Popular Online ScamsWhile cyber security has evolved quite a bit over the years, and assailants are taking advantage of more conspicuous ways to sneak into your network undetected, the “same old, same old” remains a risk to your business and personal security.

Below are some of the most common internet security threats that everyone should be aware of, along with tips to protect yourself.

Phishing Scams

Phishing is everywhere, and continues to be a popular online scam because it’s an easy way to siphon critical information from an unsuspecting victim.

Phishing attacks are some of the most common internet security threats we face and are often accomplished through email communication mimicking a reputable source, and can be executed completely through email or on a cleverly disguised landing page. Phishing has also found its way into social networks in recent years.

Often, victims will hand over information such as account IDs, passwords, or even social security numbers or credit card numbers without blinking. Most phishing attacks try to mimic tech support branches at companies like Microsoft or Apple, but can also come from hackers acting as utility companies, social networks and other sources.

Never provide information, especially as critical as passwords, payment or identity information without express consent from a trusted source.

Fake Antivirus Software

A popular online scam hackers use is disguising themselves as a legitimate antivirus software and informing you that you have a virus. You then purchase the illegitimate antivirus software and now have a real virus and they have your credit card information.

Don’t click on or download anything from these prompts and ensure your computer is protected by legitimate antivirus software. And read things carefully!  For example, download Norton, not Nortan.

 Fake Shopping Websites

If an offer online sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Online shopping is more prevalent than ever before, and that makes replication of e-commerce retailers a popular online scam. Spammers will often scout out and purchase vulnerable domains and advertise great products at remarkably low costs.

Always look to ensure that an online retailer is BBB accredited and that their website is protected by an SSL. Know the general price of merchandise and understand what kind of sales margin would still generate a profit for a company. You’re not getting a real Coach bag for $20 online, you’re just not.

Congratulations! Now, Pay Up to Proceed

Some of the most common internet threats ask you to pay up to get something great. You’ve just won an all-inclusive vacation in a sweepstakes you never entered. You just got a great job offer you never interviewed for, let alone applied for. You just won the lottery but never purchased a ticket.  Unfortunately, in all three of these scenarios someone is trying to scam you. We’re sorry.

In most of these instances the catch is that you must pay a marginal fee to claim your prize or move forward in the application process. How can anyone fall for that?

We Can’t Forget About the Nigerian Prince

He’s one of the most popular online scams and he still needs your help. This scenario entered the US mainstream in the late 1970’s through standard mail, and evolved into an email scam in the 90s promising that for a small payment today, you’ll receive a much greater sum of money in the future. How can’t you trust royalty? Unfortunately, this scam has generated over $1.5 billion over the years, and that’s hard for us to wrap our heads around.

Protect Your Business with ThrottleNet

Along with helping develop policies to educate your workforce on cyber security, ThrottleNet is a full-service managed IT services provider committed to the security of your business. Contact us today to learn more about the benefits of outsourcing your IT operations to a trusted, locally-owned third-party.