No matter how hard you try, chances are you will encounter online fraud. As part of International Fraud Awareness Week, here are some tips on what to do should you receive something suspicious online.
If you receive something suspicious online
You receive an email promising you wealth or health or love or whatever. First thing: don’t open the email. Mark it as spam and delete.
Oh you did open it? Well then whatever you do, do not click any of the links or download any of the attachments.
Clicking a link could lead not only to viruses, but to malware being installed on your computer. This is malicious code that could do things like track your key strokes and intercept messages to banking websites. That way fraudsters can gain access to your secret usernames and passwords.
Or it could be a phishing link if it asks you to enter personal details. Your bank will never send you a link in an email asking you to input information so be very careful before disclosing personal information via email links. This information could end up in the wrong hands and give fraudsters information that could be used to access your accounts.
Also, a link from an email may look and feel like it’s taken you to your bank’s website, but behind the scenes it is actually a front that captures the username and password you type in to allow the fraudsters to later use those same details to access your legitimate banking details.
Simply click ‘Back’, mark as spam and delete.
If you may have been infected
Oh no, you did click the link and download the attachment? Well then some damage may have been done. This needs to be escalated.
Hopefully you have some high quality anti-virus software (e.g. McAffee, Trend-Micro, etc) that prevented any infection before it happened.
Just to be sure, don’t use your computer for anything until you’ve run a scan using the anti-virus software, which should detect and remove the bad stuff.
If you don’t have any anti-virus, then now could be a good time to invest. It’s not that expensive, and could end up saving you lots of money down the road.
However, some professional help to clean up any damage may be required.
How to tell if you have been infected
Signs that your computer is infected include:
- Running slower than usual
- It’s doing weird things like changing your settings (e.g. instead of Google, your default search engine changes to something you’ve never heard of).
- More ads appearing than usual
- Your web experience looks a little different than normal
Remember: Prevention is better than cure
- Never write down or give your PIN number or online banking credentials to anyone
- Regularly check your account balances
- Never click on an email links from an unknown sender
Be aware that there are plenty more types of online scams out there, so to ensure you know the enemy, check out independent watchdog NetSafe.