In March 2022, some friends of mine got scammed on Instagram. A scammer posing as a friend or work colleague tricked them into “helping” them out and took over their account.

It’s motivated me to help those I know and love by being more aware of the dangers that lurk on the internet. The reality is, that the internet is full of your personally identifiable information (PII) being leaked and publically available.

To be more secure online, you need to be more private online. To be more private, you need to understand why privacy is important and how you can better become private.

Be Aware, Scammers

Your information (data) is recognized as the most valuable commodity on earth, why?

Your name, address, likes, dislikes, search history and visited sites all make up your online profile. The more data you share, the more information others have on you.

Big tech companies can target and sell you their products, or petty criminals can try and invade your life. You might say “So what? It won’t happen to me.” Well sir/madam, let me say, it might.

Cybercrime is on the rise, it’s hit my friends and family and it’s likely impacted you too.

Have you noticed more calls from unknown phone numbers? Those are most likely scammers too.

To illustrate, why do you have curtains on your windows at home?

We value our private lives in the safety of our own homes, why should our digital lives be any different? We understand if someone just walks into our house and looks around, that is a major breach of our privacy!

It’s the same for our digital life, and our data.

What do you do?

You’re reading this, so you’ve already started being aware, that’s the first step.

If you receive a link or random message, even if you recognize the name, be suspicious. Don’t click/touch anything, search it first.

For example, here’s a screenshot of a recent attempted scam that my wife received:

The message came from someone she knows, it seemed somewhat trustworthy, right? Wrong, a random link like this is highly suspicious.

Using the domain name gift store buzz, you can search that up with other terms like ‘Instagram’ or ‘scam’ to see if this is common. In the case of this scam, there are a lot of articles like this one that showcases it.

Protect Yourself

Prevention is your friend, be aware and stop the scammer in their tracks.

Do this by protecting your data with a secure password manager like Bitwarden. Install an anti-virus tool like Bitdefender, see the best antivirus for more.

Thanks for reading, for more, here are some helpful links I used while researching this article.