Over the weekend, I received an email from my godmother, saying, “sorry for the short notice, but I’m stuck in Malaysia with no passport and lost all my money; if I could help wire her some money, she’ll return it as soon as possible.” Thankfully, I disregarded this email since I just spoke to my godmother two days ago and she wasn’t planning to go anywhere. My godmother’s email was hacked into, and I would have been a victim of fraud if I actually wired money to her “account”.
Emails like this have been happening a lot lately, where some individuals weren’t as lucky as I was and actually lost their money or personal information to these criminals. This incident is just one of many forms that hackers use to harm your computers, steal your personal information, or worst a company’s information. Social networks are a major risk. There have been incidents in which company employees receive emails through Facebook stating, “Look at the picture I took of you at this event,” with a link below the statement, once the link is clicked on a virus has invaded the company’s information.
In today’s day and age we have to be aware of what is going around us. There are steps that you can take to decrease your chances of becoming a victim, and to help catch cyber-criminals at work:
- Be aware that there are people online who would like to gain access to your personal information. Do not share this information unless you have initiated the exchange or are absolutely sure of who is receiving it.
- Install security and scanning software onto your computer to protect it from online hacking.
- If you are concerned about an email you receive from a company, contact that company by phone to verify the information. If there is a web link provided in the email, type it directly into your browser instead of using the link or copying and pasting it, as some links can be redirected to other sites.
- Regularly check your credit card and bank statements and keep track of your transactions. Also, log into your online accounts frequently. This way, you will be able to notice any changes to your account soon after it happens.
For more information on staying safe from cyber crime, please visit www.ncpc.org .