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Defending Against Digital Deception

Posted by Michael Goodwin on 25 January 2024
Defending Against Digital Deception

Practical Tips for Recognizing and Avoiding Scams

As we navigate the digital landscape in 2024, the prevalence of online scams demands a vigilant approach to safeguarding your personal and business information. At Loyal I.T. your digital security is paramount to us. But generally we are taking care of business assets and not personal assets. Plus, other than direct hacking, the most common security breaches occur due to a personal slip-up or lack of knowledge regarding how to be secure.

Here are straightforward yet crucial tips to help you recognise and steer clear of scams across emails, SMS, and phone calls.

1. Unmasking Fake Links in Emails:

-Inspect the Sender's Email Address: Examine the sender's email address closely. Legitimate entities use official domain names, not suspicious variations, or misspellings.

These can look very real.  For example, help@loyalit.support.com.au

This is not a Loyal I.T. email address or the correct domain. Notice the dot between ‘loyalit’ and ’support’, indicating a subdomain.

This is how a scam email might look like it is from your phone company or bank.

This would be an easy one to spot so be very careful.

-Hover, Don't Click: Hover your cursor over any links without clicking to reveal the actual URL. If it seems unrelated or misleading, treat it with caution. Just like the last example, these can look very real.

2. SMS Scams: Spotting the Wolf in Sheep's Clothing:

-Verify Sender Information: Check the sender's number and cross-reference it with official contacts. More and more legitimate organisations use mobile numbers for official communications. This can make it very confusing. They can look and sound quite convincing. Always go back to a trusted source to check information.

-Question Unexpected Messages: Be wary of unsolicited SMS, especially those claiming undelivered packages or overdue tolls. Contact the supposed sender directly using official channels to confirm legitimacy. I’m sure we have all experienced more of these than I can count. Made even more confusing that legitimate organisations use SMS and email to inform us that we’ve missed a delivery.

A lot of the bigger organisations will also send you an email. And my experience is that if a courier has actually been to your premises, they will leave a card with some details.

Still, check a trusted source, such as searching for the company online to verify their details.

3. Phone Call Caution: Dodging Identity Theft Attempts:

-Caller ID Scrutiny: Scrutinize caller ID information. If it appears unfamiliar or suspicious, exercise caution before divulging any personal information. In fact, don’t divulge. If it is a reputable company, then they should be able to give you some sort of reference and you can again go to trusted source for contact information. Use the contact information you have found.

This has led to a world where many of us don’t answer calls from numbers we don’t know.

-Independently Confirm Requests: Stating the previous information in a different way -If a caller claims to be from a legitimate organisation and requests sensitive information, independently verify their identity by calling the official contact number. Authentic entities understand and respect this precaution.

4. Stay Informed and Educated:

-Regularly Update Security Software: Ensure your antivirus and anti-malware software is up-to-date. These tools act as additional shields against evolving cyber threats. At Loyal I.T. we are constantly checking and updating. Our Managed Services program does this continuously for many of our business clients.

-Educate Yourself and Your Team: Stay informed about the latest scam tactics and educate your team or family members. Awareness is a powerful defence against digital deception. There’s plenty of news and social media posts about this. However, stay vigilant. The scams are ever changing and evolving.

By integrating these practices into your daily online interactions, you can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to scams. In the ever-evolving world of cybersecurity, a cautious and informed approach is your best defence.

Where to find more information

Loyal I.T. Solutions provides advice and implementation of the right hardware and software for your business. We are here to help. Please contact Loyal I.T. Solutions at 02 4337 0700 or reception@loyalit.com.au.

Michael GoodwinAuthor:Michael Goodwin
About: Michael Goodwin began his career in Information Technology in 1992 and he brings a wealth of experience to his is current venture - Loyal I.T. Solutions. Based on the NSW Central Coast, Loyal IT Solutions services businesses large and small from Sydney to Newcastle.
Connect via:LinkedIn
Tags:WindowsServicesITIT ConsultingComputer MaintenanceWindows UpdateCyber Securitybackup

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