Technological advancements are designed to make life easier. They boost convenience, improve research, and are essential for nearly every industry from healthcare to manufacturing. You undoubtedly use multiple forms of tech in your everyday life at work and at home.

While technology and its continued advancements have become ingrained in our culture, it has also given hackers and scammers more opportunities to steal sensitive information. From phishing scams to camera hacking, cybercriminals have gotten extremely creative when it comes to getting the information they want and potentially causing a lot of harm. Millions of people have been impacted by cybercrimes, and once someone has access to your data, it’s hard to secure everything once again.

Thankfully, the technology they’re trying to hack is the same tech you can use to boost fraud awareness and prevent it from happening to you. Because technology is such an important part of our society, it’s essential to know how to use it for more than just texting and social media. Let’s look at a few of the common types of scams and how to identify them, as well as some technologies that help protect people and businesses against fraud.

Identifying Common Cyber Crimes

It’s easy for the average person to assume they would know a scam if they saw one. However, hackers have become far more advanced in their techniques over the years. As technology has continued to advance, so have criminals.

It’s imperative to understand some of the most common cybercrimes used to steal data and information and know how to identify them easily.

Credit card scams are among the most common for both consumers and businesses, and hackers use everything from texts and emails to phone calls to get you to fall for their schemes. Some of the most popular credit card scams being utilized by hackers today include:

  • Phishing
  • Smishing
  • Catphishing
  • Threatening
  • Overcharging

These are all different types of “phishing” scams in some way – just performed differently. A typical phishing scam might include an email or phone call suggesting your bank account information has been compromised, and you need to provide information for your bank to secure it. Smishing is the same thing but done via text. Catphishing is often done via social media, where someone will create a fake account to appear as a real person in need of money or information that could compromise your sensitive data.

When in doubt, trust your gut and double-check everything. If you get an email or text from your “bank” asking for information, check the address or number it was sent from, and don’t hesitate to call your financial institution to verify. Assume that no financial institution will ever ask you for sensitive information over the phone and that the IRS isn’t going to demand money immediately over the phone. If something seems “phishy,” it likely is.

Technology That Can Protect Your Data

Whether you mostly use tech for personal reasons or you’re trying to protect your business from hackers, there are resources available that can protect you against fraud. It starts with a basic understanding of network security solutions. One of the easiest ways to protect yourself is to work with a reputable IT company that has expertise in data protection. Ideally, you can find a company that specializes in threat and vulnerability management – especially if you’re trying to protect your business. Not only will they be able to implement protections, but they’ll let you know where your “weak spots” are in terms of network security.

If you don’t have the time or resources to hire a professional IT service, that doesn’t mean you can’t use tech resources to protect yourself. Some of the best security solutions that can safeguard your information include:

  • DDoS shields
  • Network Threat Monitoring
  • DNS safeguards
  • VPNs
  • Password managers

If you’re not sure where to get started, invest in reputable antivirus software. Most can be downloaded directly to your computer or mobile device, and this can protect you from malware attacks and any other viruses that might try to attack your system.

Reducing User Error

With all of the technology available to protect your data, it’s only as good as the people using it. It’s essential to take the time to get to know how this type of tech works, so you can ensure it’s properly installed, updated, and utilized, especially if you’re a business with multiple people on a single network.

If you’re an average tech user who mostly uses the Internet to stay active on social media and shop, familiarize yourself with SSL — secure online websites and apps. Using a site with “HTTPS” is easy to overlook, but it’s an incredibly important security measure. Unsecured sites — especially online shopping sites or sites with your financial information — put you at risk of check-cashing fraud, phishing scams, and automatic withdrawal scams.

If you manage a business and you’re trying to secure your network, make sure cybersecurity training is part of your employee onboarding process. While human error will always be a risk factor, the more prepared and educated your team is, the better. You can also implement cybersecurity strategies like:

  • Web-filtering online communication
  • Improving password management
  • Creating frequent backups
  • Frequently updating software

Technology makes our current way of living possible. It’s an incredible tool when used the correct way. While cybercriminals will likely always exist and continue to home in on their efforts, you can stay one step ahead by using that same technology to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your livelihood.

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