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The 7 Most Common Types Of Cyber Crimes To Watch Out For

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As technology updates, so do crimes. Cyber criminals can steal important information from you. Find out what the most common ones are and how to protect yourself from them!

1. Phishing

Phishing websites are designed to look exactly like a legitimate website you would trust. This is an attempt to deceive you into giving out personal info, such as your account passwords, address, credit card number, etc… Phishing attempts are typically carried out through email spoofs: a forged email address mimicking another person or company. Remember that no company should ask you to give out your username or password in an email and to never click on suspicious links, even if it looks like a trusted source.

2. Identity theft

This is often what happens when phishing scams succeed and someone gets access to your personal information. Once a criminal obtains your information, he can potentially make purchases, buy or rent housing, or even obtain employment – all while using your information. This can potentially drain your bank account and/or ruin your credit. It will take a long time to fix the mess this crime creates: you will have to file a police report, wait for your bank to refund your money, close your cards, put a fraud alert on all your credit reports, and talk to any company that was affected. It is much easier to take the time to protect your information. Do not enter your payment information into a site that you do not trust; when online shopping, try using a secured third party like Paypal to handle your transactions. And keep a close eye on your transactions – 50% of identity thefts go undetected for a month.

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3. Copyright violation

With file sharing, it has become too easy to download movies, games, music, and books for free. Billions of songs and movies are downloaded every year. According to a report, 23.76% of Internet traffic is infringing on copyright. This may seem like a harmless crime, but it causes major economic losses. And just because everyone is doing it does not mean you cannot be caught; the authorities are cracking down on these crimes.  Plus, you are putting yourself at risk for downloading viruses when you visit these file sharing sites.

4. Hacking

Even if you avoid phishing scams, people will still try to get access to your accounts. Hacking is when a criminal essentially breaks into a computer to steal sensitive information, and it is typically treated as a serious crime. You can avoid this by password protecting everything, using strong passwords with a mix of capitalized letters and symbols, and changing the passwords regularly.

5. Extortion

This is when someone uses the Internet to extort money from an individual or company. This happens in a couple ways. Someone may get access to personal information and threaten to expose it unless they are paid. Criminals may carry out some sort of cyber attack and then demand payment to stop it. Keep your accounts password protected and your antivirus software up to date to curb these attacks. Cyber criminals can also hold someone’s vital data for ransom by encrypting it. Then, they ask to be sent money in exchange for a key that will release the data. Protect yourself by backing up your data regularly. That way, if anyone tries to encrypt your data you can simply wipe your server and restore your data.

6. Harassment

A lot of activity on the Internet is anonymous. You can look through someone’s profile for hours without them knowing. And it is very easy to pretend to be someone else by making a fake social media account. Unfortunately, this can lead to cyber-harassment, or cyber bullying. It often affects teenagers. Do not add anyone you do not know on your social media pages, even if you have mutual friends. Most social media sites have a feature to block someone bothering you. And if the harassment escalates to threats, it is possible to take legal action. Laws are beginning to catch up to this crime and are including cyberbullying within existing harassment laws.

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7. Child solicitation

This crime is particularly dangerous. Criminals will frequent chat rooms in an attempt to find minors. They may try to get the child’s address or information. If you have children using the Internet, make sure to educate them on what is not appropriate to share with strangers online and use any parental blocking options you have to keep them away from certain sites.

SEE ALSO: 12 Intriguing People You Will Come Across On African Websites.



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