Posted by Leyre Velasco
I have always thought that my mother was anything but naive. She has lived enriching experiences, has had a very intense working life with a high degree of responsibility and is practical, astute and witty. Let us say that she is not easy to rip off. At least, that’s what I thought.
Last Christmas, over one of many family get-togethers, she candidly announced:
“I have won an IPhone online”.
Somewhat stunned I asked: “Win? IPhone? Online?”
Calmly, she replied: “Yes, I won it over the Internet. I got a message on screen saying I had been selected over thousands of visitors and that the IPhone will be delivered to my address”.
I (rhetorically) asked: “Did you believe that?”
“Sure, – she replied -, why shouldn’t I?”
Getting seriously frightened, I asked: “Which data did you provide?”
“Oh, – my mother said – nothing much, just my email address and my postal address.”
So far, she has been getting emails requesting her participation on further contests but no mention of the IPhone, of course.
My mother was not at all conscious of the implications of her naivity. Because fraud through pop-ups is probably one of the oldest frauds there is on the Internet. Behind the so-called prizes there might be professional fraudsters, well able to spoof your identity or, without any scruples, make use of your personal data, all for economic benefit.
My mother is a regular Internet user. Her naivity is fruit of her lack of knowledge regarding the dangers of the Internet. That is why I believe it is so important to spread good Internet practises in order to raise awareness among different types of users. We teach our daughter security guidelines and therefore, she is cautious. My mother – up until now – has always browsed alone, no Jiminy Cricket around 🙂
How can you protect yourself?
- It is very important to have an antivirus program that includes a spam filter installed and up-to-date. Any of Panda Security’s solutions will protect you against these kind of threats.
- Check the source of information received. Ignore any pop-up that asks for your personal or financial information.
- Scan you computer for free.
- Inform yourself. We recommend pages on security, for instance, this blog or the Security Info page.
Luckily, my mother never provided her credit card details. Otherwise, she could have been in serious trouble. She has now installed the antivirus, scanned the computer and hopefully, from now onwards, she will be more cautious when browsing the net.
How about you? Have you ever been ripped off online? Tell us your experiences!