Crime doesn’t only exist in the physical world, even in the online space, you can become a victim of it. The Oxford dictionary defines cybercrime as criminal activities carried out by means of computers or the internet.
The history of cybercrime in Nigeria dates back to the days of the Yahoo boys who were always at the cyber cafe, and now Cybercrime and internet fraud have become the new trends. The prevalence of cybercrime in the world has led to the creation of laws that penalize it. But, more than that, we also have a responsibility to fight cybercrime in our small ways as members of the community. And one of the ways to do this is to avoid being a victim of cybercrime and internet fraud as we go about our day to day activities.
How to Avoid Being a Victim of Cybercrime
You will be able to spot Yahoo boys and other internet fraudsters and thus, avoid being a victim of them with the few tips I shared below. Keep reading.
Make online payments only on secured sites
A lot of businesses now accept online payments on their websites for goods and services. While this is a plausible thing, one needs to be careful with the amount of information given out online. Nowadays, there are phishing websites that harvest user information and steal them. You can prevent yourself from becoming their prey when you are cautious of websites not having the secured icon at the page link attached to the HTTPS://.
These sites are suspicious and require caution before you make any payment or give out any information. Web browsers like Google chrome usually prompt the user to watch out for these phishing sites. Websites without the .com, .com.ng, .co.uk, etc are usually suspicious and you should avoid them.
Avoid money-doubling links and dubious employment offers.
You can avoid being a victim of cybercrime in Nigeria when you understand that no government agency or private organization demands payments for job placement. Websites that demand payments for employment and money doubling schemes like MMM, 86fb, etc usually access the user information and security.
Ever received a call from a strange number telling you your name and requesting further details? This leaves you wondering how these people got your information. If you’ve had such an experience in the past, it is most likely a result of the forms you filled out online in the hope of getting free money.
Read also: What is Cybersecurity? How to protect your business from internet security threats.
Always confirm before initiating any transaction
To avoid being a victim of cybercrime, always call your friends and family before making transfers to avoid being scammed by Yahoo boys. Social media accounts that have been hacked are usually the ones requesting for help and advertising money doubling schemes through the account. The hackers usually follow similar conversations you had with the hacked account to lure unsuspecting persons into making payments online and giving out vital information such as their bank details or social media accounts.
Be discreet with your lifestyle online
Success is tempting and there’s always the urge to show off what you have and impress the streets. I’m sure you know the ‘straight out of the trenches’ thing.
Cybercrime and internet fraud perpetrators in Nigeria usually target people who draw attention to themselves through what they flaunt online, these criminal elements monitor online activities to launch attacks on their unsuspecting prey. Unless you’re representing a particular brand or organization with an online presence, try as much as possible to be very discreet with your lifestyle online as this will save you a lot of unnecessary attacks.
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Do not give your passwords to strangers online
Most often, hackers find a way to ask for personal information and this leads to being compromised. It is in your best interest to avoid being a victim of cybercrime by understanding how these criminals and internet fraudsters operate.
They usually do so by impersonating customer care agents of a particular organization that the unsuspecting victim is attached to. It is also worth noting that no organization will demand for sensitive information online such as your security questions and passwords. One of the commonest schemes that Yahoo boys use to reset a person’s account information is by putting a call across or sending a message to demand for login details. Be smart, don’t fall for that gimmick.
Read also: 6 Irritating problems with online shopping in Nigeria.
Use strong password combinations for all your online accounts
Another way to avoid being a victim of cybercrime in Nigeria is to have a strong password combination for your online platforms and accounts. Accounts with simple password combinations usually are the ones susceptible to cyber attacks. A strong password combination contains an alphabet, capital letters, numbers, special characters and usually a length of not less than 10 characters at the least. This type of password combination is mostly always difficult to hack.
Avoid using easy-to-get info as your passwords, such as the name of spouse, phone numbers, address, date of birth, and other names that could be tied to you.
Don’t share nudes and sensitive images online
No matter the payment being offered by the stranger demanding for these images, do not share them online. Many unsuspecting individuals have fallen victim to these criminals. It usually starts with strangers making constant conversations with their prey online. The unsuspecting victim is lured by a promise of payment of a certain amount or love for a nude photograph.
These pictures when shared are used for extortion, the victim is extorted with tremendous threats to expose such images to the online community. The best way to avoid being a victim of cybercrime and internet fraud in Nigeria through this scheme is by being strictly confidential with private images online.
The advent of the internet came with a lot of opportunities for the global community as it created an opportunity for connection between individuals, and also made payments and interactions seamless. However, just like every good thing, the internet came with a lot of vices, which has left many unsuspecting people bitter after being scammed through it.
The internet is gradually becoming a part of our lives that we can’t do without. Hence, serious caution is required to be on the safe side, and thus avoid being a victim of cybercrime and internet fraud.
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- Yakubu is a seasoned writer with a scientific background (Biochemistry) having a Masters level of education. He enjoys writing articles involving the technology space and some other days he's a Researcher trying to change the world.