Trick or Threat: Top Scary Online Scams and Tips to Protect Yourself

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Trick or Threat: Top Scary Online Scams and Tips to Protect Yourself

Ghosts, scary clowns and sugar overdose… Halloween is just around the corner and it happens at the same time as “Cyber Security Awareness” month ends. Though the constant emerging cyber threats might have you frightened, our security experts believe the best way to scare cyber scammers away is to be prepared. Below are tips to protect yourself from the most chilling online tricks out there:

1. Don’t let fake news haunt you

Halloween is the perfect time for scammers to create fake news and ads to trick you into clicking on the link. Don’t take the bait and look out for shocking stories and “once in a lifetime” offers, chances are your curiosity could potentially lead you into being part of a scam or risk getting your computer infected with malware.

Make sure you know where the source is coming from by validating and conducting research before opening a potentially malware loaded link.

2. Beware of the shopping scam nightmare

Did you know Halloween is the second highest consumer spending holiday? It’s no wonder scammers will find ways to take advantage of this. With almost 1.4 million phishing websites being created every month make sure you’re making your purchases from a legitimate website before buying the decorations, candies and scariest costumes.

To avoid these scams always check for the website address before clicking on it. Imposter sites often imitate websites by adding unnecessary words or having bad spelling in the address. More importantly, never enter financial information on a non-secure website, the address must contain the designation “HTTPS” indicating it’s a secure site.

3. Look out for social media enemies disguised as friends

Social Media Enemies Disguised as Friends

Remember cyber criminals don’t wait until Halloween to claim to be someone they’re not online. Always be wary of accepting friend requests, scammers are making copies of real Facebook accounts and afterwards tricking people into providing sensitive personal or financial information.

Additionally, when receiving private messages be skeptical of its content even if it comes from someone you know. Messages asking “this is your video?” or similar questions are most likely sent from Facebook accounts that have been compromised by cybercriminals. If you click on the link in the message it will take you to a fraudulent website designed to steal your Facebook credentials and send the same scam to all of your friends.

If you receive a suspicious friend request or message, try verifying the information with the person that owns the account directly before clicking on any links or accepting the request.

4. Spook your mobile device vulnerabilities away

Just like computers, smartphones are susceptible to malware and can potentially expose your information to cybercriminals if the right precautions are not taken:

Don’t post where or when you’ll be trick-or-treating: Review your phone settings to see which apps are using your location data and avoid telling everyone when you’re out and about with your scary getup as it may also alert burglars that your house is empty, making it a potential target for thieves.

Change the settings in your device so that it doesn’t automatically connect to Wi-Fi by default: You never know what is on the dark side, if you log in to public network other users can see the information you share and might leave your phone vulnerable to an attack. It is also highly advisable to refrain from doing online banking until you are using a secure network.

Protect your goodies by locking your phone: The amount of personal information stored on mobile device such as contact information, passwords, pictures, emails are definitely worth keeping secure. Set up a passcode or touch ID to protect your information and configure your phone to automatically lock after a short time frame, in case it is lost or stolen.

Android devices instructions can be found here

iOS devices instructions can be found here

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