ad collaborative post // Cyberattacks are much more than a nuisance. These crimes can cost individuals and companies billions of dollars yearly, but the most considerable price may be lost resources and reputation. You can’t effectively function in a consumer society without access to cash or credit, and customers understandably shy away from doing business with organizations with a history of security breaches.

What should you know to safeguard yourself, loved ones and income streams? Here are three tips for avoiding modern online scams:

1. Understand How Cybercriminals Strike

The first step in planning your defense against modern online scams is understanding the enemy’s plan of attack. Some of the most frequently seen types of attacks include the following:

  • Phishing and spear-fishing: These include misleading emails indistinguishable from the authorized sender or interjecting unauthorized correspondence in an otherwise authorized email chain.
  • Lookalike websites: These may resemble the host site with a minor misspelling, inviting customers to enter personal information, which thieves then use for nefarious purposes.
  • Traffic theft: Misleading websites that redirect customer traffic to pay-per-click sites.
  • Counterfeiting: Selling fake goods — often online — that resemble the real deal but offer few of the benefits.

Understanding how cybercriminals attack is vital to avoid mistakes that your protection software can’t buffer you against. Even the best antivirus software can’t prevent you from typing in your bank account or credit card information into a lookalike site that harvests it for internet thieves.

For example, one of the most common phishing attacks resembles legitimate correspondence from a bank or other financial institution. You’re then prompted to log into your account to fix the issue — but in doing so, provide your login credentials to thieves.

What should you do? Navigate directly to your bank’s website instead of clicking on emailed links and contact their customer service line when you feel unsure. Talking to customer service provides another benefit — it alerts institutions to new threats, helping them defend everyone’s safety online more efficiently.

2. Protect Your Devices and Network

What else can you do to avoid modern online scams besides educating yourself? One thing you should learn is the importance of keeping your devices updated. These software pushes do more than activate new features — they also implement security patches to protect against known threats. Failing to do so is like skipping a vaccine with years of scientific research demonstrating its efficacy.

Additionally, you should invest in up-to-date antivirus and antimalware software. Firewalls can help block threats from malicious websites before they infect your computer.

Finally, be vigilant. Regularly review your credit card and bank statements to look for unauthorized charges. Use technology to check for known breaches and take action if they have impacted your data.

3. Educate Those Around You

Police keep people safer, but neighborhood watch groups also play a valuable role in protecting people from crime. The same principle applies to the internet. It’s easier to defend against new threats when you have extra eyes keeping track of what’s happening.

Business leaders should implement annual or biannual awareness training for all staff, including those who don’t regularly use technology in their direct roles. It only takes one mistake for a breach to occur, affecting multiple other departments.

Help out your friends and family members, too. Don’t poke fun at people who lack the technological savvy or online safety education you have. Instead, show them the ropes so everyone can collectively design a safer internet.

Stay Ahead of the Scammers

Cybercrime is a serious issue. Modern online scams cost trillions of dollars annually, but you can help combat them with the right savvy. Educate yourself about modern online scams and how to keep yourself safe. Share your knowledge with others to create a better internet for all.

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