The latest FBI Internet Cybercrime Report paints a bleak picture. Last year, Americans lost more than $6.9 billion to cybercriminals.
Don’t think you’re too smart to fall for their tricks. Even smart people can be scammed before they realize what happened.
Maybe it’s too late and you’ve noticed unexpected pop-ups or your phone getting hot when you’re not using it. Here’s how to tell if a hacker or snooper is already on your smartphone.
Avoiding cybercriminals sounds like a feat, but it doesn’t have to be that difficult. Knowledge is power. I will explain the mistakes you could be making.
You think free means safe
Taking advantage of “free” Wi-Fi can cost you more than money. Public networks are not secure and are easy to hack. I’m not just talking about airports. Your local coffee shop, salon, or anywhere that doesn’t password-protect its network leaves you and your data vulnerable.
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Since this network is open for you to use, packet sniffers are available online and capture every keystroke you type. Think about this. Criminals can see and collect your passwords.
Use a virtual private network when you need to access the Internet and are away from a secure wireless network. A VPN uses an encrypted connection to protect against intruders.
You can also use your phone as a hotspot.
you skip the updates
Known for rescheduling software updates but never installing them? If you often hit the “remind me later” button, you’re asking for trouble. Don’t prevent your system from receiving the latest security tools and patches needed to fight off attackers and malware.
Updates are annoying when you’re in the middle of your workday, so schedule them late at night when you’re not using your computer.
You answer when a scammer calls
Sometimes those scam numbers are very convincing. You recognize the area code and maybe even the first few numbers, or maybe it’s your phone number. you pick up That’s when a scammer has the opportunity to sink their claws into you.
If you see Scam Likely, or any term displayed by your carrier and phone, do not respond. I often hear from listeners of my national radio show who like to play phone scammers. They egg them on and pretend they’re interested.
This is not too bright. You never know if that person is recording her voice for nefarious purposes or even making a fake audio recording of you later.
You have a lot of old unused accounts
The more online accounts you have, the higher your risk when hackers call. With a new breach around every corner, your usernames and passwords are not secure.
The first step is to check your email inbox and phone for accounts you no longer use. Then get rid of them. That’s not always the easiest thing to do.
Some accounts are impossible to delete, and some sites hide their delete links, and you have to dig pretty deep to find them.
This takes some time, but it’s worth it. When the inevitable data breach is announced from a site you used once, you’ll be glad you did.
you click accept
When was the last time you read the terms and conditions of a site or service? You’re not alone. It probably means that you are allowing companies to collect your private data.
I’m not suggesting that you read every word because I know that’s not realistic. But there is a clever way to at least check a few things.
On a Windows PC, use Control + F.
On a Mac, use Command + F.
Now write terms like “third party”, “GPS”, “tracking” and “data”. You’ll get a quick look at how your information is used.