Hacking scams are another form of attempting to gain personal information, albeit via technology tools used to access your computer, mobile device, or network. Malware and ransomware, security exploits, and payment redirection scams are all examples of hacking scams.
If you’re unable to log in to your device, email address, social media account (or any other online accounts), you may have been hacked. Keep an eye out for new icons on your devices that you didn’t install and pay attention to whether your devices are slower than usual. Hackers may use pop-ups to encourage you to fix your device, or personal files may have been deleted or moved.
Unexpectedly large internet or phone bills (for data) may also be a sign that you’ve been hacked, and so is missing money, or your phone is switched to ‘SOS only’ mode (you can see this in place of the reception bars).
To protect yourself, keep your devices up to date and use antivirus software, anti-malware software, and a reliable firewall to protect the devices on your network. Source this software from a trusted source, like Bitdefender or Norton.
If you think you’ve been hacked, use antivirus software to scan your device for viruses and malware. Any doubts? Reach out to a computer specialist. Use a virtual private network (VPN) when you’re connecting devices to unknown WiFi networks, plus use passwords and PINs that are difficult to guess. Try to update passwords regularly, too. Get into the habit of scrutinising email attachments, particularly those from unknown sources, before opening them (and scan them with antivirus software).