SCARSSCARS SCARS - Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. A government registered crime victims' assistance & crime prevention nonprofit organization based in Miami, Florida, U.S.A. SCARS supports the victims of scams worldwide and through its partners in more than 60 countries around the world. Incorporated in 2015, its team has 30 years of continuous experience educating and supporting scam victims. Visit www.AgainstScams.org to learn more about SCARS.™ Guide: Ways To Avoid Being Hacked
Everything that connects to the Internet can get hacked. But there are several things you can do to protect yourself and your data from an attack.
Here are a few tips that will mitigate the risk of getting your personal data stolen.
Be Suspicious Of Emails
A lot of cyberattacks are launched through simple malicious email campaigns. Email is a wonderful communication platform because you can send anything to anyone, but that means it can be a huge security risk. Phishing, for example, sends victims seemingly innocuous emails that will lead victims to fake websites asking to update their personal information.
The best way to avoid being scammed by phony emails is to just make sure the sender is who you think it is. Check their email address to see if they match with the website you think it’s from. To be extra cautious you can check the IP addressGeolocation Geolocation is the utilization of a device IP address, along with other device signals, to determine geographical location. An Internet Protocol address (IP address) is a numerical label such as 192.0.2.1 that is connected to a computer network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication. An IP address serves two main functions: host or network interface identification and location addressing. An IP Address can be used to locate a physical computer's location. of the sender.
You can do this by finding the source information from the email and looking for the IP address that follows the line “Received: from.” You can then Google the IP address to learn the email’s source. (Here is a good primer on finding email IP addresses.)
Check Link Locations
Unknown messages contain links to unknown sites. Surfing to a mysterious website can bring about unintended consequences. For one, it could mimic a site you know and trust and help you fall prey to a phishing scamPhishing scam Scammers often use email "phishing" to hook unsuspecting fraud victims. Treat all unsolicited email and spam as suspicious: Do not open or reply. To avoid loading malicious software onto your computer or device, never click a link – even from a trusted source – unless you've verified its authenticity. Be especially wary of emails asking for emergency funds or help from friends, family and colleagues. Their email accounts may have been hacked. Scammers will also pretend to be government agencies in scam emails.. Or, it may be unsecured or infected with malwareMalware Short for "malicious software," this term means computer viruses and other types of programs that cybercriminals use to disrupt or access your computer, typically with the aim of gathering sensitive files and accounts..
If you are tempted to click on one of these links, you better know exactly where it’s taking you. The best way is to copy and paste the link location into a new browser to see what site is on the other side. If it’s a shortened link, you can use tools like URL X-ray that figure out the real destination before you click it.
Also, encrypted sites are the safest ones to visit. You know they are safe when you see HTTPS in the URL and the lock icon on your browser.
Never Open Attachments (Unless You’re Really Sure)
A good rule to follow is never open attachments unless you are 120% sure of where they came from. One of the easiest ways for hackers to download malicious code onto victim computers is by sending emails with virusVirus A computer program that can replicate itself and spread from computer to computer or file to file. It comes to life only when you take a specific action, such as running a particular program.-laden files.
A frequent way companies get hacked is by one unsuspecting employee downloading malicious software that infiltrates the entire network. The most dangerous file types are Word, PDFs, and .EXEs.
Use Two-Factor Authentication
As bigger companies get hacked, the likelihood that your password is leaked increases. Once hackers get passwords, they try to figure out which personal accounts they can access with the data they stole.
Two-factor authentication — which requires users to not only enter a password but to also confirm entry with another item like a code texted to a phone — is a good way to stop attackers who have stolen passwords. More companies are making it standard for logging in.
Slack, for example, instituted two-step authentication once it owned up to a recent data breachData Breach Whenever private information is seen by someone who should not have access, this is known as data exposure. It may also sometimes be referred to as a data leak or data breach. It might happen by accident or be caused by hackers who do it to cause harm to the individual or organization involved. It can be especially damaging to companies that store the credit card details and personal information of their customers.. This meant that if hackers did steal Slack user data, the hackers would still most likely not be able to get into a user’s account unless they had another personal item that belonged to the user, like a phone. If two-factor authentication is an option for your accounts, it’s wise to choose it.
Use Advanced Strong Passwords
This may be the most obvious yet overlooked tip. A strong password includes uppercase, lowercase, numbers, punctuation, and gibberish. Don’t make the password a personal reference, and don’t store a list in a saved file.
Most importantly, don’t use the same password for multiple accounts.
There are some great tools like LastPass and 1Password that securely store passwords. Also, it’s crucial to change passwords frequently — especially for vulnerable accounts like email and banking.
Be Wary Of The Cloud
Here’s a good rule of thumb — if you don’t want people to access your information, don’t share it. This includes cloud storage. No matter how secure a platform says it is, you ought to keep in mind that you’re giving it to someone else to watch over. While it’s in the company’s best interests to keep it secure, many privacy experts maintain that anything you put online stands the chance of being published online.
Does this mean you shouldn’t store anything in the cloud? Not necessarily, it’s just helpful to remain aware of where your files are going. And to know the practices of your cloud storage provider.
Additionally, be sure that if you delete files on your computer or smartphone that they are also deleted on any cloud backups you have too.
On Public Wi-Fi? Don’t Share Personal Data
Thinking about buying that plane ticket or checking your bank account while sitting at the coffee shop? You may want to think twice about that, as you have no idea how secure that connection is.
The same goes for places like hotels and conference centers. Security researchers just uncovered a vulnerability that made Wi-Fi traffic at some of the world’s biggest hotels vulnerable to attack. There is no way for an individual to know if this is happening, so it’s best to be judicious with where you are surfing.
If you must access private information while on these networks, it would be good to use tools like virtual private networks (VPNs), which encrypt traffic so the Wi-Fi network can’t see where you’re surfing. Or, better yet, just set up a hotspot using your mobile data.
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TAGS: SCARS, Important Article, Information About ScamsScams A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime - is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost., Anti-ScamScam A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime - is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost., Strong Passwords, Public Wi-Fi, Don’t Share Personal Data, Two-Factor Authentication, Never Open Attachments, SCARS™ Guide, Ways To Avoid Being Hacked, Suspicious Of Emails, Check Links
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It is essential that law enforcement knows about scams & scammers, even though there is nothing (in most cases) that they can do.
Always report scams involving money lost or where you received money to:
- Local PoliceLocal Police The Local Police is your first responder in most countries. In most English-speaking countries and in Europe report to them first. In other countries look for your national cybercrime police units to report scams to. In the U.S., Canada, & Australia, you must report to the local police first. – ask them to take an “informational” police report – say you need it for your insurance
- Your National Police or FBIFBI FBI - Federal Bureau of Investigation The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States and its principal federal law enforcement agency. Operating under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Justice, the FBI is also a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community and reports to both the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence. A leading U.S. counter-terrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal investigative organization, the FBI has jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crimes, including financial fraud. « www.IC3.gov »
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