Digital fraud is not only on the rise, it is accelerating and growing more sophisticated. While consumers are benefiting from the rise of e-commerce, mobile payments and computer power, so too are criminals, who can more easily take advantage of their vulnerabilities. They may even pose as tech support workers, claiming to help fix your computer. Consumers and businesses are the first line of defense against digital fraud, and it starts with becoming educated on how the threats present themselves and how to avoid them.
Here are the most common types of digital fraud you are likely to encounter:
If you ever receive an email from a company, bank or government agency you didn’t expect, you could be part of a phishing expedition for sensitive information. Phishers send personalized emails encouraging you to click on a link for the phony purpose of updating account information, checking on a fake order, or responding to a sham IRS inquiry. If you click on the link, it takes you to a legitimate-looking website where your private information can be captured.
Viruses and Spyware
The same type of phishing emails could include a link that, when clicked on, could unleash a virus such as ransomware. Or, it could download spyware that can track your online activities and possibly capture your keystrokes.
Pop-up ads are becoming more common, which makes it harder to detect a fake pop-up. If you click on a fake pop-up, it will take you to a fraudulent website where it can collect your login credentials or other personal information.
Steps to Defend Against Digital Fraud
- Update your antivirus software
- Scan your computer for spyware
- Use a pop-up ad blocker
- Never click on a link in an email unless you can verify the sender
- Never download any program unless you can verify its source
- Use a password vault to store and encrypt your passwords
- Be wary of suspicious or unknown QR codes
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