The internet has evolved tremendously over the course of the last few years alone. What was once a hub of yellow pages has become the centre of work, day-to-day activities, and more.
That being said, with more power comes great(er) responsibility. We wish to provide you with this extended PSA, telling you how you might get scammed online in the most unassuming of ways. Here’s why you should pay attention if you are a Mac user:
1. The Pandemic has become Marketable
The ongoing pandemic has changed the face of the world. In fact, there is no doubt about the fact that the pandemic has changed the idea of ‘work’ and what it stands for. What does this mean for the notorious scammer? An innovative way to scam. How? Well, keep reading.
Fake Health Organisations
There is an ongoing trend when it comes to these fake health organisations. Mac users have come across notifications from the so-called WHO, CDC and the rest, claiming that they contain useful health information.
These scamming centres masquerading as health bodies will be asking you to provide your credentials in the form of feedback. Be extremely wary of this.
This mostly comes in the form of ads. So, if you are equipped with an antivirus for Mac, the associated ad blockers should do the trick here. For those who don’t have a dedicated antivirus, this is how these scams work.
You might be getting ads regarding products such as hand sanitisers, masks and what have you. What might seem like a simple store ad can actually be a lot more malicious. Once you purchase these products with your card, you are done for. Pretty self-explanatory, isn’t it?
Speaking of self-explanatory, you might also be filled with messages and links that ask you to make a donation for the greater good. Sure, this sounds like a good deed, but is it?
Always make sure that you are donating to an established or reliable organization or donations center, and not just to any random email address and bank account that asks you to. When it comes to random emails or suspicious links, please don’t let yourself be carried away by your understanable desire to do some good in the world.
2. Phishing Scams are at an all-time high
This has been prevalent in both Mac and Windows PCs. Phishing scams have always been around, but they have taken novel forms lately.
“Your account was logged in from x,y or z location” is a pretty common notification or email that folks have been receiving. Following the link they are given, they go to check if their account is jeopardized or not. Too bad for them, because the deed has already been done.
Fake Government Links
There is an increase in the number of new phishing scams and using fake government websites is the brand new way hackers hope to draw you in. Fake government links are very dangerous and their way of scamming people is rather vindictive.
Oftentimes, you might get a message or an email saying that your personal credentials need updating, or perhaps you are asked to provide sensitive information such as your date of birth, address or phone number for some “official” sounding reason. This quickly turns into a downward spiral. Once you agree to fill this information, your data is as good as solen.
So how will you differentiate between fake links and authentic links? The easiest way is to proofread these websites properly. It is almost certain that phishing links are riddled with grammatical errors. For the keen eye, it is pretty easy to weed it out. You’ll have to be an agent of the grammar police here, after all.
Another telltale sign consists of visual errors. There will always be some missing factor in the design, email layout, fonts used etc. Look out for these things and you will never be scammed.
3. Tech Scams—Poetic Injustice
Oh, the irony! Tech scams using tech to scam—this is definitely a thing now. Sure, you can learn how to improve your Mac’s security to the max, but there is only so much you can do when it comes to tech scams. So, how do these scams work? What is their modus operandi?
We Support You
You might be getting emails or texts (or worse, phone calls) saying that a certain tech company wishes to extend a helping hand to you. Mind you, folks get tricked because the names of the tech companies are usually the same as the products they already use.
From here on out, they will ask you to download a certain app, and either use it to the fullest or provide feedback, or both. Here, the reason why you might feel like using it are the potential incentives. These companies will coyly imply that they have associated incentives to make your testing service more lucrative. You should not fall for this, but you probably realized that already.
These companies will also ask you to update your security product with their version of the patches. As you might have guessed, this causes a lot of harm to your computer and your personal data.
Fake antivirus is one of the most foolproof ways to ensure system rigging. With this, you won’t even be able to differentiate whether it is your native app or a malicious one in disguise.
To be fair, though, if you are using valid antivirus software, you won’t get annoying and intrusive ads, popups or anything of that sort. You guessed it right, this is the easiest problem to fix of all the ones mentioned here.
As long as you are using an authentic antivirus solution, there is pretty much no need to be afraid of it. Furthermore, we urge you to not click on any random antivirus software you find online. This would be as asinine as trying to download extra RAM while surfing. You get the drift.
There are other ways in which you can get scammed aside from the ones we mentioned here. Travel agencies trying to scam you, pensions scams, shopping scams—the list is endless. Remember to practice mindful and safe browsing sessions, and anything suspicious is a no-no. Scammers are smart, but you ought to be smarter.