Thursday, December 15, 2016

How To Avoid Cyber Scams This Holiday Season

Small and medium size businesses are mostly prone to failure because of improper internal controls. Cyber fraud in one or the other form is the most prevalent internal issue that they face today.

Another reason behind small businesses becoming the victim of such frauds is their lack of adequate capital as well as technological resources that can help them protect their assets.

Internal theft by computer, unauthorized access to critical information systems, credit card fraud etc., are some of the major cyber scams prevalent these days. Auditors, business owners, and managers need to learn the way to avoid such scams from happening.

For this, it needs to be ensured that suitable controls are well in place in order to facilitate the prevention and detection of such scams. 

The Horrific Impact of Online Fraud                                                                                                                                       
There are different types of online scams or frauds. Some of these include phishing that use forged e-mails & websites in order to trick recipients. On receiving such fraudulent emails, the recipients may give out their personal information like credit card data, passwords and social security numbers.

Once all such critical information gets leaked, the user may have to suffer in different ways.
The person's social security number may be misused in several illegal ways while the credit card data may be used to make some unauthorized transactions as well.

By having at least slight technical advice and common sense, it will be possible for you to avoid the chances of occurrence of online fraud. In order to avoid being a victim of such scams, you need to follow a few tips. Let's take a look at some of the Do's and Dont's in this regard.

What you Must Do?

     Disable file sharing on your personal computer
     Always take extreme caution when opening attachments from unknown senders.
     Ensure familiarizing yourself with the privacy policy of the website you are browsing. This should be done, especially if you are prompted to provide your confidential/personal data.
     Review your credit card statements and bank statements regularly.
     Install & update your software firewall, anti-spyware and antivirus solutions. 
     Ensure keeping your Windows operating system as well as all your applications updated. 
     Always create strong passwords. Strong passwords typically include eight characters or more than that. You can use a unique combination of numbers, letters and symbols.
     Also protect the passwords carefully by using suitable password protection software. Such software encrypt passwords for secure storage, monitor them for unauthorized usage, and also notifies you whenever a website offers secure login capabilities.
     Lock your home mailbox.

What you Should Avoid

1. Do not provide your personal data to anyone either over phone or in person unless & until you are totally sure about the other party’s trustworthiness.

2. Do not give out your personal crucial information in response to following -

     Any email
     A website you are visiting through an external link
     A pop-up screen appearing on a real Web site.

Rather, you should open another browser window and straight away type the URL into the address bar in order to ensure that the site is legitimate.

3. Don’t ever keep your financial data on your laptops unless very necessary; laptops have far more probability of being stolen than desktops.

Following the instructions mentioned above will definitely help you avoid being a victim of cyber scam in the first place. However, if you do realize that you’ve become a victim of such fraud or cyber-crime, you need to report the same to proper authorities immediately. 

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