Cybercrime is on the Rise – Stay One Step Ahead with these Useful Hints and Tips

by | Feb 19, 2017 | Technology Featured

 Source: Cyber Crime Solutions via Facebook

With the high street winding up, the era of ultra-convenient online shopping appears to be at hand. But there are still a few bugs to be ironed out. As with any innovation, new rules mean new ways for those rules to be bent, broken, and exploited.

Cybercrime is one of the fastest-growing worries for law enforcement agencies and consumers alike, with criminal practices expanding almost as quickly as the technologies they piggyback off of. At times, the variety and strangeness of new threats presented by cybercriminals may seem overwhelming, but familiarizing yourself with the major scamming tactics, and how to spot them, should buy you some peace of mind.

App Impersonators

Source: Facebook via FakeChat App

Research carried out by Couponbox indicates that scammers are flooding mobile app stores with fake apps – designed to fool consumers into providing scammers with their personal details.

Some are easily recognized as duplicitous: containing spelling errors and poorly imitated logos. Some may appear legitimate superficially, but a closer inspection of an app’s ratio of positive to negative reviews, its number of total downloads, and the spelling of its publisher’s name – for instance Micronsoft – should help you to determine whether or not the app is legitimate.

While some fake apps only exist to display annoying but ultimately trivial banner adds, others may sell your data onto third parties, or attempt to use your credit card information to steal from you directly, making it worth your while to develop a knack for sorting fact from fiction.

Phishing Scams

Source: Facebook via

Early forms of phishing scams included the now proverbial “rich Nigerian prince”, who just needed a little help to transfer his enormous fortune. Today, phishers are far more sophisticated, and most have shifted their focus of attack. Companies with extremely large user bases, such as cloud storage firms, are now more likely to be targeted – not least because many users of these services tend to use their email addresses as their usernames, and to re-use passwords.

As above, to spot a phishing email, or the fake website that clicking the link in such an email will take you to, focus on spelling, grammar, and any tell-tale signs that something is not quite right. Alternately, go to Dropbox’s – or whatever services’ – webpage via Google or by directly typing the address, and check to see whether there is a record of the email on your account.

Social Engineering


Though complicated-sounding, social engineering really refers to online forms of impersonation, and may sometimes be employed in a phishing scam. What differentiates a social engineering attack is that the perpetrator will often impersonate someone personally known to the victim, after having first gained access to the email or social media account of one of the victim’s acquaintances.

Messages sent by these scammers will often contain a request for your personal or bank information, or one to click on a link or perform some activity. They will also likely use generic language or attempt to entice or compel you to carry out their bidding using threat or reward style tactics.


Though many of these types of scams are not new in their basic concept, digital technologies do allow such to be carried out in new ways. This is especially true in terms of sheer volume, as scammers now have the option of performing the same con in thousands of locations at any one time – something that could not be achieved with a fake moustache and forged paper.  The best way to stay safe is to be vigilant and to keep abreast of the latest scams and cons.

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