We can't deny that technological growth has impacted all our lives. It has allowed us to cure diseases and stay connected with family and friends worldwide. Unfortunately, technology has also opened the door for criminals to find their next victims. It seems like everywhere you turn, there is another warning about a potential scam going on and to be on alert because it could happen to you too. Unfortunately, they aren't wrong. Cybercriminals' attempts to attack their victims only continue to increase, and since the increase in remote work these last few years, the art of cyber attacks has gotten more creative. These crimes have become a criminal's work of art, from phishing emails to love scams. While cybercrime is becoming more imaginative, there are always the tell-tale signs that it is an attack similar to an artist's signature on a piece of artwork. It is being aware of these signs and being able to spot red flags that empower you to beat the attacker.
What harm could these criminals who hide behind their computers truly do? This is a simple question with a scary answer. Cybercrimes can hack into your computer, phone, and even your life to collect enough information to steal your identity, which can cost you time and money to recover. Once they have stolen your ID, they can open credit cards to make a large purchase, effectively ruining your credit score. They might even use your ID to impersonate you to commit other crimes that, in return, link back to you, meaning you are the one facing criminal charges. Other cyber criminals convince you to trust them enough to "lend" them money, the money you might not have, the money you will never get back.
Keeping your identity intact and your family members or loved ones safe from these attackers starts with knowing how to detect an attack. Be on alert to spot the red flag warning before it is too late!
Follow these best practices to keep yourself from becoming the next victim:
Email – If you receive a suspicious or unexpected email, look closely at it. Look for misspellings, timestamps, email addresses and logos. If there is a link, DO NOT click on it until you confirm it is a legitimate email. Be wary if the email seems urgent and wants you to provide sensitive information or wants you to use a link to provide sensitive information. See the phishing email below to spot some of these red flags:
Text Messages – Text phishing messages are a trending and easy way for scammers to reach potential victims. If you receive a text message from a number you were not expecting or don't have saved as a contact, verify where it is coming from before responding or clicking any links. There are many ways you can verify phone numbers. An option is to Google the number to see if it comes up as a scammer's number or Google who they are claiming to be and if it is a business or non-profit. Typically, legitimate companies and non-profits have a number on their website that you can call to verify they sent out a text message.
Phone Calls – Many cybercriminals will call pretending to be someone from the agency or the FBI, warning you that you have been hacked and that to resolve the issue, they need sensitive information. DO NOT give out any sensitive information. Sensitive information includes simple information like your mother's maiden name and confidential information like your social security number. Immediately hang up the phone and call us or the police, depending on the severity and information the criminal is trying to obtain.
We want you to know that you are not alone! Your team here at Banner Marketing is here for your support. If you receive any suspicious emails, social media notifications, texts, or phone calls and are unsure if they are legitimate, please don't hesitate to reach out to us. Also, forward any screenshots or emails you receive before clicking on any links or moving forward with any phone calls.
The importance of seeing the signs, the signature, before you become a victim can make the difference between winning or losing. Understand the different ways cybercriminals can attack you by familiarizing yourself with their games. Don't become a victim of these criminals, a pawn in their twisted game and don't let them win!