What *don’t* we know about online safety?

I’ve always been pretty confident in my online safety skills because I grew up with so much of it and I don’t go to sketchy websites, trust random links, etc., but I almost got my identity stolen and did get malware installed on my phone because I didn’t know that people can fake the number that they’re calling from. I felt like an idiot afterwards because so many other red flags were present (building trust, asking me to do smaller things before larger things, creating a sense of urgency, unexpected call, slightly incorrect descriptions of how I know things actually work), and I’m taking all the steps I can to be safe now (filing reports, freezing/alerting credit scores, changing banking information, new phone), but I’m still a little stunned that I got so close to it. 

(My sister has been laughing at me since because she, apparently, has an app on her phone that lets her trace the IP of scam callers, and she likes to address them by their full real names and ask about other people they live with and listen to them freak out and then use their information to sign them up to get spam themselves, so that’s another way you can go I guess.) 

We’ve had other threads on online safety that cover the basics really well, but what are some strange or specific tips you’ve all had to learn the hard way? It seems like scam strategies have been evolving faster than ever. 


  • Comments (2)

    • 3

      “people can fake the number that they’re calling from”

      That technique has unfortunately become rather common among spammers. Another very disorienting technique is impersonating the voice of a friend or family member.

      Along the same lines, cyberattacks are getting more sophisticated. I’ve been working towards following all the recommendations in TP’s digital security guide.


    • 3

      I track this and have seen attacks in which the voice of a loved one is faked, fooling people into giving money to a fake “family” member, and even a live video call was faked in real time.