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11. We impersonate trustworthy companies

11. We impersonate trustworthy companies
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You may get a fake financial warning from your bank or credit card company, order confirmation from a retailer, or social networking invitation.

Outsmart us: Remember, most companies never ask you outright for your account information. You can sometimes spot this type of scam by hovering over the address in the From field or by hitting Reply All and looking for misspellings or strange addresses.

Also, check to see that the email was sent to you and only you. If you’re not sure it’s legit, call the company to check.

12. We debit tiny amounts - at first

12. We debit tiny amounts - at first
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Cyberthieves may test-drive a stolen card number by running a small charge under $10 to see if anyone notices.

Outsmart us: Check your transactions online regularly – even daily.

If you spot a charge you don’t recognise, report it immediately to your card issuer.

13. We hacked that ATM you withdrew cash from

13. We hacked that ATM you withdrew cash from
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Crooks install cleverly disguised “skimmers” to steal your card information, while a hidden camera or a thin skin over the keypad captures your PIN.

Outsmart us: Try to use ATMs inside banks, where it’s tougher for criminals to install these devices, and inspect the machine carefully before you use it.

“Whenever I use an ATM, I give the area where you insert the card a little tug to make sure it’s secure and is really a part of the machine,” Fellini says.

14. We count on you downloading free fake apps

14. We count on you downloading free fake apps
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These apps steal confidential information or bypass your phone’s security settings and subscribe you to premium services.

“You choose the free version of a game, it asks for all sorts of access, and you say ‘yes, yes, yes’ to all the permissions,” Vigna says.

“The next thing you know, it’s sending premium SMS text messages and stealing your money.”

Outsmart us: Before installing an app, check the ratings and number of people who have installed it – hackers can fake positive ratings, but they can’t stop other posters from warning that the app is a trick.

Most fake apps have to be downloaded straight from a website, so make sure you always download from an official market like Google Play or Apple’s App Store.

15. We love that you always leave Wi-Fi on

15. We love that you always leave Wi-Fi on
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Though it’s convenient to leave Wi-Fi turned on while travelling with your laptop, tablet, or smartphone, your device will constantly try to connect to known networks.

Attackers can identify those and set up rogue networks that impersonate them.

Outsmart us: Get in the habit of turning Wi-Fi off on your portable devices when you leave home with them.

16. We fool you with software updates

16. We fool you with software updates
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You know you’re supposed to update your software to protect it, but hackers may send you fake updates that actually install malicious backdoor programs on your computer.

Outsmart us: If you get a pop-up message about an update, go to the software provider’s actual website and check to see if it’s real.

You can also try closing your browser to see if the pop-up disappears – if it does, it may be a fake.

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17. We can crack supposedly safe retailers

17. We can crack supposedly safe retailers
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Experts say big brands will continue getting hacked until retailers can better protect their data.

Hackers sell your information on the black market, and other criminals then use it to make counterfeit cards that can be used for shopping.

Outsmart us: Don’t save your financial information when you shop online – check out as a “guest” when you can.

If you fall prey to an attack, ask your bank to issue you a new credit card, take advantage of any credit monitoring that’s offered, and scrutinise your statements.

Safety in real life

Safety in real life
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Neither readers nor celebrities are exempt from cyber crime. Here are some tips to stay safe:

Try not to apply for credit cards online. Credit card companies require a raft of personal details. Once you put them out there, it’s out there forever. (Christine Mumper, via email)

Avoid debit cards – they allow hackers much easier access to bank accounts than credit cards do. Also, when logging in to an online account, never check the box that says “Remember me”. It takes only a couple of seconds to type in your username and password each time, and you don’t want that information “remembered”. (Rick Kane, Collettsville, North Carolina)

Even your traditional account details aren’t safe online. In 2008, controversial media figure Jeremy Clarkson posted his bank account details in a newspaper column, ranting that it was perfectly fine and we were all too obsessed with privacy. A savvy reader assembled enough of Clarkson’s information from public sources to set up a direct debit to a British charity from the account. Chastened, Clarkson admitted his mistake. And changed his details.

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Philippines lockdown update:
Please be advised that due to the current lockdown in the Philippines, we hope to have the April print issue available by the middle of July, and the May, June and July issues available by the end of July, but this is dependent on when local lockdown restrictions are lifted. We sincerely apologise for this inconvenience. Thank you and stay safe!
– The Reader’s Digest team