It’s unfortunate, yet inevitable, that as technology gets better, the criminals who use tech get better too. The best defense, as always, is knowledge and quick action.

Recognizing online scams

Cybercriminals main goal with any type of online scam is to try to trick you into giving them personal information. This is done through a variety of methods including: email (phishing), phone calls or voicemail (vishing), texting (smishing), or money muling.

Spotting a potential scam begins with vigilance in recognizing red flags that might indicating the communications you’re receiving may not be truthful or legitimate. A quick red-flag list should include the following:

  • A business or sender you don’t recognize
  • Unfamiliar links or attachments asking you to click on something
  • Misspelled words and poor grammar
  • Scare tactics and urgent language
  • Extreme or strange subject lines that don’t make sense
  • Generic greetings. Scams are rarely addressed to you by name. Instead, they may start with a generic “Hello” or “Dear Sir/Madam”
  • Job offers that claim you can earn a significant amount of money for minimal effort
  • Asking for bank account information, credit cards numbers, or social security numbers

What is Money Muling

A type of online scam we haven’t addressed yet here on our blog is “money muling,” something that is typically disguised as an online job opportunity. Emails, texts or voicemails promise a fast and easy way to earn money. You simply provide your bank account information and let money be transferred into your account. Then you move the money out of your account for a commission. This might sound easy, but in reality, this practice uses you and your bank account to move illegally obtained funds through the financial system. Anyone engaging in this activity acts as a “money mule.” Criminals recruit money mules – unwitting or not – to help them transfer funds without detection by law enforcement to move money from account to account, eventually using it to fund more crime.

Resources for Online Safety & Security

Even though this month has been designated National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we feel that your security is an all-year-long issue that everyone should be aware of. It’s no longer enough to watch for suspicious emails and think that you’re too small a target to attract the attention of cybercriminals. As criminals get savvier and their efforts more targeted, everyone from individuals to large organizations need to be aware and vigilant in using positive and protective cybersecurity practices.

We’re always looking out for our customers and community, so we often share articles that not only give you knowledge to understand what’s going on out there, but information to take action to protect your home, family and business. Here are just a few, and if you would like to learn more, click on the “Online Security” link in the left column on the Softcom Blog.

In this age where hackers are a continual threat, it’s necessary to be as vigilant in your activities at home as you are at work or on the road. At Softcom, we will never contact you and ask you for any sensitive or personal information. We’ll only ask you for the personal information we need to verify your identity when you contact us.

If you suspect your home wireless network, or one of your devices or accounts has been compromised, please read “Tips To Avoid Identity Theft Online” for a checklist of what to do. And for any questions about Softcom routers, Softcom wireless home networks, or account security give us a call at (800) 982-7675 or 1 (888) 4-SOFTCOM, we’re here to help.