This is an area that continues to frustrate me because, despite all the good advice over many years to help folk avoid getting scammed, millions of innocent victims are still losing millions of dollars each year to scammers.
Some time ago we published an article with 10 common sense rules to help keep you safe online: 10 Golden Rules to Defeat Scammers. However, it all really boils down to just one simple rule which applies to every form of communication on whatever device.
When In Doubt, Don’t!
Part of the problem is that the tactics utilized by cybercriminals/scammers are becoming more and more sophisticated making it more and more difficult to distinguish between what’s genuine and what might be fake. Scamming tactics include:
Creating a sense of urgency:
- Claiming they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or login attempts and prompt to update your login details
- Claiming there’s a problem with your account or your payment information and prompt to update those details
Exploiting the fear of loss:
- Claiming you are eligible to register for free stuff or a government refund
- Claiming there is an undelivered parcel for you to claim
Conventional advice on how to avoid these types of scams is abundant and effective but statistics tell us that users just aren’t listening. So, here is one single golden rule that covers the full gamut of potential scams:
Always treat everything with a healthy degree of skepticism and an abundance of caution.
Every user is susceptible to some degree or another but following that one simple rule will help keep even the most vulnerable users safe from scammers.