Online scams are ever more numerous. Here’s how to recognize them, get rid of them and what to do when it’s too late. More and more scams. – G.VBG. (illu) By Sudinfo Published on 06/07/2023 at 10:40
The Internet can sometimes be dangerous. If there is one phenomenon that does not seem to be ending, it is that of phishing. It is behind this name that we group together all the methods and attempts at fraud and remote scams, by telephone, by email or via instant messaging. To avoid problems, you must be able to recognize them quickly and understand how they work.
How it works ?
The goal of cybercriminals behind these phishing operations is to recover your personal information: name, address, telephone number, and sometimes bank account numbers and their codes. Indeed, generally, the idea is to obtain enough data which will then allow them to usurp your identity, or more generally use your savings. To obtain this information, scammers pretend to be someone else, regardless of the means of communication used. Either an acquaintance or a site you know, sometimes one you trust.
The different phishing methods
By telephone. This is a method that varies a lot. Sometimes people pretend to be your bank and ask for your banking details. Obviously, you should never give out your code. If it really is your bank, it has access to your data and in any case, has very little reason to call you.
Other scammers pretend to be Microsoft, Google, or another computer company. They contact you making you believe that your computer has a problem or is the victim of a virus. They then ask you to install a program or enter your details into a site, or even pay a sum of money somewhere. Obviously you should never do all of this. These methods can allow scammers to gain access to your accounts.
It is the best known technique because it is the most widespread. You receive an email that seems official from Google, Apple, Microsoft, an e-commerce or more recently the Post Office or a delivery company. The messages are often different: your package has arrived, you have won a prize or again, your computer has a problem.
These emails invite you to click on a link, which you obviously should not do. This address will ask you for personal information or worse, download malware to your computer that will steal your data.
Lately, scammers are pretending to be your bank and asking you to update your digipass, the famous electronic box. This is actually a scheme to extort money from you. These boxes should never be updated. This type of scam also takes place over the phone. The digipass is only used to make your payments online, never use it over the phone with someone or via email.
Even though these emails often end up in your Spam folder, you have to learn to recognize them. First, a lot of them don’t look real. These are bad imitations that are easy to detect. But others are sneakier, reliable imitations. At this time, always check the sender’s address and the link you are asked to click. For example, if Google sends you an email, the sender address will always end with @google.com and nothing else. Ditto for link, if it leads anywhere other than Google, it’s probably a scam.
The most talented scammers sometimes use domains that look like the real thing, with a spelling mistake or a few words reversed. If you have any doubts, type this strange address into Google and you will quickly find out.
By SMS or messaging (Messenger, Whatsapp).
By messages, scammers use techniques quite similar to those by email. Here, they are not based on imitation but on their brevity. An unknown person or number writes you a short message with a link, such as “is that you in this photo?” “. Sometimes it announces a gift certificate, discounts or even that your package has arrived soon.
As always, don’t click too quickly on these kinds of strange links. Copy it to Google, if it’s a scam, other people will have already reported it!
How do I check that it’s not a scam?
First of all, first and most important tip: if you are not sure who is contacting you, do not click on anything or open an attachment. It’s essential. If you have any doubts, take a few minutes to make sure everything is OK.
Next, check who is sending you an email. Look at what’s after the @ in the address. Normally it must be a site that exists. Pay attention to spelling and accuracy. For example, the bpost site is “bpost.be”, not “b-post.be” or “bposte.be”.
Before clicking on a suspicious link, check its address. If you leave your mouse on the link for a few seconds, the address appears. You can also Right Click > copy the link address then paste it into Word or Notepad. This will allow you to see if it is a trusted or fraudulent site. Does a link seem fishy to you? Search for it at https://www.virustotal.com This site will tell you if you need to worry.
If you think someone is pretending to be someone you know via email, text message or messaging, contact that person by another means. She can reassure you.
If you are asked for sensitive data, such as your credit card code or passwords by email or telephone, the chances that it is a scam are high. No bank or company actually works this way.
Some good practices
The two most important: never click on a link or open an attachment if you have the slightest doubt et never communicate important information (passwords, bank codes) by telephone, email or SMS. Do not respond to these messages either.
Use your email spam filters. They generally work well and will make all suspicious emails disappear immediately.
Vary your passwords. If you use the same one for all your accounts, you take more risk.
What if it’s too late?
Have you revealed your data to a scammer or has a scammer managed to break into your computer? Don’t panic, there are solutions.
If you are worried about your money, contact Card Stop (070 344 344) to block your bank card and also call your bank to notify them. It is also wise to notify the police.
If your passwords are compromised, consider changing them. And if it’s the same password for multiple sites or accounts, change them too.
Do you think your computer has been contaminated by a virus? Disconnect from the Internet and ask your anti-virus software to perform a full scan which will detect if there are any problems.