Did you know that online scams and fraud have cost individuals and businesses over $100bn to date? There are, sadly, a lot of ways to find yourself in trouble when you’re using the internet, so it’s important to know what you’re doing and take appropriate measures to protect yourself. This short guide will help you make a start.
Protect your computer
If you want to stay safe, the first thing you need to think about is your computer. If people can hack into it, everything else is up for grabs. Make sure that you keep your operating system up to date and install patches as soon as they arrive in order to avoid weaknesses that hackers can exploit. Don’t download software unless you’re getting it from a reputable source, as it could contain code that gives hackers access to your machine. Use strong passwords and make sure that the most important ones (for your email, your online banking or trading accounts, and anywhere that records much of your personal information) are all different. Change them at least once every six months.
Protect your identity
Guarding your personal details is vitally important. It helps to keep your finances safe and it means that your stolen identity can’t be used in scams. Beware of phishing attempts. These vary from games and quizzes passed around on social media to email messages purporting to come from your bank. Be especially wary of messages that tell you that your details have been lost or stolen and ask you to log in through a special link to fix the situation. If you’re worried that there might be a real problem, log in through the usual web link instead to find out.
There are lots of scammers out there trying to persuade you to part with your money, but the most common ones are not very sophisticated. The most common type of forex scam is the fake broker or investment fund, so stick to operators with well-established reputations, and always check that they are properly registered and regulated. Don’t trust anybody who approaches you claiming to have a brilliant scheme that will help you to make money really easily – anyone who ever really had such a scheme would use it instead of trying to get rich by talking money out of people like you. Be cautious about anybody who seems too friendly or puts you under pressure to agree to something quickly, and bear in mind that scammers sometimes genuinely help you to make a bit of money at first in order to win your trust and persuade you to give them access to more of your money.
Most of what you need to do to stay safe online comes down to three things: use your common sense; think before you act; and don’t get greedy. It may seem that there’s a lot to learn, but once you’ve got into good habits, you’ll find it easy enough to spot risks – and while there are no guarantees, you’ll generally find that hackers and scammers move on in search of easier targets.
Smriti Jain is the owner and senior content publisher at Financesmarti. Financesmarti is a website where she shares a lot of useful stuff for the people and business of India. This includes small business ideas and other banking information, as well. Smriti completed her education in science & technology from Delhi University. Smriti usually has interests in digital marketing now, and she has chosen this career for the full-time opportunity. The primary purpose of starting this blog to provide quality information on the banking industry to the people.