The rise of online trading platforms has made it easier than ever to invest in the stock market, forex or cryptocurrency. Unfortunately, it’s also made it easier than ever to get hacked and lose money.
According to the United States FTC, the rise of cryptocurrency trading, in particular, has exacerbated the rate of investment scam losses by more than 1000%. Another report described how tech-savvy Gen Z’ers (who form the rapidly growing bloc of online investors) are likelier to fall for online scams than their less exposed grandparents.
Here are mistakes and important warning signs to look out for, and what measures to take to protect your online trading activity.
1) Understand How Cybercrime Works
Thinking like a hacker is a clever way to understand how cyber-criminals operate.
The first step toward protecting yourself is to understand how cybercrime works. This isn’t rocket science; it helps you identify the types of attacks that are most likely to target you and how they could try to manipulate you into giving up sensitive information.
For instance, the most common type of attack uses email phishing – sending emails that appear legitimate but ask you for sensitive information.
You don’t need to be a computer whiz to know essential security behaviors, such as updating software and changing your passwords regularly.
2) Conduct Due Diligence
The trouble is that while there are legitimate reasons for investing in forex, crypto or the stock market, there are also many ways for fraudsters to exploit those legitimate motivations.
Most investment fraudsters on the internet follow a slower, more cautious approach than with other kinds of scams. They usually take their time to build credibility and trust. That’s why romance scams remain so rife.
They send you emails that look like they’ve come from legitimate sources. They offer benefits like free business advice or educational materials. Yet, you must be able to conduct due diligence.
While trading, it’s important to understand and utilize trading signals and strategies like the hammer candlestick for reversal, three white soldiers or three white crows for continuation and similar candlesticks. In investing (crypto and NFTs particularly), it’s highly important to confirm you clicked the correct link and from the right source – the common scam in the space is fake pages sending out links to buy tokens or mint NFTs. They usually impersonate a real, genuine project and therefore have unsuspecting victims investing in their scam.
3) Go the Extra Mile
Cybercrime can be challenging to detect.
You might notice that some of the advice in this article sounds like common sense, but that’s because most people don’t take these steps to safeguard their data. For instance, last year, the most common password was 123456.
Cyber-criminals will go to great lengths to get your data. Therefore, it’s only reasonable that you are willing to go the extra mile to protect it.
People who think like hackers know that what makes the difference is the extra steps taken, such as installing malware-blocking tools and enabling two-factor authentication.
4) Exercise Utmost Caution on Social Media
Accessing your identity is one of the biggest threats that internet criminals can pose against you.
Social media can be a significant contributing factor in the spread of identity theft by exposing you to phishing scams and other nefarious activities that may compromise your account.
Internet fraudsters know that people often post unguarded information on social media, and they won’t hesitate to use it to their advantage.
Almost all of these techniques rely on your personal information being exposed through social media; therefore, by making sure your privacy settings are strong, you will significantly reduce the chances of becoming a victim.
5) Always Be Suspicious
The bottom line is that you must guard your personal information diligently. You can never be too cyber secure, so you must be willing to take extra steps to ensure that your financial information does not fall into the hands of nefarious elements.
It’s good to always be skeptical of any unsolicited request for information online or over the phone involving your data. Even some paranoia may be helpful, as long as it keeps you and your money safe.
Fraudulent messages can be disguised as official-looking notifications from your bank or government agencies, so it’s essential always to be suspicious when you receive unexpected correspondence.
In an age when financial security is more important than ever, it’s essential to take time to review your safety procedures.
While most people are aware that digital security is a necessity in the world we live in today, few put enough focus on digital protection of their own data – particularly when it comes to financial trading and investing.