The reach of the Internet today is incredible, bringing together millions of people who wouldn’t otherwise have ever connected. People in underrepresented communities have found a new voice through social media, and entire new industries have been created because of the Internet. It’s safe to say that this new technology and all the advances it brings are a positive development in human history.
However, the internet is not without its dark side: cybercrime. Cybercrime damage costs are expected to hit $6 trillion annually by 2021. With the many scams and data leaks that have been occurring in recent years, it’s more important than ever to keep your data safe and secure. Otherwise, you risk all sorts of personal information being compromised: your financial information, personal data, even your identity. Here are just a few ways to keep your information safe in this new digital era.
Looks Can Be Deceiving
Just because a website or email appears legitimate doesn’t mean that it is. Most people are fairly easily fooled by a trustworthy-looking website. In fact, a recent survey showed 96% of consumers cited design over content as the main reason they trusted a site. People tend to believe convincing graphics, such as an official looking-seal or email header.
However, these are incredibly easy to fake with any basic coding knowledge or design software. Make sure you read the content carefully to see if the source is actually what it claims to be.
Don’t Fall For Middlemen
Scammers looking for your information will sometimes pose as “middlemen” for larger organizations that you plausibly could owe money or information to, such as departments of government or large corporations. However, there is a strong chance that this middleman is actually looking to obtain your personal information for more nefarious means. Recently, several students have been receiving emails supposedly from someone acting on the behalf of the students’ universities; these students were conned out of their tuition in some cases.
Never Send Money In Advance
If an online business or organization claims that they will need an advance payment, be on high alert. Sometimes, scammers will pose as legitimate businesses, only to vanish after they’ve obtained your money. This is also true of emails promising free products; if you have to pay taxes and fees first, it’s very unlikely you’ll see the eventual prize.
If you are planning to make a payment online or send money using an Internet service, ensure that you have a secure connection. Look for HTTPS at the start of the URL; this indicates that the connection is encrypted and that your financial information will be secure.
When online, use caution, and you’ll be able to ensure that your data and personal information is safe. Avoid scams by keeping an eye on content, steering clear of middlemen, and making sure your online payments are secure.