At U.S. Computer Connection, we know there is nothing worse than dealing with Internet scammers. From petty password stealing to data breaches in large businesses and chains, Internet scammers are not picky about what they take from you and your system. In our years of providing small business IT solutions, we have come up with several tips for outsmarting Internet scammers.
Know the Types of Internet Scams
Most people are familiar with a few types of Internet scams, such as phishing. As a business owner or employee, the more you know, the safer you are. Phishing, a form of spoofing, is one of the most common scam types. According to Chron.com, phishing occurs when a scammer provides a legitimate-looking link to a bogus website. When an end user clicks on the link, he or she is asked to provide sensitive account or personal information such as Social Security numbers, banking information or even a home address. Once scammers have that information, they can use it against you. For example, releasing sensitive information can cause a black mark on your credit record.
Once they have your personal information, the next step up for scammers is often identity theft. Identity theft is one of the most devastating scams and one reason why we are so dedicated to providing small business IT solutions. Victims of identity theft can spend years, perhaps decades, proving who they are to get their basic needs met, as well as the needs of their families. Scammers often link identity-stealing software to legitimate-looking links, viruses, worms or other “bugs.” Watch out for links to loan offers, sweepstakes winnings or similar empty promises. If you find them on your computer, delete immediately.
Finally, scammers like using websites that sell products or services to commit credit card fraud. Business owners, particularly of small and mid-size businesses, must be especially careful here. Watch out for any site or link that does not have a secure HTML site or states that it saves customer data.
Strengthen Passwords and Related Security
Always use the strongest passwords possible, particularly on sensitive programs and files. Strong passwords will usually contain upper- and lowercase letters, at least one number and at least one symbol. If a computer program does not require this, tell your employees to include these components. Passwords should be changed frequently, at least once per month. Depending on the size and nature of your business, you may want to change them more often.
Do a Background Check
According to TruthFinder.com, “trust but verify” should be your new favorite phrase. Your company may have used the same websites over and over for years, but frequent background checks are always in order. If a new site looks suspicious, perform a check right away. Try to get in touch with an actual person on the other side of the website’s screen. Ask that person for references, real names, phone numbers, legitimate links and anything else that might help you verify they are who they say they are.
Read the Signs
Scammers are smooth. They will lavish you with praise and attention, flooding your email with special offers and opportunities. Scammers also require immediate action. Some scammers threaten you; for instance, you might get an email claiming you owe a bogus site or firm thousands of dollars. Never send information to any site that asks for money or sensitive information, unless you have thoroughly vetted it first.
If you have other questions about online scammers or want to know more about what we do, please contact U.S. Computer Connection today.