What can you do?
The best advice to avoid these scams is "don't click on any suspicious links or freely provide personal or financial details. You need to use some logic and follow the following recommendations:
- Do not trust messages from banks.
- Do not open messages in your spam folder as many of them are built with special code which can provoke problems on your computer just by opening them or simply confirm that the account they are targeting is valid. If you have opened a spam message never click on the URL, link or image in the message as it can send you to a fraudulent website which will download a virus or Trojan.
- Never reply to spam as this confirms to the spammer that your account is real.
- Turn off the "auto-reply" option in your e-mail client. Treat your e-mail address as personal and private, don't give it out freely.
- Sometimes, attachments include viruses so, if in doubt, it is better not to open it or forward it to others. If you have any doubts about the sender, look them up on the internet to check if they have been reported for sending fraudulent e-mails.
- If you are sure that it is a spammer, block them using the "unwanted mail" (or similar) option.
- To avoid creating spam lists, when you send a message to various recipients it is best to use the CCO option so that their e-mail address remains hidden from the other recipients.
- Check that the website you are on is a secure address: it should start with https:// and there will be a small locked padlock in the address bar of your browser.
With the aim of having at least a minimum level of security and to avoid these scams, it is extremely important to follow some basic security rules on your computer and mobile devices connected to the internet, such as the following:
- Education and awareness, as well as common sense. Keep up to date about the risks of these scams and be alert to the danger when sharing personal data. It is also important to ask yourself if it is normal to be asked for this type of information or not.
- Make sure you know who is around you when you are making telephone or on-line purchases by whatever device, typing your PIN in an ATM or whenever you are writing personal information.
- Stay protected online, use a full security package.
- Use secure passwords - at least 10 characters long with a combination of letters, numbers and special characters. We recommend that you change your passwords periodically to reduce the risk of someone taking control of them.
- While using public connections browse safely, do not sign in to banking services, change passwords for social networks, etc.
- Make sure that your WiFi network has a firewall on the router, change the admin password and identifying details and only allow access to those devices you trust.
These measures will help you to surf the web more securely and help to fight against cybercrime.
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.