Online Scam Awareness: Staying Safer at Uncertain Times

Web fraud awareness: Ensuring safety in times of uncertainty

By adapting to a changed world, bad actors also change the tactics they use to exploit people. You may have encountered systems that use fear and anxiety to make you click, buy or respond to malicious messages. Fortunately, a little awareness goes a long way in recognizing the scam below and protecting you and your family.

Fish letters

Our new standard means that many personal transactions are processed by e-mail.  We now rely on email to communicate with schools on a daily basis, update information from our local businesses and much more. Using this knowledge, online scammers create emails and use sensitive and relevant topics to entice you to provide personal information.

Irritation test

A common form of fraud today is a false declaration from the government or tax office asking you to provide personal details or fill out a tax form to get government checks, which can lead to identity theft. The government doesn’t send e-mails.

Health warnings

Another popular scam is now playing on a sensitive topic: our health. Examples include letters disguised as letters from reputable health organisations such as the CDC, in which you are asked to click on the link to read health news in your area. The link may download dangerous malware to your device.

Working from home

While many of us now work from home, we see scams that take advantage of this, such as the CEO scam, which falsifies the email address of someone in a dominant position in your workplace.  E-mails from this fake account usually contain house rules or precautions and ask you to download the attached policy sheet, which may contain malicious code.

Delivery notification

Today, more than ever, we depend on home delivery.  Recent scams warn you that your order or account is on hold until you have verified certain information, or that you need to click on an attachment to see the delivery time. They often forge popular e-commerce sites like FedEx or Amazon and deliver malware directly to your inbox.

Social Media Fraud

Beware of social media platforms. Fraudsters use these places to advertise counterfeit drugs, wholesale medical devices and other programs that are no different from those used in the phishing emails mentioned above.

Counterfeit e-commerce sites

Hundreds of new e-commerce sites are popping up, offering hard to find products, medical devices and more. Some of them are legitimate middlemen hoping to make a quick profit, but others are fake websites that want to collect your personal and financial information.

Protect yourself with these 5 tips

  • Learn how to recognize suspicious emails: Check your email address by hovering over it with the mouse. Does the address extension correspond to the address of the company represented by the e-mail? Other red flags to watch out for are printing errors, grammatical errors and the use of general greetings such as Dear Lord.
  • If you receive a suspicious request from someone at work, a friend or family member, review the message with that person immediately before you open or reply.
  • When searching for medical or financial information on the Internet, consult reputable sources such as government and public websites and the CDC. Never reply to unsolicited e-mails and never click on the links in them.
  • When you shop or surf online, you go directly to reputable websites instead of clicking on suspicious advertisements, links or emails.
  • Make sure you constantly update your security solutions on all devices. This helps protect your devices from malware, phishing attacks and other threats, and identify malicious websites as you surf.

To stay up to date with the latest McAfee news and get more information on how to leave your home safely, follow @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listen to our Hackable? podcast and enjoy it on Facebook.

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