Against the backdrop of an increase in cybercrimes such as phishing, malware, ransomware and spyware attacks, as well as an increase in the adoption of digital services for payments and other activities, it becomes imperative that we protect ourselves against these frauds. You must have seen in government and police public service announcements where they advise to exercise caution when receiving a spam link or email. This is because the modus operandi of cyber criminals is to create a genuine looking website and then trick people once they enter their personal information.
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Now, although antivirus software can protect you from malware and viruses, there are some ways that can also prevent you from falling prey to scam websites.
Read the domain name: If you are redirected to a website while browsing the Internet, never enter any information before verifying the domain name. Fraudsters often create addresses that look like the address of popular sites like Amazon or FlipKart. But, if you look closely, there is still a slight difference in the name that you need to spot to tell right from wrong.
Use secure payment gateways: Whenever you shop online, especially on the newer sites, always choose a secure payment gateway when checking out. When entering crucial information about your bank account and credit cards, it is advisable to be very careful and use trusted gateways like Paypal, Paytm and Razorpay.
Address bar: Whenever you’re surfing the web, be sure to look at the “https://” at the top of the page. The “S” here indicates that the website is secure and uses encryption for data transfer. However, a missing “S” does not necessarily mean that the website is fake, but it is still advisable to avoid entering your personal data on such sites.
Run a scan: There are various website scanners which ensure that the website you intend to visit is safe or not. These tools like UpGuard, SiteGuarding, and Quttera scan sites for malware and vulnerability exploits to detect a fake website. Running the site through such software can provide you with an additional layer of security.
Look for the padlock: If you look closely at the website address, you will notice a padlock icon. This icon technically indicates that the site has been secured by a TLS/SSL certificate. To be doubly sure, you can click on the padlock then click on ‘The connection is secure’. A text box will appear indicating that your information such as passwords and credit card numbers are secure when sent to the site.
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