Avoiding the Fakes: How to Spot Dubious Messages and Improve Your Digital safety

Sep 28, 2023 | Online Business Support

Lately, there has been a tidal wave of dodgy messages landing in client DMs. So, what should you do if you encounter one of these? The answer is straightforward: Recognise, Ignore, Delete, and Do Not Engage! These messages that land in your DM’s are designed to make you panic. And if you panic, you’ll have clicked on the link included before you know it. Their goal? To prey on your panic and in the process, gather your personal info.

Spotting a Fake – The Red Flags

❌Dodgy Logo: Check the logo closely – a distorted or low-quality logo is often the first sign of a counterfeit message.

❌Dodgy Grammar and Spelling: Really read the message. Do the sentences make sense? And is the spelling just off?  These are both classic indicators of fraudulent DM’s.

❌Dodgy Looking Link: Really read the link they’ve attached – does it look like it’s from a reputable domain? Any unusual-looking link is another warning sign and a common tactic in online scams.

The Danger Behind the Links

Nobody wants their page to be closed down, so when you get a message threatening just that, you go into survival mode and are more likely to have clicked on links that promise solutions or explanations before you stop to think. Please don’t be fooled; clicking these links is where the danger lies. You’ll be asked for personal info, so if you’ve clicked or shared that personal info inadvertently, it’s crucial to change your passwords and login details immediately.

Bolstering Your Online Defences 

Here’s one super important piece of advice: Always have two-factor authentication switched on! That’s when you get a code sent to your mobile phone, or you use an external app (like Google Authenticator) to generate a login code. It adds an extra layer of security, making it harder for the dodgy scammers of the world to get access to your accounts. 

Think About Your Passwords

Please, please, use a password manager like 1Password, Dashlane, Keeper, NordPass etc. There’s lots of them out there, so do your research and find the one that fits your needs best. They’re essential for keeping multiple passwords safe, and they’ll generate really strong passwords or passphrases too. You do need to spend a bit of time setting them up, but it is time well spent. 

If you’re repeating the same password across several sites, STOP IT RIGHT NOW – you’re basically a hacker’s dream if you do that! 

Conclusion: Think before you act  

I get it. We’re all busy, and a lot of the time, we rely heavily on our social accounts in business. But always take a step back and think before you act on any unsolicited messages. Taking the time to think can be the one thing that will prevent you falling into one of these cyber traps. By recognising the red flags and taking some simple steps to make sure your online security is robust, you can stay as safe as possible online. And finally, do remember no security measure is completely impenetrable, but the harder you make it to access your accounts, the more likely you are to stay safe.

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Allison Christie Online