The internet is a vast platform, where we can do many things from shopping, keeping up with news, conducting business, and even catching up with friends on social media. It is a convenient media, looking at all its perks. When using the internet, you have to understand online security, paying attention to the safety of your information.
Internet fraud cases dropped in 2019 to 13 million cases from 14.4 million in the previous year. However, the losses stemming from this act rose from $14.7 billion in 2018 to $16.9 billion in 2019. These statistics are alarming and show that hackers are getting cleverer in their art.
The Effect of Online Fraud
The main effect of online fraud is losses, where many people complain of losing their money, especially from credit card fraud. There is also the issue of malware infestation, especially when you visit illegitimate sites. The malware can be in the form of viruses, worms, or Trojan horses, and these can interfere with your computer system, gaining access to your info and files.
If you are a frequent internet user, it is your responsibility to protect yourself from any kind of online fraud. Here are some measures you can employ to uphold your browsing safety.
- Use an Antivirus Program
Viruses are a major threat to your online information and your computer system. To beat the viral attacks, you should have an antivirus program installed. There are several options to pick from, where you should choose the best provider, offering the best value in price and services.
A good antivirus program will also offer internet security, adding a strong protection layer for your browsing needs. In case you are visiting a risky website, the program will give you a warning to prevent you from making a mistake. They also have ad blocks, considering that some of these ads may lead you to risky sites.
- Beware of Illegitimate Sites
The online domain is home to many websites and not all of them are legitimate. Some websites will require you to provide your details for access, where you provide full names, email, and residence among many more. You have to be keen on the website when providing such details – as the sale of personal information is a thriving business.
There are platforms like Nulled, which is popular among the hacker community, where they have a ready market for consumer personal information. Other popular sites like Shoppy, has hackers selling your personal information, anywhere from streaming services to shopping accounts and anything in between. To avoid such, you should check out the websites’ reviews before sharing your information, especially if you have to link your online payment or credit card details.
Reviews will show you if the sites are legitimate or not. With internet protection software like an antivirus, you can keep away from such sites and prevent mishaps like credit card fraud.
- Keep Off Misleading Promotional Emails
If you have an email, you most probably have come across promotional messages from various companies and websites. While some of the mails are credible brand promotion strategies, some are not and will try to take your personal details for fraudulent purposes.
This move is phishing, where you receive emails purporting to be from reputable companies. They will try to coerce you to provide key details like card numbers or link your online payment methods. Most email servers will send such messages to the spam section to prevent fraud.
You should check the address of the email and if anything feels amiss, back out before you become a victim of online fraud.
- Blocking Some Sites
If you are not the sole user of your computer, you may need to block some sites, especially if you have minors around. They can access some sites that are not safe, some of which are home to predators or feature adult content. They may unknowingly give personal details, which may lead to far-fetched consequences. Block the sites and if possible, be keen on what your child or any minor in your house does online.
- Be Keen When Shopping Online
Online shopping is one of the best concepts in commerce, giving us a convenient way to purchase goods. You do not have to physically go to a shop to get your goods, which may seem to be a good thing. The downside, however, is that you may land on fraudulent shopping sites, which may take advantage of the lack of face to face contact to steal from you.
Stealing on these platforms comes in many ways, like delivering faulty or substandard goods, and in worse situations, you get no delivery. You have to be keen on the sites and check on the reviews to be sure you are not getting into a scam.
If the shopping sites offer ‘pay on delivery’ terms, the better, as you do not have to share your card information. But if you share your info, be careful to see warning signs that the site is fraudulent. If the platforms ask for passwords or access to some of your accounts, it may be an alarm signal.
Other Moves to Consider
The five listed moves are excellent to guarantee you a safe browsing experience, giving you an edge of immunity against hackers. Other moves to apply include having a strong password. Do not use common figures like your name, name of your spouse or children, or birthday, as they are the first guesses by hackers. Have a password that combines uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters – this will take a hacker deep wits to break it.
You can also install a firewall, which is one of the surest ways to keep off cyber-attacks.
The online domain is one of the most amazing hubs, where you can get a lot of things with the click of the search button of your search engine. A thing to keep in mind is your safety, considering that 2019 had a $16.9 billion loss resulting from online frauds.
If you are an avid internet user, this article is an asset to you, giving you a clear picture of the state of online security and providing you five invaluable tips to keep safe. Follow the highlighted moves and have a safe and secure browsing session.