Be cautious. Be sensible.
Here is a list of scams to avoid in the New Year. Although the holidays are over, it doesn’t mean fraudsters take time off. In fact, some of them specifically set their sights on this time of the year. We want to make you aware of some scams to expect and how to avoid getting misled by them.
Here’s a list of a few scams that you should look out for:
Fake online stores: The number of scammer phishing links on social media and fake websites has skyrocketed. Before placing an order online, make sure you’ve navigated to the legitimate website. Rather than clicking on a link from an ad, type in the website address directly into your browser.
Compromised passwords: One of the online security community’s biggest concerns is user maintenance of strong and varied passwords. The days of using the same simple password for different accounts with different risk factors is over. The same computers that provide us with so much convenience, can also be used to quickly decipher a simplistic or predictable password, and share access to your fortune. Be sure to use strong, complex passwords using combinations of letters, numbers and special characters in longer strings. Avoid using the same password for different accounts, especially your financial accounts. And finally, and most importantly, change your passwords periodically.
Ransomware: These attacks are initiated when you click on a link that you think is going to provide you with information, a needed security update or other types of benign content. But instead it triggers software that takes over your computer, locks you out of valued content or processes, and leaves you feeling helpless. Then the scammer demands a “ransom” to release what they have stolen. These types of scams are expected to become more frequent in the new year. Phishing emails that appear to be from a trusted sender are known to be a popular way for scammers to deliver their ransomware. Be sure to know the sender before opening or downloading any suspicious attachments and/or website links. Even if you know the sender, think twice before you download anything. Scammers are able to fake the e-mail sender information, too. If you are not expecting a file or link from someone, don’t download it or click on it until you check with the sender.
Cryptocurrency scams: This is slowly making its way to the mainstream. The creation of fake initial coin offerings (ICOs) to lure in unsuspecting investors is expected to increase, so again – use common sense.