Recognizing the Different Paths of Cybercrime

Cyber scams have been a lucrative business since the early days of the internet and despite the advancements in security, new measures are often reactive with hackers and criminals one step ahead.

You can protect yourself by being more knowledgeable on the common ways scammers operate so that we can thwart any threats before they become a problem and steal your money.

1. The Phishing scams

This is one of the oldest, and most prevalent, scams out there.

Phishing scams are when cybercriminals install malicious software onto your device, after you click on a link that you received (in an email or social media message), in order to trick you into sharing login credentials to your bank account, social network, work account or cloud storage provider. Cyber criminals have become so advanced now that they may even be able to steal your health insurance or frequent flyer miles!

Sometimes these emails or messages look legitimate, like they’re coming from PayPal or your bank. But take a closer look and you’ll find the address from the email sender doesn’t exactly look right. Compare the email address and if it doesn’t match, delete the email immediately.

2. The “Free trial” offer

We’ve all come across those free 1-month trials for an amazing product like a weight-loss program. All you pay is shipping and handling at just a low price of $5.95!

Beware of the fine print, often too difficulty to find or read because it blends into the background. You’ll be scammed into paying expensive monthly fees and suddenly, that $5.95 S&H is costing you $99 per month after the free trial expires.

3. The Wifi danger zone

It’s such commonplace to find yourself in a public space, like a coffee shop or airport, and willingly log into the local Wi-Fi zone. The login page resembles a free or pay service, and you join the network.

In some cases, there’s a nearby hacker who’s actually mining your computer for ebank, credit card and other password information.

4. The “too good to be true” offer

Did you just receive an incredible offer on the latest iPhone? How about a new credit card offer with an unbeatable interest rate? You might have even “won” a laptop or free holiday?

It may seem like a once-in-lifetime offer, and so you make the purchase or accept it. Of course, only to have your financial information stolen.

Always remember. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Stay away.

5. The “Your computer is infected” trap

This trap creeps up just as you’re online and a popup appears from a seemingly legitimate antivirus software program warning you that your computer is infected and you need to download the program. Concerned, you click on the link and now malicious software is scanning your computer for login information.

In other scenarios, the “software” finds a virus and promises to remove it for a fee and the next thing you know, your credit card information is in the hacker’s hands.

6. Ransomware

Ransomware is a form of malware and works by either holding your entire computer hostage or by blocking access to all of your files by encrypting them. Typically, when infected with ransomware, the victim is ordered (via a pop-up window) to pay anything from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars in order to get the key to unlock their encrypted data.

Ransomeware is evolving and spreading as cyber criminals are using the most modern cryptography to encrypt stolen files and getting really good at making their dangerous links and downloads seem harmless.