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Cybersafe November 04, 2022

The unique ways cybercriminals use to steal your personal data

Did you know that October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month in the Philippines? This is a reminder for us that in this digital age, maintaining our safety in the online space will always be an important topic.

In terms of staying safe, you may have noticed how we repeatedly stress the importance of not sharing your personal information with other people. Cybercriminals use common schemes, such as phishing or malware using unknown apps, to trick you so that they can get the data they need to access your account — and steal your hard-earned money.

However, this does not mean cybercriminals limit themselves to these methods. There are various methods out there that may not be that prominent, but require you to be aware of them for your own protection.

Here are some of them:

Your trash

A famous saying goes “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” That applies to cybersecurity too: Did you know that your trash can be where cybercriminals can harvest your personal data?

This applies specifically to credit card users and their monthly statements of accounts. Most credit card users receive a letter containing the amount they need to pay, and that letter usually ends up in the trash. However, resourceful cybercriminals can gather your personal and financial information from the trash to plot their way to accessing your credit card.

To prevent this from happening, ask your bank to send paperless statements that you can through your banking app instead. Should you still continue to receive a letter, you should shred the papers before throwing them away.

Romance scams

What do you usually look for in a partner? Is it their hobbies or how his/her personality is compatible with yours? If you are looking for one right now, you may want to add cybersecurity in your checklist.

If you are using online dating apps, it is likely that you may encounter someone who is pretending to be another person. That impostor could claim he/she is in dire financial straits, thus he/she needs money for. This person could also be bold enough to convince you into safely sharing your banking information with them. After all, you should trust your “partner” if you want your “relationship” to fully blossom, right?

Just like other scams, ensuring you do not share your personal data with strangers is one of the best ways to protect yourself. You should be wary whenever a stranger is asking for your bank details.

Remember that you fully deserve the benefits your hard-earned savings can bring, and no one should be able to take that away from you.

SIM Swap Scam

A common theme of our articles is that while banking has been made easier today through technology, we must also know that technological advancements have made cybercriminals craftier with their schemes. At this point, they can even take control of our smartphones. This is what happens in a SIM swap scam. The scheme starts with cybercriminals looking for your personal data — whether stalking you on social media, buying the data from the dark web (which can only be accessed through specific networks and not by search engines), or through phishing.

Once cybercriminals get the data, they will impersonate you by calling your mobile carrier to request for a new SIM.. From that point, you will lose access to your SIM — and cybercriminals can freely see your messages and calls, allowing them to steal your banking credentials. To avoid being a victim of this scam, you should be careful in sharing your information with others. For one, it helps to differentiate phishing emails and texts from authentic messages from your bank. You should also pay more attention to what you post online so as not to give anyone crucial information.

While cybercrime can come in different forms and shapes, there is a common antidote on how we can avoid being a victim: Being careful in sharing your personal information. Always remember that criminals cannot do anything if they do not have your data. If you do need to share information, you must only do so in trusted channels, such as verified official websites of companies. That is because they are more likely to take extra measures to ensure your data is protected from unwanted entities.