In the era we live in, without having correct email security solutions, you will receive a lot of scam emails. Although a lot of scam emails can be spotted from a mile away, there are some scams which you wouldn’t think were scams unless you looked at the fine details of them.
As shown by this report from the Victims’ Commissioner, fraud now accounts for “around 39% of all crime” which represents “an estimated 4.6 million incidents per year”. Their analysis also found that every year, around 700,000 people will go on to suffer profoundly, experiencing very high levels of emotional strain and financial loss with many losing £1000 or over.
Due to this, we are going to teach you what you can do to avoid being scammed online.
One huge sign that the person you are talking to isn’t real is their email address. Scammers usually use burner email addresses to pose as someone. So, if the alias is the same name as your friend but the email itself is a random name then act immediately.
If the scammer is posing as a business like a bank or a lottery, then you should look at the domain of the email address (the little section after the @ sign). If the domain name is the same as the official website the company use, then it is likely a real email. However, you should stay away from them if the domain name is not the same.
Another sign that the person is trying to scam you is if they ask for you to send them money, gift cards or personal details over email. Even if you send someone your phone number, a scammer can use this information to steal your identity and find new ways to scam you.
You need to act as if the scammer is posing as one of your friends, family, or colleagues. If this happens, you should contact that person directly to find out if it really is them or not.
The best way to deal with a scammer over email is to simply block all communication with them by marking their email as spam or by blocking them directly.
This blog from usecure covers the most common email phishing scams for you to look out for.
Step 1: Change your passwords
According to leaked databases on the Dark web, the most common passwords used online are:
According to security.org’s password security checker, these passwords will be breached instantly with brute force software. If your password is one of these or not far off, you need seriously reconsider your password choices.
To create a new password, you can use a mixture of memorable phrases, number sequences and symbols in order to create a secure password. Although this isn’t highly recommended, it is better than using a password which we have included in our list.
Once again using the password security checker, we can see how secure one of these passwords can be. The password “BrownBulldog$5133” would take a modern computer 93 trillion years to crack. These types of passwords are usually not recommended as they use common phrases which can be found on password lists online.
The best solution to changing a password is to use a password generator with a password management system to store it. This means you can use passwords such as “Ux0RIz%$X2H$4WeHk”.
Step 2: Use two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication (or 2fa) is the process of adding another “shield” to your account. 2FA can be set up via SMS, email, or a one-time password app. This means that even if a hacker guesses your passwords then they will still be locked out of your account if they haven’t got access to your messages.
Step 3: Never use public WiFi to access your email
Public WiFi networks can often be very insecure and are breeding grounds for packet sniffing and hackers who want your information. Even if it means you will be offline for an hour or two, don’t use public Wi-Fi.
If you do this, you may as well just give hackers your password.