Tip #1: Frauds and Scams To Watch Out For

McRae Capital Management’s Cybersecurity Series

Have you ever come across any of the following:

• An email that appears to be from your bank, stating there’s been suspicious activity on your account and urging you to click a link to verify your information. 

• A pop-up message on your computer claiming to be from a reputable tech company, stating that your system is infected with a virus. The message provides a phone number to call for immediate assistance. 

• A friend sends you a message asking for urgent financial help due to an emergency.  

• A phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS. They threaten legal action, such as an arrest, if you don’t immediately pay supposed back taxes or fees over the phone. 

• A text from UPS asking you to click on a link to resolve a problem with your delivery. 

Stay informed about the latest cyberthreats and scams. Awareness is your best defense against becoming a victim.

In today’s increasingly digital world, cyber scams have become a prevalent threat, targeting individuals, businesses, and organizations alike. These scams come in various forms, and it’s crucial to be aware of their existence to protect yourself from falling victim. 

Cyber scams are deceptive and fraudulent activities conducted over the internet with the intent of tricking individuals into providing sensitive information, money, or access to their devices or networks. These scams can take many forms, but they generally involve some level of social engineering to exploit human psychology and trust. Common types of cyber scams include phishing, ransomware attacks, online shopping fraud, identity theft, and investment scams.

Below are just a few of the more common attacks.

  • Phishing Attacks: Phishing attacks are among the most prevalent financial cyber scams. These scams involve cybercriminals sending fraudulent emails, messages, or texts that appear to be from reputable institutions, such as banks, government agencies, or even well-known companies. They often contain urgent requests for personal information, account credentials, or payment details. To protect yourself, be cautious when clicking on links or downloading attachments from unsolicited messages. Always verify the sender’s authenticity and double-check the web address for secure connections (https://) when providing sensitive information. 

  • Identity Theft: Identity theft is a financial cybercrime where criminals steal your personal information, such as Social Security numbers, credit card details, or bank account information, to commit fraudulent activities. To protect yourself, use strong, unique passwords for each online account, enable multi-factor authentication whenever possible, and monitor your financial statements and credit reports regularly for any unauthorized transactions. You may want to consider freezing your credit by reaching out to the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.   

  • Ransomware Attacks: Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts your files, rendering them inaccessible until you pay a ransom to the cybercriminals. To prevent falling victim to ransomware attacks, avoid clicking on suspicious links or downloading files from unknown sources. Regularly back up your data to an offline location to minimize the impact of a potential attack.  

Being vigilant is your first line of defense.

Cyber fraud and scams are ever-present threats that can have devastating consequences for victims. By staying informed about these common scams and adopting cautious online practices, you can protect your finances and personal information. Remember to verify the authenticity of online communications, use strong security measures, and trust your instincts when something seems suspicious. Being proactive and vigilant is your best defense against financial cyber threats. 

Find out more at these links: 

• The FBI’s updated list of common scams 

• Cyber-scam scenarios to watch out for

• A helpful glossary of common scams