In an era where an average person’s screen time per day is 6 hours and 58 minutes, the internet has become a land of opportunity and endless possibilities. However, this convenience comes with a downside as scammers and fraudsters have made it a rich hunting ground to exploit unsuspecting individuals. According to a Global Anti-Scam Alliance (GASA) report, $55.3 billion was lost to scams in 2022 which highlights a need for more vigilance
With this in mind, it’s essential to arm yourself with the right tools to safeguard your financial and personal well-being. But how do you do that with swindlers changing tact over and over again? Well, it’s not all doom and gloom as you can outsmart scammers in 3 simple steps.
Step 1: Educate Yourself
Scammers are relentless in their pursuit of your hard-earned money. To beat this, you need to arm yourself with the relevant knowledge of how scams work. Some of the most common tricks scammers use include;
- Phishing Emails
- Fake Websites
- Impersonating Tech Support
- Investment and Ponzi Schemes
- Romance Scams
- Lottery and Prize Scams
- Cryptocurrency mining and trading scams
- Overpayment Scams
- Social Engineering Calls
- Charity Frauds
- Online Auction and Classifieds Scams
- Ransomware Attacks
- Job Offer Scams
- Government Grant Scams
However, it’s important to note that scammers don’t always follow a single format and they will seamlessly blend any two or more scams. For instance, recently, pig butchering scams, which have been on the rise, often involve romance scams and investment and or crypto scams. Knowing what’s trending in the world of scams can help prevent you from becoming a victim.
To bolster your knowledge, consider attending the Global Anti-Scam Summit, set to take place on 18–19 October 2023 in the vibrant city of Lisbon, Portugal. This summit will serve as a gathering point for experts from around the globe, converging to discuss the latest trends in scamming and to share strategies for prevention.
Attending such an event not only broadens your horizons but also connects you with like-minded individuals committed to the battle against scams.
Step 2: Protect Your Personal Information
Scammers will do anything just to obtain your personal information, which they can then use for malicious purposes. To outsmart these digital criminals, it is crucial to jealously guard your personal data. Start by crafting strong, unique passwords for your online accounts, steering clear of easily guessable information such as birthdays or names.
Additionally, implementing two-factor authentication (2FA) whenever possible provides an additional layer of security, making it significantly more challenging for scammers to breach your accounts even if they manage to obtain your password.
Never give out your personal data over the phone, no matter how important the other person makes you believe. No legitimate business or even government will ever ask for your information online. Furthermore, scrutinize any and every payment-seeking website as scammers are now using e-skimming software to steal your data. Double-check the URL and if anything looks out of place, avoid the website.
Step 3: Stay Skeptical and Verify
Scammers are skilled at creating convincing stories and using emotional manipulation to lure their victims. To outsmart them, it’s crucial to maintain a healthy level of skepticism. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Be cautious of unsolicited emails, messages, or phone calls that promise you quick riches or demand urgent action.
Always verify the legitimacy of requests for money or personal information. Contact the supposed sender or organization directly using official contact information to confirm the request’s authenticity. Avoid clicking on suspicious links or downloading attachments from unknown sources.
Furthermore, keep your computer and smartphone up to date with the latest security software and patches. Scammers often exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software to gain access to your devices.
As Prof. Jorij Abraham, General Manager of GASA says, “a scam is the only crime you can fall for. At the end of the day, scams are evolving and so should your scam defense mechanisms. If you are to outsmart the fraudsters, you need to be proactive and always on your toes.”
By educating yourself about the latest scamming tactics, protecting your personal information, and staying skeptical while verifying requests, you can reduce your risk of falling victim to scams. Remember to mark your calendar for the Global Anti-Scam Summit, 18–19 October 2023 in Lisbon, Portugal, where you can gain valuable knowledge and join the global effort to combat scams.
Stay informed, stay safe, and stay ahead of the game!
The Global Anti-Scam Alliance is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to fighting fraud and cybercrime worldwide. CyAN has an MoU with GASA, and we fully support their mission.
Help Turn the Tide on Scams with the Global Anti-Scam Alliance at https://www.gasa.org