Given that many of us live our lives online these days, it is no surprise that there has been a rise in the ways that fraudsters try and steal money from people online. Wherever there is an opportunity for fraudsters to make money, they will look to make the most of their opportunity and this means that people must be on their guard at all times.
Staying safe online isn’t always easy but it is crucial if you want to minimise the likelihood of being the victim of a crime that may change your life for the worse.
Social Media Fraud is on the rise
Given that so many people use social media on a regular basis, it is no surprise that some fraudsters have turned to this medium with the aim of defrauding people and making money for themselves. One problem is that many people will have their guard down when they are using social media. This means that an offer that would leave them feeling suspicious at other times is actually considered to be a fair offer. After all, social media is meant to be a friendly place and if you can’t trust your friends, who can trust?
Of course, this is exactly the sort of reaction and attitude that fraudsters are looking for. One of the most common forms of this style of fraud is seeing a tweet from someone you follow on twitter with the tweet talking about a competition or a prize that they have won. Given that all you need to do to find out more is to click on the link, you can see why not many people will be suspicious of what is on offer.
However, clicking the link leads to problems as the link will often see a “bot”, which is a software robot, being added to your computer and this sees your computer to a network that sends out spam email.
As Twitter has a shortened space for content, just 140 characters, it is common to see links shortened to make them more space-friendly. This is helpful but of course, a shortened tweet can mask the true identity or destination of the link, and this is where trouble begins. If you see a link like this and you are not sure where it is going to, don’t click the link.
You should also do more research. If the link has come from someone you know, ask them about the link. It may be that they have been hacked or are being spammed and don’t actually know about the content originating from their account. If you don’t know the person, examine their account and check out the mix of followers they have and who they follow. You will soon get a feel for what accounts are real and what accounts are fake and which should be avoided at all costs.
Don’t Panic if you get a Message saying your Computer is affected
Given that most of us are not too confident in using computers or too aware of hoe to keep our computers secure, receiving a message saying that your computer has been affected can be worrying. This is a legitimate looking message providing you with information that your computer has been affected by a bug.
There is obviously a link that will carry out a check on your computer, and once a bug has been found, you’ll find that there is then an offer to remove this problem for a fee.
This isn’t just a scam that will see you hand over money for no support; you’ll actually find that the fraudster is actually installing malware on to your computer. This means the fraudster has your credit card details, they will have personal details and they have a link into your computer which they may use for their own purposes.
If you receive any sort of message, don’t click on it and don’t take up their “kind” offer to review your computer. If you are concerned about viruses or bugs on your computer, initiate communication with a genuine software company and have them look at your files.
Staying safe online isn’t a difficult task, but it does require some effort and understanding of what the latest frauds are. Keeping up to date with the latest fraudulent acts and criminal activities will ensure you improve the chances of staying safe online.
Andrew Reilly is a freelance writer with a focus on news stories and consumer interest articles. He has been writing professionally for 9 years but has been writing for as long as he can care to remember. When Andrew isn’t sat behind a laptop or researching a story, he will be found watching a gig or a game of football.