What Measures can you Take to Curb Online Fraud?

Security Awareness Training

Online fraudsters are clever at getting you to act, whether that means opening files or sending them money. They have a way with people’s emotions and use these skills to make money at your expense.

Can you avoid their scams? Probably not. But can you protect yourself? Yes, you can. This article highlights seven sure tips to help protect you and your loved ones from online crooks. Let’s get into it.

Update Your Software and Apps

Over 60% of online cyber-attacks happen to devices with vulnerabilities that could have been fixed. Think about it. If you have an outdated browser, operating system or android version, you are at a higher risk of malware attack than everyone else.

These are vulnerabilities you can fix with a quick update in the background. And if it’s a complex issue, it’s a problem you can solve with a visit to a computer technician. Surprisingly, even a seemingly minor vulnerability can lead to immense havoc.

A determined cyber attacker could use minor security loopholes to acquire your email address or bypass your password. In turn, they can use phishing or any other alternative to send potentially harmful files to your devices.

Use Secure Websites

Google Chrome warns you about a potentially unsafe website whenever you try to visit it. Usually, the search engine sends a notification when you are about to visit a site without an SSL certificate—aka the green padlock sign.

An SSL certificate encrypts your personal information every time you interact with websites. It adds a layer of protection to your data so that other online users can’t get hold of it. Most sites have this certificate.

But just in case you click on a link leading to an unsecured website, click back as fast as you can. Of course, there’s more to security than a fancy green padlock. When shopping, for example, you want to use trusted retailers only. The same applies to online payments, SAAS or reading blogs.

Avoid Online Deals you don’t Know

Thousands of online companies run promotions daily. In fact, there seems to be an offer or almost anything you can purchase online. But amid hundreds of great deals, there lies a breeding ground for scams.

So, you want to win the lottery without risking your money? Enter lottery scams. Do you dream of dating a hot model? You only need to pay a small fee. Unfortunately, “the small price” you have to pay for great online deals are almost always cases of fraud.

Some opportunistic frauds know lots of people want to get rich quickly. So, they create all kinds of schemes to turn you into an overnight millionaire for a small fee. A handful of them even targets charities, baiting you to send thousands of dollars to their accounts.

Know-How to Identify Safe Companies

As we mentioned earlier, an SSL certificate is one of many ways to identify a safe online business. A company’s addresses, operating licenses and online reputation also show much trust you should place in a company.

Of course, how much due diligence you need depends on the type of transaction you want to complete. Let’s illustrate with an online casino/sportsbook, Digibet. Whether you want to play slots or bet on football, you undoubtedly want to have a delightful experience.

With gaming companies such as Digibet, you need to research extensively. You want to ensure the company has a license (UKGC), uses SSL encryption, has a solid reputation and works with safe payment companies. Only after you’re satisfied by a casino’s features that you would go on to bet on their platform.

In other words, learn what you should check before transacting with different companies. Discover what a safe online bank constitutes off. Find out how to score a trustworthy lawyer online or how to trade Bitcoin without getting scammed.

Use an Integrated Approach

Last year, file-less attacks increased by 256% in the first six months alone. That’s a clear sign that online fraudsters are shifting away from phishing and other attacks that have always relied on their victims opening unsuspicious files.

Many file-less attacks occur through vulnerable operating systems and apps. But what makes them so devastating is that many antivirus programs can’t detect them. So, what can you do to stop these threats?

Use an integrated approach. Start by updating your operating systems and software. This helps eliminate vulnerabilities attackers can exploit. Then use an efficient anti-malware program. Usually, premium software works best when it comes to protection against the most harmful online threats.

However, a free antivirus program is better than none. Windows Defender, for example, is particularly effective in eliminating minor threats. But as mentioned, aim for paid programs and use standard security tips such as setting up complex passwords.

Only Share Necessary Data

Let’s face. Do you need to post your address, phone and email address on every random forum you join? Do you have to provide your bank information for free trials? If it’s not necessary, don’t share your data.

Online scammers target you for a reason. They might have viewed your Facebook profile and got some information about you. Or maybe they purchased your bank information on the dark web. Either way, they are targeting you because they have some of your details you might have shared online.

Read Terms and Conditions

No one reads terms and conditions or privacy policies. But maybe we all should, especially when transacting through companies that don’t allow chargebacks. When buying stuff using Bitcoin, for example, you should know payments can’t be reversed.

And for that reason, fraudulent companies can scam you in ways you can’t sue them. All they need is to include some dubious lines about how purchases are irreversible, and their products come with no returns.

They might also reveal about their data collection policies and what they do with your information. If you consent to these policies without reading terms and conditions, there’s nothing that stops these companies from defrauding you.

Mark Funk
Mark Funk is an experienced information security specialist who works with enterprises to mature and improve their enterprise security programs. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter.