Jeff Humphrey, Media Manager, 509.625.6308
Wednesday, December 6, 2023 at 1:50 p.m.
While most of us have taken steps to improve our home security, you also need to sharpen your defenses when it comes to fending off cybercrimes.
“If you’re already in the habit of locking up your valuables, now’s the time to also safeguard your connections to the internet and social media,” warned Dan Wordell, City of Spokane Information Security Office.
Last year, cybercriminals and internet fraudsters stole $8.8 billion from American consumers.
There’s so much illegal money to be made, thieves may cast out a thousand scam attempts, and, even if only one person takes the bait, the crooks cash in.
Here are a couple of ways cybercriminals try to manipulate their victims.
“Scareware is a text or email that tries to create a false sense of urgency. Victims are told, someone has breached their bank account, they’re going to jail for an unpaid ticket, or they’ve won a vacation. But if you click open the message to learn more, you could infect your computer with malware,” explained Wordell.
Thanksgiving and Christmas create a holiday heyday for cybercrime. You may get an email that claims the delivery date of your online purchase is delayed, but, instead of “clicking,” call about the status of your delivery – that is, if you really did make a purchase.
Black Friday deals that sound too good to be true might just be a fraudulent internet site, hoping for a hook-up with your credit card.
There’s even a fake notification out there that your device has been infected with a virus. Don’t click on the unsolicited warning in the hopes of killing off the virus, or you might be connecting your computer to a real malware website.
“The good news is there are legitimate companies that help their clients, like the City of Spokane, from falling prey to the constantly changing cybertheft threat. You can go to KnowBe4 and, at no charge, log on to knowbe4.com/homecourse, and learn more about protecting your family. The password is ‘homecourse’,” advised Wordell.
You don’t need to know a lot about computers, you just need to call on your cybersecurity awareness so that you think before you interact with that technology. Update your computers. Use multifactor authentication, strong passwords, and be safe this holiday season.