Looking for a great deal?
Get ALL THREE of our new thank-you gifts when you donate $120.
This is a limited time offer – so act soon!
Browsing the internet and sending emails on desktops or smartphones is a part of life. But the same tech devices and applications that make routine tasks easy can also act as a gateway for fraudsters to find their next scam victim.
Here’s how technology can keep you safer online and away from financial scammers.
Fraudsters often mask themselves as legitimate companies like Amazon, Microsoft or Ebay. You might receive a message that appears to be from “Apple Support,” but the email address is gibberish — like this made up example: <djdi-1Ch@7Ei783Ki5o7GwFaskforcap.us>
For web addresses or URLs, check the spelling. Scammers sometimes make fake pages that look similar to real ones, but full of typos and errors.
You should also see a padlock icon in the browser window followed by https://. This means the site encrypts data it receives and transmits. If you’re unsure about a site’s safety, check Google’s Safe Browsing tool.
You know that password you’ve been recycling for the last decade? Fido123? Well, that’s one of the easiest ways for hackers to access your accounts. A password manager creates and stores all your passwords which you can access using just one pass code.
Software and app companies are constantly battling new security breaches. Once issues are discovered, a software patch is made to fix the problem. Keeping up with software updates means your computer and mobile devices will have the most recent tools to block malware or viruses.
Hackers can weasel their way into your computer and access your files. Your data can then be taken hostage, with fraudsters demanding a ransom, often in untraceable cryptocurrency denominations. In these ransomware scams, you could gamble and cough up some Bitcoins. But a better strategy is to backup your computer on a regular basis. That way you can restore your data from a backup and minimize losses. Windows and Mac users can follow the company’s built in backup systems.
From fake software updates to suspicious and salacious ads, popup windows are the disease vectors of the internet, often carrying ransomware, malware, spyware and viruses. As a general rule, you shouldn’t click, but if you do make sure it’s from a legitimate website. You might want to consider using popup blockers for your browser.
For resources to help you deal with financial scams and to read more about the “Brains and Losses” series, continue here.
“Brains and Losses” was made possible by Marketplace’s generous supporters, including the Park Foundation.
If you’re a member of your local public radio station, we thank you — because your support helps those stations keep programs like Marketplace on the air. But for Marketplace to continue to grow, we need additional investment from those who care most about what we do: superfans like you.
Your donation — as little as $5 — helps us create more content that matters to you and your community, and to reach more people where they are – whether that’s radio, podcasts or online.
When you contribute directly to Marketplace, you become a partner in that mission: someone who understands that when we all get smarter, everybody wins.