Cybercrime – Don’t Be a Victim
Cybercrime is an ever-present and growing crime trend in all corners and facets of our society. Nelson is no exception to this. Fortunately, the vast majority of cybercrime is not targeted and is a crime of opportunity or chance that by taking a few precautions and practicing a few simple habits, can eliminate most risks.
There are two types of cybercrime; technology as the target and technology as the instrument to perpetrate the crime. The average citizen will most likely experience the second type, with the most common scam and potential fraud being attempted known as ‘phishing’. As the name implies, phishing involves criminals sending out hundreds, if not thousand s of ‘lures’ trying to get unwitting victims to ‘bite’. People should never click on links in unsolicited e-mails. These links often directs you to a spoof website that is made to look almost exactly like the real website for example, of your bank, a government or social assistance site or even your Apple account.
An e-mail may indicate there has been suspicious activity in your account and you should click on the link provided to go to your account and check on this activity. Once on the website, you will be asked to sign in with your account number and password, or you may be asked to change your password, which again requires you to put in your account number and old password. In all cases, this results in handing criminals access to all kinds of personal information and your hard earned money.
If you receive a suspicious e-mail asking you to do anything that provides your account or other personal information, simply delete it. If you have concerns about your account or potential fraudulent activity in it, contact your provider through means you have used previously, either by phone or by signing into your online account via your normal access procedure. Again, never click on a provided link.
Phishing is also common over phones. If you receive a call, that is obviously a pre-recorded message from an alleged government or law enforcement agency, advising you owe back taxes, money for a fine or other late payment, it is a fraud….hang up. Government or law enforcement agencies will never contact individuals through automated or pre-recorded messages to collect funds or threaten arrests. Firstly, the calls never identify you or anyone by name. Secondly, as there is no guarantee who will answer a phone, providing this information in this format would be a privacy violation, and therefor would never happen. If you have concerns, look up a phone number from a trusted source and inquire with the agency in question.
If you receive one of these types of calls, texts or e-mails….take a pause, take a deep breath and question the validity before doing anything.
By sticking to these guidelines, practicing safe web surfing and having a good antivirus program, you will significantly reduce your risk of becoming a victim.