The recent barrage of ransomware attacks should serve as a stark warning to any person who spends time in the digital world. Anyone who uses email, shops online or makes mobile payments is a target of cybercriminals seeking to exploit their vulnerabilities. In fighting off these relentless attacks, everyone—both consumers and businesses—is the first line of defense against digital fraud.
Here are the most common types of digital fraud you’re likely to encounter:
Sophisticated phishing attacks are on the rise. You receive an unexpected email from a bank, government agency or company that looks legitimate, so you open it. The email, which is personalized in your name, includes an urgent call-to-action to update your account information or prevent an account from being closed. You click on the link, and are taken to a legitimate-looking website where you enter your login credentials, handing the keys to your account to a cyberthief.
Viruses and Spyware
Many of the successful ransomware assaults have been the result of sophisticated phishing expeditions. A phishing email can also contain a link that, if you click on it, unleashes a ransomware virus or spyware that tracks all your online activities.
Those annoying pop-up ads can sometimes mask a link to a fraudulent website, awaiting your logon credentials or personal information.
Steps to Take Right Now to Combat Digital Fraud
- Make sure your anti-virus software is up to date
- Scan your computer frequently for spyware
- Turn on your pop-up ad blocker
- Do not click on any links in an email received from an unknown source
- Do not download any apps unless you can verify the source
- Use a password manager to encrypt your passwords