How to Protect Yourself From Scammers

The internet is a fantastic place, but it is also one where career criminals and opportunists wait, hoping to snare an unsuspecting person and scam them into handing over money or their identification. Some scams are easy to spot, others are not so much, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself from these unscrupulous people, and you should take them.

Scams have sadly been part of society since the beginning of time. Someone will always be willing to break the law when money is involved. Where one time these scammers would literally go through your trash to find your personal details, modern-day criminals are much more tech-savvy. You should spend some time protecting yourself and your devices if you are an internet user, which you obviously are if you are reading this article!

Use Your Common Sense

Use the common sense you were born with before you even worry about anti-virus software or installing software like Nord VPN and similar. Any emails or correspondence you receive from your bank, the IRS, or the HMRC, if you are within the United Kingdom, will always address you by your name, never simply by sir. They know your name, so why wouldn't they use it? Likewise, if you receive an email claiming you owe money because you have been breaking online sports betting California rules, but you live in New York, then scam should be the first word that enters your mind.

People often see claims they owe money or that a government agency has issued a warrant for their arrest, and they panic. Take a deep breath, and contact the number (not the one on the email, letter, or text message you have received) from the organization's official website if you are unsure.

Always Keep Your Operating System and Apps Up-To-Date

Having mobile applications or a computer's operating system that are outdated opens makes you vulnerable. While criminals continually look for ways to exploit software, software developers work equally hard to fix any vulnerabilities they discover. There is a reason that Windows forces upon you several updates each year and why your Facebook app on your iPhone needs updating regularly.
Keep every piece of software up-to-date to minimize the chances that it can be hacked and controlled by an outside source. Believe it or not, you do not need to spend a small fortune on the latest anti-virus products because most are not worth the money. Windows Defender, the free anti-virus tool built into Microsoft Windows, is more than adequate for the vast majority of internet users.

People Can Crack Your Password If It Is Easy

It is essential to use a strong password for your online accounts, to have a different password for each account, and to protect those passwords as if your life depended on it. Never use personal information for your passwords. So many people use the names and dates of birth of their loved ones. Also, how many of you have answered random Facebook posts about your favorite band from the 80s, your first pet, and similar? You are handing over potential password-cracking information!

The best, strongest passwords are at least eight-to-ten characters long and are a mixture of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special symbols. Creating such a password would make it impossible for the average hacker hoping to obtain your details quickly.
What is the best way to choose a strong password? Look around where you are sitting and see if anything stands out. Do it again and select an item or thing. Where I am writing this article from, those two things are a lamp and a computer mouse. Having "lampmouse" as a password wouldn't be terrible, but by swapping letters for numbers, etc., I can create the password "L4mpM0u5E". Good luck guessing that password!
In 2003, more than 10 million Americans fell victim to identity theft.

Identity theft costs business and individuals $53 billion dollars annually

In 2003, Americans spent 300 million hours resolving issues related to identity theft.

70% of all identity theft cases are perpetrated by a co-worker or employee of an affiliated business.