5 Cyber Security Tips To Safeguard Your Loved Ones From Phishing, Social Engineering, And Other Cyber Threats

Valentine’s Day goes beyond just romance. This time of year is when cyber criminals and scammers are more active, launching various types of attacks like phishing, vishing, smishing, and social engineering.

Australia has started alerting individuals about a scam known as “pig butchering” or “romance baiting” that tends to increase around Valentine’s Day. The process begins with the attacker taking on the persona of an appealing and wealthy person, building a strong emotional bond with their target.

In 2022, several Australians will have been affected by the romance scam, experiencing an average loss of $40 million.

People often click on links in emails and texts without considering the legitimacy of the communication. Nowadays, young people are usually quite knowledgeable about technology and skilled at using computers and mobile devices. It’s important to keep in mind that being knowledgeable about technology doesn’t necessarily equate to being security-conscious.

Indeed, younger generations like Gen Z and millennials often put off necessary IT updates more than their older counterparts. In particular, 58% of Gen Z and 42% of millennials frequently delay these updates, in contrast to 31% of Gen X and 15% of baby boomers.

Older generations may be less inclined to embrace technology, leading to the use of weaker passwords and a reluctance to use two-factor authentication. They might struggle to identify a social engineering attack.

Share your expertise on security to help your loved ones safeguard their personal information from cyber threats like social engineering attacks and scams.

Here are five recommended practices for individuals of all ages and levels of experience in technology, as reminders can benefit everyone.

1. Be cautious of phishing attempts this Valentine’s Day

Scammers increase their phishing efforts during Valentine’s Day and other holidays. They employ a variety of tactics, such as installing malware through deceptive links and extorting personal information. Here are crucial email practices to keep in mind when communicating with your family and friends:

Exercise caution when opening emails, particularly if you are unfamiliar with the sender. It’s important to exercise caution even when receiving emails from familiar sources that seem unusual.

Take into account the situation: is it typical for this individual to send you emails, especially now? If you’re uncertain, a brief phone call can confirm their identity.

It is advisable to refrain from clicking on links in emails that you were not expecting.

It is important to avoid sharing sensitive information in an email.

Always be cautious when receiving offers via email that seem too good to be true.

Being mindful of these practices can protect you and your loved ones from phishing threats this Valentine’s Day.

2. Be cautious of phishing’s relatives, vishing, and smishing

There are various social engineering techniques used to trick individuals into revealing personal information, contacting an organization or person, or installing malware. These methods can be delivered through text messages (smishing), phone calls (vishing), or compromised social media platforms.

Be cautious of deceptive messages that may seem to be from official sources like the government (IRS, Census Bureau, or law enforcement) or from a familiar contact whose account has been hacked. Senior citizens should be cautious of a common scam where a caller pretends to be their grandchild in need of money.

It’s important to follow the advice provided if you encounter any strange messages through text, phone calls, or social media.

3. Don’t forget to pause and reflect

Take it easy. Avoid getting too caught up in the fast pace of technology. Avoid relying on technology and be more cautious about blindly trusting everything. Pause and reflect on the content before you proceed. Consider whether it is valid and anticipated. Ensure that it is properly fastened.

It may seem straightforward, but in the hustle and bustle of modern life, we can overlook it.

4. Ensuring safe and convenient online shopping for last-minute gifts

When looking for the ideal last-minute gift online, it’s important to prioritize the safety and security of your shopping experience. Here are some tips for making wise shopping decisions:

Make sure to confirm the authenticity of the website. When visiting a new website, always make sure to verify its legitimacy before proceeding. Make sure to check for “https://” in the URL; the’s’ indicates secure, meaning the communication is encrypted. Furthermore, a closed padlock symbol indicates a secure transaction.

Review security certificates. Explore further and verify the site’s security certificates for additional peace of mind.

Make sure to search for trust seals. Third-party security vendor seals can indicate the reliability of a website.

Stay informed about the risks of identity fraud. In 2023, the FTC received a total of 4 million identity theft reports, resulting in estimated losses of $10.2 billion, as reported by the National Council on Identity Theft Protection.

Consider enabling multi-factor authentication when creating an account on an online store for added security. Make sure to use a robust password and think about the potential risks of saving your payment details if you don’t shop on that site often.

By following these steps, you can have a more secure online shopping experience, even when time is running out!

5. Refrain from using public Wi-Fi networks

Consider carefully before using public Wi-Fi for your online shopping needs.

It’s important to refrain from sharing personal information, such as your address or credit card details, on an open network. It’s important to prioritize security when using public Wi-Fi to safeguard your sensitive information. Opt for a secure, private connection for online transactions.

Ensure the safety of yourself and those you care about. Celebrate this Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to practice online safety and protect yourself! As we commemorate this significant event, let’s remain watchful against individuals who may try to exploit it for harmful intentions.

By following the helpful tips provided, you can protect yourself and your loved ones from falling victim to romance scams. Just a friendly reminder to stay vigilant and take steps to safeguard your online security for a stress-free Valentine’s Day. Let’s promote positivity, not deceit!

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