In this day and age of the digital lifestyle, many of us have become dependent on technology — particularly the internet. Yes, taking advantage of the World Wide Web may give us the convenience we crave for to make our everyday lives easier, but it can also be harmful when used incorrectly and ignorantly, oblivious to the very real threats that lurk online.
Some friends recently admitted that they fell victim to malicious emails which directed them to phishing sites during the holiday season. As careful and as cautious as they usually are, they somehow still fell for these cybercrime traps.
Being a curious cat, I did some research and came across a 2018 global report which found that incidents of phishing and fraud spike by over 50% during the holiday months compared to the rest of the year. These are the months where people are busy and distracted with Christmas preparations, which cybercriminals take advantage of to fool people more easily.
Simple cybersecurity tips to follow
If you are not yet familiar with how to spot these ploys, here are a few warnings and simple cybersecurity tips to keep in mind:
- Phishing sites look almost exactly the same as the original sites they are duplicating in order to lure you, but there are small differences that a careful eye would be able to spot.
- Your bank will not let you update your information via email or social media links. Do not click on these and do not provide your information.
- Do not click on links that might direct you to fraudulent/phishing sites which are designed by cybercriminals to steal your personal information, give access to your social media and email accounts, as well as a means to log into your online bank accounts.
And speaking of banks, I had to double check if my bank is doing their part in securing and protecting us, their clients, from these malicious attempts. Luckily, BPI gives talks on radio and TV about the importance of cybersecurity and through regular #BPICybersecuriTips on its official Facebook page.
We now live in a world where 85% of attachments in emails sent around the world contain a harmful attachment.
Always err on the side of caution
Let us really be careful when opening emails with links and attachments that are unfamiliar to you. When in doubt, don’t open and delete it right away because it is better to be safe than sorry. If you can, take a photo or screencap and report it to your bank’s hotline so they can help take down these scammers.
Being a mom of two millennials who spend a considerable amount of time on the internet and social media, I always remind them to be careful of the sites they visit especially when they are shopping online and when they need to give their personal information. Given how often we hear news about people falling victim to these thieves and hackers, there is a significant chance that even smart tech-savvy people like them will eventually be subjected to such attempts. The only way to protect them is by equipping them with proper information and constantly reminding them to have the presence of mind to stay vigilant and cautious.
Let us help one another by sharing our knowledge to friends and loved ones. Impart these very important tips to everyone so that we may never become victims of cybercrimes.
If you’re a BPI depositor/customer just like me and my husband, it’s worth knowing that BPI continuously shares tips on how to be cyber smart and safe. You can visit www.facebook.com/BPI/ to see their latest updates.
Let’s all be responsible internet users.