Most of our online presence has increased during the lockdown period, but so have the incidents of cybercrime. Being vigilant while conducting your business is crucial to avoid having your personal information hijacked and used to steal what matters the most to you. We have four tips to protect you from cybercriminals.
Avoid opening links that are not verified or secured
Whether you have received a link through email or SMS, always check if the link is from a sender that you know, or it is secured. Links that have the organisations names misspelt or do not have a padlock on the top left corner by the web address are usually not secure, which also means it’s a portal that has been created by scammers. Avoid downloading files on such sites as it could result in you downloading malicious files that can corrupt your phone or PC.
They require you to take immediate action
Another trick used by scammers is pressuring you into doing something immediately. Should you be required to take immediate action to either secure your spot or prevent you from missing out on something, then you could be the target of a scam. Always remember that financial institutions such as a bank, insurer or retailer will never ask you to share your personal information via email. Always check where the email is coming from to see if it is secure before replying.
An organisation will never send an email from a private account
Legitimate companies and organisations tend to have their own digital domains that belong to them. What this means is that any communication sent from them will always have the company name in the email address followed by ‘company name.co.za’, ‘company name.com’, or ‘company name.org’. Anything sent from a Gmail or another domain name is usually a scam. Keep in mind to never download any files that come from such addresses or anyone that you do not know.
Google to verify
In some cases, scammers have become advanced in copying legitimate sites. However, running a quick search on Google for a verified site (usually has a small green tick next to it) can help you see if whatever communication you have received is legitimate. Check the official site for their email and location to see if it matches what you have received before clicking or agreeing to anything.
Lastly, if the information you have received sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Social media is usually a breeding ground for fake information and scammers that request donations or advertise giveaways that are out of this world. Always remember to verify before taking action.