How Not to Get Phished (and be a cyber-crime victim) Before the Holidays!


by , via HuffPost |

$500 Billion is the estimated cost of cybercrime as of 2015 based on various reports. How does that affect business and what fears and opportunities that it present for tomorrow? Let’s take a different perspective.

According to the World Economic Forum, a majority of cybercrime overall goes undetected. Globally the cybersecurity industry is estimated to be worth approximately $170 Billion by 2020.

According to research and surveys conducted by ONS, 2.5 million cybercrime offences between May and August 2015 were conducted.

Here are some scams that have been hitting us more than usual. With the holiday season upon us and even a greater opportunity for scammers to take advantage of peoples vulnerability to find the nest best deal, its best to be aware and be ready for any scams you may come across.

Amazon Users & Phishing Campaigns
Amazon users are one of the largest user base that is generally targeted by cyber criminals during the holiday season. Some of the sly traps the cyber criminals have laid down are Ad Poisoning, essentially hijacking your computer just because you clicked on the wrong links.

Email from Nigeria Promising a Large Inheritance
If you don’t know about it yet that’s fine. Please stop responding to any emails that promise a large sum of money from a war torn area, Nigeria, Syria, Iraq or for that matter anywhere else. These scams have costed people a lot more than they bargained for.

Desperate Help Needed
You may get an email form someone in your email contact list asking for desperate help because they got stranded in a different country or city. Many such emails are going around where you are 100% convinced that it indeed your friend or loved one asking for genuine help. Do yourself a favour and call them before you actually end up panicking and sending the wad of cash. This is also part of the business emails scam going around where top executives seem to be sending emails to their secretaries and financial people to send an immediate money transfer.

Tech Support Scam
If you get a call from a company that promises to solve all your computer problems and provide unbelievable tech support for pennies. After asking for your credit card, your personal information may get compromised.

Ransomware Scam
Cybercriminals are finding unique ways to get to their means. The Ransomware scam really hols your computer on ramson until a payment is made. a A typical scenario would be that you are browing the internet and you suddenly get a warming window on your browser that says the FBI has now taken control of your computer because of malicious activity. You would typically clikc on a link to learn more, which in turn may install malicious code on your computer that would render it unworkable. The only way out would be to pay the demand. To avoid getting fooled, avoid clicking on any webpages that may seem like an overkill. Close the browser window and make sure you have all your antivirus and malware protection software upto date.

Other scams that you may or may not have heard of include

  • Syrian Boy Scam
  • Ashley Madison Scam
  • Facebook Dislike Button Scam

Here is also a compilation of Top Scams for 2015 as provided by BBB (Better Business Bureau).

  1. Top Auto Scam – Automotive Online Pricing
  2. Top Emotional Scam – Disaster Charity Fraud
  3. Top Identity Theft – Remote Computer Repair
  4. Top Social Media Scam – Fake Facebook Friend Request
  5. Top Romance Scam – Catphishing/Online Dating scam
  6. Top Utilities Scam – Fake Billing
  7. Top Finance Scam – Online Affinity Fraud
  8. Top Sales Scam – Redirected Robocalls
  9. Top Big Data Scam – Big Box Breach
  10. Top Ad Scam – Fake Online Reviews

3 Steps to Protect Yourelf

Due diligence would mean being extra careful and vigilant. Avoid becoming a victim by at least doing the following things.

  • Updating your computer with the latest antivirus and malware protection solutions
  • Avoid clicking on any get rich quick schemes or unbelievable discounts.
  • Trust content ONLY from trusted websites.

Be safe and enjoy the holidays !

Ian Khan

Tech Influencer, Business Author & Speaker helping people enhance their lives and careers through personal development and the right use of technology