I’m a tech savvy and Google Chrome users might get caught by a simple trick
An ANTI-FRAUD expert has warned of an online trap that could expose you to scammers.
Speaking to The Sun, James Walker, CEO of UK anti-scam company Rightly, highlighted a sneaky trick used by websites that could get your data into the wrong hands.
This involves the tickable consent forms that many websites present to you on your first visit.
Under EU regulations, sites must ask if they can share the data they collect about you with third parties, such as marketing companies.
However, some websites don’t follow the rules, potentially exposing you to scammers.
Under the UK version of the GDPR – Europe’s data protection laws – visitors to a website must register for their data to be tracked.
But many websites automatically register visitors as having registered unless they uncheck a box on the consent form.
Many website visitors simply click Accept on the form the moment it appears in a hurry to find what they came for.
However, it can put your data at risk, James said — and risk it ending up in the hands of scammers.
“We should minimize the amount of data we transmit,” he told The Sun. “Be aware of sites that ask you to unsubscribe rather than opt-in.
“We’ve always taken GDPR to mean that you have to tick a box to consent to the sharing of your data.
“But many companies are breaking the law.
“They made it so that if you don’t check the box, your data is shared. It’s the other way around.”
Online scams remain a hugely popular way of generating money among criminal gangs, with £1.3billion stolen by crooks last year.
They most often take the form of phishing scams in which an attacker impersonates a bank or social media platform in an attempt to obtain your passwords, email address or other sensitive information.
Phishing scams are more effective if senders know personal information, such as a password or your date of birth.
This makes data collected by some websites a useful tool for cyber crooks hoping to trick you into money.
Consenting to sharing your data with third parties can improve your web experience by making the advertisements you see more personal.
However, the data you provide could fall into the wrong hands.
Indeed, although your data is intended to be shared with marketing companies, it sometimes ends up on the dark web.
James said: “When you choose to share your data with these websites, you don’t know where it goes, how it will be shared or how it will be used.
“It can end up with so-called data brokers, selling your data to hundreds of organizations if they can. Some of them might just be scammers.”
He urged netizens to opt out of third-party tracking where possible to keep their data safe.
The British are more than ever victims of online scams. Their popularity among scammers has increased during the Covid-19 shutdowns.
Research published by Rightly on Tuesday found that nearly half of Britons have been scammed or approached by an online scam.
The survey completed by 2,000 adults across the UK found that more than a third (37%) of these people lost money as a result.
A lack of awareness appears to be to blame, with Britons failing to take basic security measures, leaving them exposed to scams.
For example, less than a third of respondents regularly change their passwords, while only 45% are wary of free Wi-Fi hotspots in hotels and airports – a common hunting ground for scammers.
James said online scams are a huge problem that isn’t talked about enough.
“It’s this hidden crime that victims are too embarrassed to talk about,” he said. “Therefore, everyone gets away with it.”
“We talk about the fact that there are scams, but no one sees the extent and the damage that this does to individuals.”
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