Hackers, scammers, and Cybermonsters can affect anyone. However, when it comes to family, I know from personal experience we would do ANYTHING to protect them.
But what happens when hackers, scammers, or Cybermonsters decide to attack the people you love the most?
Fortunately, there are many things we can do to reduce the chances of our families becoming victims of Cybercrime and Identity theft.
As a former victim of identity theft, I know that when we begin new practices and change our basic habits. Then, we can succeed on our journey to live Happily Ever Cyber!
We can incorporate actions to protect our families from online threats when we travel, using phones, emails, or social media.
You may be thinking cybersecurity is too complicated to teach, you don’t have the time, or it isn’t necessary because your family hasn’t been scammed… yet! Unfortunately, it can happen to anyone, even to your family!
It’s essential to begin educating our significant others, children, and loved ones to protect what matters most now. After all, cyber attacks and cybercrime can happen every 39 seconds!
What is cybercrime?
Cybercrime is any crime that happens over the Internet or primarily online and involves using computers, phones, or electronic devices. This includes hacking, phishing, spamming, identity theft, extortion, fraud, malware, ransomware, denial of service attacks, data breaches, and many others. In addition to being illegal, cybercrime can cause severe damage to businesses and individuals.
In some cases, cybercriminals are motivated by profit; however, in most cases, it is simply a matter of personal gain. For example, hackers, scammers, and Cybermonsters might steal credit card information for fraudulent purchases. People who engage in revenge porn or other types of cyberbullying might want to embarrass someone else, or people involved in financial scams might just want to make money.
There are many different kinds of cybercrime. Some examples include:
- Hacking – When someone gains unauthorized access to another person’s computer system or network. Hackers can do anything from accessing sensitive information to disrupting critical infrastructure.
- Phishing – A type of social engineering where criminals send emails designed to trick recipients into disclosing confidential information such as usernames, passwords, bank account numbers, etc.
- Spamming – Sending unsolicited email messages, usually advertising products or services. Spammers can send thousands of emails per second.
- Identity Theft – Using stolen identities to open accounts, apply for loans, rent apartments, obtain employment, receive medical care, etc., without permission.
To start your family’s journey to cyber secure your information. I love sharing with you my Be I AM practice to protect OUR family from Cybermonsters. Be I AM means, Be Intentional, Aware and Mindful. Let’s explore the Be I AM further.
Be Intentional and Outline Your Cyber Family Landscape
First, understand who your Cybermonsters are and what they want from you or your family and resolve to protect against them.
Cybermonsters don’t care about your feelings. They’re out to make money, plain and simple. And whether it is stealing personal information, getting their hands on credit cards, or even impersonating someone else online, most cybercriminals are in it for the cash. Unfortunately, this is only sometimes the case, though, as mentioned above.
When you set the intention to outline your cyber family landscape, it means you know what kind of phones, computers, and electronic devices you are using. You know the apps, and you are familiar with the type of access they have. When was the last time you updated them? Do the apps on your phone track your location or the location of your loved ones? And Do they get access to your pictures and contacts? Do they take personal information like your email or phone number without you knowing it?
In order to safeguard your family, you need to understand the reality of the problem and the potential risks that hackers, scammers, and Cybermonsters bring. Still, before doing so, it is vital to outline and list what your family uses when connecting to the cyber world.
Be Aware of the basics of cyber safety
We protect our families on a daily basis. For example, if mosquitoes are everywhere when we go to the park, you take out our insect repellent. We apply sunscreen to avoid sunburn or use an umbrella when it rains. We also advise our kids not to accept gifts from a stranger. In the same way, we need to protect them from Cybermonsters. To Be Aware, let’s start with these five simple steps:
- Set the family rule to never give personal information (passwords, account numbers, SSNs, etc.) to anyone who asks for it online (or offline!).
- Set a time to set boundaries using electronic devices, discuss what could happen with Cybermonsters, and explain why prevention is essential.
- Understand the basics of cybersecurity and update your devices
- Please choose one of your most important passwords and change it. Consider a password manager tool if you are ready for the next level.
- Activate multi-factor authentication or 2FA, which means you have an extra code to validate your most precious accounts, including social media, emails, and financial accounts.
Be Mindful. You are what you click!
Phishing scams are one of the most common ways our family could become prey to online fraud. In fact, according to the FBI, nearly half of all identity theft victims reported being targeted by a scammer via email.
And while there are plenty of legitimate reasons why someone might want to contact you, or your family members such as for a job offer or important news, scammers may use clever tactics to trick us into providing sensitive data.
So how do you know whether a suspicious email is real or not?
Here are some tips to help you avoid falling for a fake email account.
1. Look out for the “From:” field. If the sender doesn’t include their name or the address appears unfamiliar, it’s probably a fake email. Also, look for misspellings or unusual punctuation. Cybermonsters often use automated programs to generate spam messages, so they don’t always make good decisions about what goes where.
2. Check the URL. A legitimate email address for a corporation usually won’t be coming from free services from @gmail.com, @hotmail.com or @yahoo.com. Be mindful and observe if the URL includes a different domain, such as @mybank.com or @myemailprovider.net, it’s likely a scam.
3. Make sure the subject line contains words that match the body of the email. For example, if the email claims that a person has won a prize, the subject line should read something like “Congratulations!” and the body of the email should contain the actual terms of the contest (remember, if it is too good to be true it probably isn’t!). Scammers and Cybermonsters sometimes try to lure recipients into clicking on a link by pretending to be someone else. This tactic works best if the link points to a website that looks similar to the original site. Only click an email if you have confirmed with the sender and it is the particular information you expect. Go directly to the website instead of clicking on a link.
Be Intentional, Aware, and Mindful, Be I AM can make such a difference and save your family from the potential dangers of cyber threats, whether online or offline.
Like you, my family is a top priority, and Cybermonsters shouldn’t be allowed to ruin our family or steal our information, money, precious time, and peace of mind. So I am here to be your guide and provide the tools and details you need to live Happily Ever Cyber!
Which steps are you taking to protect your family online? Share with us below!
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