Ward Off Online Scams With These Simple Tricks

Cybersecurity | January 18, 2022

Stop falling for scams, once and for all. 

If you’ve spent any amount of time on the internet lately (and we’ll go ahead and assume that you have, you’re here after all) then you probably already know a thing or two about online scams. The intense proliferation of digital schemes, frauds, and other threats over the past few years has made it almost impossible to be logged in without coming across your fair share of attacks.  

The keyword here being “almost.” 

While there’s no sure-fire way to avoid internet scams in their entirety, the experts at EMPIST do have a few tips and tricks up our sleeves to help you avoid them.  

Follow along. Here are just a couple of risk-reducing activities you can take to stop scammers today.  

Install Filters & Firewalls

Ad filters and firewalls alone won’t stop all scams, but they can certainly help. 

Installing protective software, no matter how reactive, is a good first step to warding off potential threats. Spam & virus filtering can keep your email clear of known risky senders and alert you when you’ve interacted with potential malware.  

It’s important to note, however, that these tools often do not properly protect against phishing attacks or other forms of social engineering. Installing cybersecurity software is no excuse to let your guard down! 

Hit That Block Button

Speaking of your guard, one of the simplest ways you can start protecting your personal information from scams is to get friendly with your block button.  

Get a friend invite from someone you don’t know? Block. Receive a suspicious message from a stranger’s account? Block. Even when spam messages come from a friend, you can’t be sure they haven’t been hacked. Blocking any communication from risky accounts and personnel is an easy way to get ahead of threats and can usually be undone if your suspicions turn out to be false.  

Punch Up Your Inbox

As turns out, the factory settings of your email inbox aren’t always the best for stopping scams.  

Luckily, there are ways you can better attune your email functionality to ward off cybercriminals. Using tailored spam filtering software, for one, will limit the amount of junk that ends up in your main folder. Utilizing augmented organizational tools like customized folders and tags can keep your email looking neat, allowing you to spot unwanted mail when it comes in. Setting up 2FA or MFA where applicable will also thwart potential hackers.  

Keep Your Devices Updated

It may not seem crucial at first but keeping both your hardware and software updated is just another way you can work to ward off online scams. 

New releases in your operating system or application software do more than just offer exciting features, they provide essential bug fixes and security upgrades, too. While it might seem prudent to stick to the tech you know, staying up to date is an incredible first step to staying safe online.  

Use Strong Passwords

Another easy scam prevention tip? Use the right password! 

Strong passwords are always over 10 characters in length, use a mix of different characters, include both uppercase and lowercase letters, don’t contain any known phrases and valuable dates, and are never, ever repeated across accounts.  

If this feels like too much to manage, you can always enlist the help of password management software to keep your data safe!  

Read the Privacy Policy

It’s a real bummer but reading the privacy policy on your devices, applications, and software really can help you avoid scammers.  

While a bit tedious, actually reviewing the information in your privacy policies will give you a better picture of what each piece of tech you own already does by way of cybersecurity. These policies also offer insight on what to do in the case of a data breach and could be useful to keep on hand.  

Think Before You Click

Of course, the most salient way to impede online scams is to think before clicking on anything suspicious.  

Staying vigilant may not be much fun, be it’s one of the best protections we have against hackers. If you haven’t already, signing up for some form of security awareness training can provide you with the tools and information you need to know what to look for. 

Stay Alert 

And know what to look for you must. Some common internet scams you should be aware of include: 

Stop Sharing 

Some cybercriminals are smarter than others.  

Many of us are now used to having a significant amount of personal information in public view. From photos to tweets to liked YouTube videos, the right hackers can take that information and use it to make best guesses about passwords and usernames. While the EMPIST team certainly doesn’t suggest forgoing an internet presence in its entirety, when it comes to stopping scams there’s some information you just shouldn’t share.

In short, it might be high time you started keeping your most sensitive private information, well…. private.  

Trust Your Team 

Okay, don’t panic now. As it turns out, you don’t have to fight scams alone.  

While these tips are definitely a good place to start for any individual looking to keep scammers out of their lives, there are more advanced methods to consider. If you need help building a cybersecurity program that protects not just your data, but that of your business and its employees, too, EMPIST is here to help. 

To learn more about EMPIST’s proactive cybersecurity services, visit us online today!  To get in touch with our team ASAP, contact us here.