In recent times, many Nigerians have been encouraged to be ICT savvy. This is because many businesses are transacted online and the cyberspace is trusted to supply the information you need with just a simple click. We feel comfortable using digital technology to conduct important business, from signing in to our computers to sending emails to requesting for information to making friends on social media. With this emerging trend, we all have online accounts and such accounts are a big target for hackers. For instance, have you ever received this kind of scam mail from your online contacts?
I hope you are doing well. I made a trip to London and unfortunately my niece had a nearly fatal accident yesterday night and needs to undergo surgery which needs 116,000 naira to start the treatment on her.
Can you lend me some quick funds that I can give back as soon as I get in? Sorry for the inconvenience but I heard she is in a very bad condition and needs urgent attention as fast as possible.
I can forward you details on how to pay the funds directly to the doctor since am not around so that her treatment would commence before I return. You can only reach me via my email for now.
I await your response….
If your answer is “Yes,” then, we all at one time or the other have received the email above to rob us of our hard earned money. Here are some precautions to take for your online accounts:
CREATE A COMPLEX PASSWORD:
One of the ways someone may gain access to your account is if you have a weak password. Avoid using passwords that contain part of your name, spouses name, children’s name, location, nickname, date of birth or email address – it’s easier to guess. Create passwords that have a combination of alphabets, numbers and numerical signs. Always update your password from time to time. Also remember to delete any emails that contain password information.
PROTECT YOURSELF AGAINST MALWARE AND VIRUSES:
Regularly use an antivirus/malware scanner or a well-known antivirus program on your computer. These can detect and remove any potential threats to your computer’s security. Ensure you have the latest updates for your computer and software. Avoid clicking on links or websites you don’t recognize, even if they appear to come from people you know via email or instant messages.
AVOID PHISHING SCAMS
“Phishing” is the practice of tricking users out of their account information and passwords for malicious purposes. Phishing scams typically work by fooling the player into thinking they are putting information into a legitimate website, when in fact they are providing information to another party. It is the player’s responsibility to avoid such scams and be vigilant against links and email addresses.
Some simple rules to avoid phishing scams:
- Watch for requests for Account Information or Password.
- Beware of pop-ups, as some phishing scams use pop-ups that ask for your information pretending to be related to the website you are trying to use. Check the authenticity of anything that asks for information from you.
- Verify all emails. Phishing can take place via email, so beware emails asking for any data.
- Do not post your data online. Be cautious when sharing your data with anyone on social media, from your ID to screenshots that show details of your account.
BEWARE OF REDIRECTS:
Secure websites will never redirect you. Redirecting is a technique where a scammer embeds something in a link that takes you to the real site to begin with, but then moves you to a fake page that looks identical.
Another common tactic involves scaring you into thinking your account has been compromised when it actually hasn’t. Never click links in emails asking for account information or claiming your account has been compromised. You may receive a message saying something like: “Your account has been temporarily suspended due to suspicious activity. Please login here to see more information.” This is an attempt to get you to give up your username and password. As always, the end result is directing you to another site.
Finally, if you login from a public computer, for instance in a cyber cafe, double check that your login information isn’t being saved by the browser. Be sure to delete the browser cache after you logout as well.