Safe Surfing: Circumvent Spam and Scams

March 5, 2024

Introduction

Sick of getting spam emails? Tired of almost falling for scams?

Cybercriminals have only gotten smarter, and therefore more adept at tricking regular, and even security-aware, people into falling for their tactics.

Thankfully, technology has developed alongside cyber-threats to help protect our data. For example, did you know that you can actually add spam tags to help filter out unwanted emails that built-in spam filters aren’t catching?

This is just one of the many tricks you’ll need up your sleeve to stay away from scammers and spammers!

Are Scams Really That Dangerous?

In 2022, a total of $8.8B was stolen via fraud. It’s a serious problem and can cost you big money! According to the FBI, phone scams (known as vishing, or voice phishing) yielded an average loss of $1,400 per person in 2022.

To break it down even further, people lost…

  • $.66B to business impersonators
  • $1.2B to social media scams
  • $2.6B to imposter scams
  • $3.8B to investment scams

That’s only the damage done via phone scam, too! Fraud is no joke, and cybercriminals sure aren’t kidding.

It’s not just phone calls, either. Phishing scams traditionally happen over email, and smishing means phishing over SMS (or text) message. These are just a few ways that they might reach out to you, hoping to harvest personal information or credentials. Staying aware of what these types of threats look like, and just how dangerous they really can be, can go a long way toward safeguarding yourself from any scam you encounter.

Staying Safe from Spam and Scams

Many services let you review suspected spam messages and confirm or deny if you want to let them through the automated filters, thereby improving the artificial intelligence that determines what goes in your inbox.

You should also change your account settings to automatically block known scammers and suspicious emails. Set your email to only allow messages from known senders. Use this option with caution, however, because there’s plenty of instances where unknown contacts reach out to you for legitimate, wanted reasons. Networking connections need to establish first contact sometime!

Setting your own, personalized filters helps too! If your email keeps letting through a pesky scammer that won’t leave you alone, you can manually block their domain name and even block that particular user from sending you mail, regardless of how many fake addresses they make.

Keep your platforms more private and secure, by personalizing your settings. Communicate your way, and stay safe doing it.

Conclusion

Phishing and other social engineering scams have only gotten more dangerous! Know the signs and your incident response plan BEFORE something serious happens, so you don’t end up part of a statistic that nobody wants to join.

Although spam is ubiquitous (and therefore hard to avoid), that persistence is precisely what makes these messages so threatening. You only need to fall for one scam, one time for your systems to become compromised; threat actors don’t have to have to trick you over and over again. One slip-up, via negligence, ignorance or accident, can be catastrophic.

Fortunately, security awareness is your best defense. By reaching the end of this blog, you’ve already taken one HUGE step forward toward better cyber-safety, every single day.

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