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Do you really want to open that email? Best digital anti-fraud tactics outlined

Worried about Internet fraud? These useful tech tips may put your mind at rest.

Worried about Internet fraud? These useful tech tips may put your mind at rest.
Worried about Internet fraud? These useful tech tips may put your mind at rest.

Digital fraud and cybercrime are modern problems and many people are at risk across the world. Despite the prevalence of such crimes, some countries appear to be more vulnerable than others. For example, the U.K. appears to be particularly vulnerable when the nation is compared with other European counties. Much of this fraud appears to be related to the Internet and scam emails and websites.

READ MORE: Fraud across Europe: UK tops the most vulnerable country list

Looking into the issue for Digital Journal is Nick Baker, broadband expert at Uswitch.com. Baker has outlined some useful tips for readers to avoid fraud and to remain safe online.

According to Baker:“Fraudsters are becoming ever more sophisticated in their methods, creating scams for all types of products and services, such as loans, dating, holidays, and business opportunities.

Baker further explains that all groups within the population are vulnerable and it is a mistake to think of fraud only hitting the elderly or less tech savvy. Instead, everyone is vulnerable.

Baker explains: “Sadly, people of all ages can fall victim to fraud. Not only do online scams target vulnerable individuals, but they also go after major corporations, smaller businesses, and the public sector.”

Many people have suffered from either financial fraud or a loss of personal data, or a combination of the two.

He adds that there are measures that can be undertaken to avoid scam. Baker describes these as: “There are, however, several ways to avoid falling for internet scams. With better knowledge and an awareness of the different types of online fraud, you can spot these scams before it’s too late.”

In terms of specific actions, Baker recommends:

  1. Check your social media privacy settings – You can prevent online identity fraud by making sure you have your privacy settings on your social media set appropriately. Also, make sure you never post personal information online as it’s an easy way for hackers to use it to attempt to access your accounts.
  2. Only trust encrypted websites – Encrypted websites start with “https” instead of “http.” The “s” in “https” stands for “secure”. It’s not a guarantee the site is safe, but it’s an indicator that it’s more secure.
  3. Watch out for links and attachments from unknown sources – Be cautious with email attachments as they can be disguised as malware that will download a virus to your computer. Don’t click on links in an email that you are suspicious of, as what may look like a trustworthy hyperlink can be a disguised link to a fake website.
  4. Turn on two-factor authentication – This is a type of security feature that requires two forms of authentication, such as your password plus a special code sent to your phone. It’s an extra layer of protection in case your password is stolen.
  5. Be careful when shopping online – Research retailers online to make sure they’re legitimate. Where possible, pay using a credit card as you will have more protection. Alternatively, use an online service like PayPal, as scammers will be less likely to get hold of your bank details.

Baker concludes stating: “If you suspect you’ve been the target of an online scam, report it to the authorities.”

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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