By Andrew Wanjala, Dhaxle Chief Technology Officer In News Comments
Internet scams and cons are a growing menace in electronic transactions of all types. Since they first appeared with the start of e-commerce in 1994, they have grown in both sophistication and potency.
It almost seems that with each new iteration of life-enhancing technology, and the cutting-edge fraud protection they provide, these scams become more refined and harder to detect. They evolve with the technology meant to combat them, essentially resulting in a never-ending cycle of higher fraud risk and correspondingly higher protection.
However, it is possible to break this cycle and ensure protection from fraud risks on the internet. By adopting proper controls and maintaining good cyber hygiene, internet users can help break the vicious cycle of internet fraud, diminishing its threat exponentially.
In this article, we explain how this is possible by adopting best practices in cyber protection, and how Dhaxle contributes to making electronic transactions safer.
The High Cost of Internet Scams
Internet scams and cons are highly damaging to individuals, businesses, institutions and even governments. From phishing operations, to identity theft and fraud, credit card fraud, credential theft, and chargebacks, scams are extremely costly to those they target. These internet scams have been reported in countries all over the world, from the UK, to the US, and Nigeria.
According to a 2018 study by McAfee and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, internet scams cost the global economy up to $600 billion yearly. A figure that translates to almost 1% of global GDP. Bank of America reports even worse figures for 2019, estimating a loss of about $6 trillion to cybercrime and payment fraud in that year alone.
Even worse, the cost of these scams and cons is not limited to their direct impact on individual and business finances. Succumbing to scams can also lead to greater expense incurred as a result of strategies to track down and remediate these cons when they occur, as well as the investments necessary to upgrade fraud protection mechanisms in response.
LexisNexis estimates, in a 2017 study, that for every $1 lost to internet fraud, organizations expend between $2.48 to $2.82 in return. As a result, the real cost of internet scams is between 2 ½ to 3 times greater than the direct amounts lost to scammers.
There are many factors that contribute to the seemingly never-ending presence of fraud risk in electronic transactions. Yet, while many of these are due to external factors, such as inadequate protection. However, perhaps the biggest factor is a lack of good cyber hygiene.
McAfee found in a 2012 study that almost 17% of computers have no antivirus protection installed on them. This means about 1 in 6 computers are on the internet without adequate buffers against the risk of internet fraud.
In 2020 especially, internet fraud has become a growing threat. Experts at the University of Portsmouth already warned, in April, that the pandemic would lead to an increased rate of internet fraud. In turn, ActionFraud, the UK’s national cybercrime reporting center, reports that over £16 million has been lost to online shopping fraud during the lockdown.
Internet users and consumers have a big role to play in the prevention of fraud, as even the best protection will fail if it is not properly implemented.
How to Protect Yourself Against Internet Scams and Cons
Although internet scams can be quite sophisticated, they still rely on one crucial factor – the complicity of victims. No matter how well-thought out these scams are, they commonly rely on the assumption that victims will not have sufficient knowledge to protect against or stop them.
This is why combating internet scams begins from understanding how they occur and what to do in order to prevent them. The following are some of the best practices everyone should know to protect themselves and their transactions.
● Be invested in your cyber safety: It is important to learn as much as possible about common internet scams and their features. With a little knowledge and vigilance, it becomes much easier to avoid these scams outright and detect when you might become a victim. Learning about cyber safety also helps you teach others about best practices and how they can keep their transactions safe.
● Keep your protection up-to-date: Protect your devices against attacks by fraudsters by keeping them up-to-date. Many scams, such as phishing, credential theft, and keylogging, occur due to out-of-date software. You can rely on your software provider to provide periodical updates that give you the most current protection. However, it is your responsibility to ensure they are installed and running as they should. Turning on automatic updates and scans can make this easier. Also, make sure you buy only highly-rated software.
● Use strong passwords: Ensure your passwords are at least 14 characters long, remembering to include numbers and special characters. Avoid easy-to-guess passwords like the name of a pet or your mother’s maiden name, as well as common passwords like 123456. Do not leave default passwords in operation for devices like your Wi-Fi router. A good trick to finding a good password is by taking a phrase and then removing a few words. You can also replace some of the remaining words with equivalent numbers and special characters, such as replacing “a” with “@”.
● Leverage on multi-factor authentication: Many platforms and software programs now offer two-factor or multi-factor authentication. This simply means they require you to do something else, such as enter a special code sent to your phone, in addition to signing in with your password. When enabled, multi-factor authentication makes it much harder for someone to hijack your apps (especially payment apps) or other accounts.
● Maintain proper cyber hygiene: Be careful at all times when you are on the internet or in situations that might compromise your cyber safety. Do not enter sensitive information while using public Wi-Fi, as it is easy for anyone else on the same network to listen in on your traffic. If you have no other option, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or a privacy-oriented browser like Tor that can encrypt your traffic. Backup your sensitive files on both a removable hard drive and cloud storage. Also, avoid entering sensitive information or even staying on websites that do not use “https” or that appears suspicious. Scrutinize emails thoroughly, especially those from educational institutions or banks, and always confirm before you send any kind of information in return.
Although there are several more practices you can adopt to stay safe on the internet, these are some of the core best practices you can implement today. The bottom line is, when it comes to electronic transactions and using the internet, it pays to be proactive and informed.
Protecting Yourself With Dhaxle Technologies
Dhaxle provides a secure and easy way for overseas business owners, entrepreneurs, and overseas workers to transfer money and transact internationally. Whether the aim is to make remittances home in a secure and swift manner, or to find a partner that can help implement projects in a trustworthy manner, Dhaxle provides a comprehensive package.
Apart from leveraging on cutting edge technology to ensure that customers have an intuitive platform that meets their transaction needs, Dhaxle also implements the latest anti-fraud and cybercrime protection. This includes:
● Encouraging the selection of strong and unique long-form passwords upon sign-up. The registration process is also secured using a captcha and requires double opt-in email to guard against bot registrations and protect unintended registrants.
● The platform integrates two-factor authentication, providing an extra layer of security for sign-in.
● All transactions are protected by requiring a one-time passcode before the transaction is approved.
● Dhaxle uses only PCI-compliant 3rd party APIs. This implements a stringent information security standard that meets best-in-class practices.
● All card numbers on the platform are encrypted using AES-256. The decryption keys are also stored separately and transmitted separately.
● In case of payout failures, the bank returns the funds to Dhaxle within five business days, providing a reason for the failure. The user is immediately notified by email on their dashboard.
● Receipts are generated with every transaction. Receipts for invoice and subscription payments are further itemized to include line items, discounts, and taxes.
● Comprehensive FAQs, fraud protection blogs, and update emails are constantly provided to avoid consumer fraud scenarios. The platform also automatically recommends periodic password updates.
At Dhaxle, we understand that using our platform means entrusting us with the safety of your funds and wealth management objectives. This is why we provide a platform that is compliant with best practices and designed to ensure the security of your transactions. If you would like to learn more about Dhaxle, please visit our website.Keywords: electronic security, scam avoidance, scams, investment, transaction safety, system encryption