Although the hassle of making sure you order your gifts online in time for the holidays has come and gone, online cybercrime and scams are here to stay. In fact, Dothan (AL) police Sgt. Tim Mullis says “Each year, the number of cybercrimes increases. But, that is only the cases we know about. Several cybercrimes go unreported.”
As you make your New Year’s resolutions, remember that you aren’t the only ones dedicated to bettering themselves in 2020. Online scammers are always looking for new and innovative ways to take advantage of us.
Continue reading to learn more about the top 3 online scams you must be able to spot and avoid in 2020.
According to Techcrunch.com, mobile gaming accounted for nearly 50% of the global gaming market in 2019 at $68.5 billion, and cybercriminals aren’t ignorant of this fact at all. A scammer simply sends a text message containing a link to a quiz or mobile game, asks for a few bits of personal information and gains access to your account and phone.
How to Avoid: If you receive a text message with a link, don’t click it. You should only interact with text messages from people you know. Also, be cautious about entering your card information on your phone for verified games as well. It’s best to buy a Visa gift card at a store if you are going to be making online purchases through your phone.
Many scam artists will threaten to ruin your reputation by claiming they will release incriminating pictures or information online if you don’t promise to give them your private information or pay them a certain amount of money. What they are using as leverage may or may not be real.
How to Avoid: Make sure your private information is secure and never share any photos, accounts or personal information online with strangers or people you barely know. Always double check your devices to make sure they are locked when not in use.
This is one of the most difficult scams to avoid since cybercriminals are always getting better at illegally accessing online accounts. There are several ways a scammer can hack your social media account, so make sure you are careful with what you post and what sites you visit.
How to Avoid: Don’t click or share any link that looks remotely suspicious—not even if it will increase your views or followers. It’s just not worth it. Don’t follow any account that appears to be new or has a minimal amount of posts. More than likely, the account was created solely as a means to steal users’ information.