Cyber is a word used in connection with electronic communication networks, especially the internet. While crime can be described as an illegal act or activity that is punishable by law. Therefore, cyber crime refers to crime conducted online or on the internet.
Cyber crimes include credit card fraud, email scam, overtaken of online accounts, fraudulent investments, undelivered purchases among others.
The effect of cybercrime on consumer and society at large is huge. Cybercrime usually cost the victims billions of dollars in damage.
The following paragraphs will enlighten us on the various ways we can protect ourselves from cybercrime.
Keep your senses
Scammers are opportunist that prey on the easily gullible ones. Make sure you keep your senses when surfing the internet. To keep your senses awake you need to avoid drinking or use of drugs that can negatively affect your thinking. Avoiding alcohol and drug abuse will not let you click on ‘Yes‘ instead of ‘ No’ and you will be fully aware of potentially dangerous offers and emails.
Be wary of emails
Scammers can use a program known as email extractor to get the email address of people. They will now send an email referred to as phishing email to those or their email list persuading them to send their password, credit card number, online banking details or bank account information to a professional-looking but fake websites resembling the one they have an account with.
It is important to know that authentic financial institutions will not ask their account holders to email highly confidential information. Legitimate financial institutions will not send an email addressing you as “ Dear Sir/Ma.” Such greeting is from scammers. They might rather address you by your first and last name or by the business name associated with your account. If legitimate financial institution need certain information fro you, they can notify you through email but they will ask that you come to their office.
And if you are requested to provide the information online, make sure you don’t go through the link in the email. Provide the information after you have securely log in to your account through a fresh browser.
Be careful of emails congratulating you that you’ve won a prize or lottery that you either register for or not.
Be aware of emails containing suspecting links to avoid activating a program called Trojan horse which can allow fraudsters to have backdoor access to your online private information.
Also, be suspicious of emails asking you to download to avoid activating spy software which can be use to record all your computer activity.
Ascertain a website/ company reputation and policies
Before buying from a company, website, blog or store online, make sure you analyze the site authenticity. Check the site contact us page to test the physical address and phone number whether they are right. Be suspicious when dealing with sites with physical address in foreign lands as it will be hard for you to resolve problems arising from substandard products, loss in transit or fraud. Check whether your purchase will involve hidden cost, know your delivery date and read whether their policy allow return of goods and refund of cash incase of dissatisfaction.
Asking for a website or company reputation on search engines such as Google can be helpful.
Don’t be greedy
Be wary of websites or online companies that give free offers or sell products at extremely low rates. First ascertain the website reputation and authenticity before investing online. Be suspecting of offers that looks too good to be true. Don’t invest on sites that promise high return on your investment or offer big money for minimal effort or work. Though, is good to be take risk but let the risk be calculated one. The rule is ‘the higher the return, the higher the risk.’ There is no free money, large returns on low-risk investments or get rich quick scheme anywhere. Those words are just the bait use by scammers to trap their prime targets.
Protect sensitive information
Be highly careful of emails requesting you to provide your personal information such as password, credit card details etc.
Always use encrypted connections to send sensitive information.
Choose passwords that are not easy to guess. Make sure you change your password periodically, especially after you bank or shop online.
Don’t use your credit card details on public computer. Doing so can expose you to risk of cybercrime. Properly safeguard your important documents such as credit card, social security numbers, bank statement and checkbook in both online and offline.
Review your accounts
Keep tract of your credit card and bank account carefully and regularly. Contact your bank anytime you spot unusual transactions.
Although, the most careful individuals have become victims of cyber crime but following the above suggestions can help prevent or minimize the chance of fallen victim.
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