Last week, new research from TransUnion indicated that cyber crime is on the rise in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Because so many people have been sheltering at home, over the past few months, they have generally spent more time online. Cyber criminals have taken advantage of this, and according to TransUnion, one in four people has been targeted. Of those who were targeted, the same research showed that one in ten was successfully fooled, with an average of £500 being stolen between March 23 and May 13. Those numbers aren’t exactly comforting, but there is good news: if you’re careful when browsing online, this can be easily avoided. Not sure how to tell what’s real and what’s a scam? We’ve got you covered. 

How to Spot a Scam

One of the most common scams cyber criminals have taken to using in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic is requesting funds in one way or another. Now, these scams won’t always be as straightforward as you might think; yes, some will ask you for your bank or credit card details outright in emails rife with misspelled words. That’s not always the case, however. Some of these scams may come in the form of coupons or offers for products that don’t exist, such as antibacterial cleaners or new types of masks. Other types of scams can include cheap offers for fake COVID-19 home testing, or even cleaning services designed specifically to kill the virus. These offers can appear on social media, in emails, or even in snail mail, so it’s always best to be wary before purchasing anything, especially if the offer seems too good to be true. Do your research, and look into the company/website in question to make sure it’s legitimate first. Check customer reviews, and google information about the company to find external sources that may have further information on the product/offer in question.  

Further Steps

Knowing how to pick out scams when you encounter them online is the best way to keep your accounts safe and secure, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fall victim to these types of cyber attacks, however. Attacks in the form of data breaches have continued to occur in full force, despite the locked down state of the world, and oftentimes, they happen to people through no fault of their own. That’s why it’s important to also keep your personal information secure even when you’re not purchasing anything, and a big part of that is password security.

It may seem like  a worn out piece of advice at this point, but keeping a secure password is one of the most important steps you can take towards protecting your personal information. This includes, but isn’t limited to: 

  • Keeping your passwords longer and more complex
  • Include a mix of special characters, numbers, uppercase, and lowercase letters
  • Never share your password with others online 
  • Use two-factor authentication whenever possible 
  • Never use personal information, such as significant dates, in passwords

While many of these tips may seem straightforward, they are still as relevant as ever in keeping your personal information personal. In the wake of this global pandemic, don’t make the easy mistakes that so many others are making. Here at ScoresMatter, we want all of our customers to be as safe as they possibly can online, because their security matters to us. 

For more resources, tips, and tricks, make sure to check back here to the ScoresMatter Blog!