Scams - Scammer check

How to Avoid Online Security Threats

1. File a Complaint

If you’ve been scammed in Malaysia, gather all pertinent details regarding the incident and file a complaint to MCMC. Analysts will review your complaint, proceeding with an investigation to the appropriate law enforcement or regulatory agencies. Hopefully, you can pursue legal action against the perpetrator.

Also, familiarise yourself with widespread frauds, so you and your loved ones can identify them before the downfall.

2. Avoid Responding to Unsolicited Calls or Emails

Don’t offer up personal or financial information if you get a suspicious call or email from a supposed “tech expert”. Keep in mind to always ask for proof of identity about the company before proceeding any further.

3. Install Antivirus Software

Security software is specifically designed to prevent malware and ransomware from embedding on your computer. It works by removing any detected malicious code, such as a virus or worm.

Consequently, if you do click on a dangerous link, the software can safeguard your files against threats. Of course, be sure only to entrust your data with official vendors.

4. Always Back Up Data

Businesses should make regular copies of corporate data to a secondary site or cloud storage, lest they lose vital data in a cyberattack. Never rely solely on home networks, as they are not the most secure.

Moreover, it’s also important to back up critical data on all endpoint devices, including laptops, tablets and smartphones.

Aegis is a leading cloud backup and disaster recovery service provider in Malaysia, offering reliable and cost-effective cloud backup and disaster recovery solutions. Our services include Endpoint Data Protection that guarantees the safety of remote users’ data, and complimentary unlimited Disaster Recovery resources for business continuity. 

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