Helping you balance your online life

5 Common Tech Scams to Watch Out For

Yellow sign reading 'scam alert' against blue sky

While many of us take advantage of all the gadgets and software that make our lives easier (and more entertaining), we should keep in mind the possible scams or threats that could put our sensitive information at risk. Below, we’ve compiled a list of growing cyber scams, to help give you a sense of what to look out for throughout the year. Stay safe online and off!

The tech scam that encrypts sensitive data and demands payment to release it back to the owner is a simple yet effective way for criminals to make a profit. One of the best ways to avoid ransomware is by using secure malware protection, like McAfee Internet Security, and regularly backing up your data offline.

Social Media Attacks
With the growth of social media comes the increase of attacks on social media. Most often, hackers attempt to breach accounts by stealing a user’s login credentials and taking personal information from them and the people in their network. Ways to keep your accounts safer? Use strong passwords, two-factor authentication and a password manager. Also, make sure your antivirus software is updated regularly. Services like MyPrivacy by ReputationDefender can help track your information on the web.

Mobile Attacks
Attacks on mobile devices are becoming more sophisticated and malicious. Hackers target app data, the microphone and camera, call history, text history, and more. If you must use public wifi with your mobile device, don’t send or receive any sensitive information over it—including billing, account or personal information—unless you have a personal VPN like Private WiFi.

Fake Apps
Shopping apps make it easier for us to get the things we need when we need them, but they also introduce another opportunity for cyber criminals to steal your information or money. Fake phone apps are being created with similar names to well-known brands in an attempt to confuse consumers. Fraudulent apps could try to steal your credit card or bank information or even install malware on your device and demand money from you to unlock it. Before installing an app, make sure to look closely at the app’s available information. Google the name of the app and look over reviews of it.

Fraudulent Phone Calls
Be cautious about giving personal information over the phone. If the person at the other end of the call is asking for your social security number or credit card information, make sure you know who they are and what company they work for–you may want to hang up and call the company directly to make certain that you are talking to a legitimate employee. One common scam in recent years consists of callers pretending to work for the IRS, telling people they owe money and requesting payments over the phone.