3 Top Tips To Avoid Online Scams: Stay Alert and Secure!

3 Top Tips To Avoid Online Scams: Stay Alert and Secure!

Sharing your information online to shop, sign up to various subscriptions to access apps etc. has become an integral part of our lives. However, along with its numerous benefits, there are also risks. Online scams have become increasingly sophisticated, targeting unsuspecting individuals.  

Over 20,693 instances of online shopping scams were reported in Australia in 2021. Geelong Technology Group is here to raise awareness and empower you with knowledge about common scams, enabling you to navigate the digital landscape safely.  


1. Phishing Scams 

One of the most prevalent online scams is phishing. Cybercriminals pose as legitimate organisations through deceptive emails, messages, or websites, attempting to trick you into revealing sensitive information like passwords, credit card details, or social security numbers. To protect yourself, always double-check the sender’s email address, avoid clicking on suspicious links, and never provide personal information.


2. Online Shopping Fraud 

Fake online stores and sellers lure shoppers with enticing deals, only to disappear after receiving payment. To avoid falling victim, shop from reputable websites, read customer reviews, and use secure payment methods. Look for the padlock symbol in the browser address bar, indicating a secure connection (HTTPS) for your transactions. 


3 Tech Support Scams

Tech support scams typically involve fraudsters posing as technical support representatives. They contact unsuspecting individuals through phone calls or pop-up messages, claiming their device is infected with malware or facing technical issues. After this, they can request remote access to your computer or ask for payment for nonexistent services. Remember, legitimate companies will never contact you unsolicited. If you receive such a call, hang up and contact the company directly using verified contact details. 


As the digital landscape continues to evolve, the tactics used by online scammers continues. Staying informed and vigilant is essential in protecting yourself from potential threats. By familiarising yourself with common scams like phishing, online shopping fraud, and tech support scams, you can confidently navigate the internet and enjoy a secure online experience. Trust your instincts, use strong passwords including a password vault and keep your software and antivirus programs up to date. 


At Geelong Technology Group, we prioritise your safety online. Stay alert, stay informed, and stay secure! If you need assistance, please call 1300 GETGTG or pop into our shop 166 Francis St, Belmont between Monday – Friday 9.00am – 17.30pm.  


How to Silence Your Phone's Virtual Assistant and Preserve Your Privacy

How to Silence Your Phone’s Virtual Assistant and Preserve Your Privacy

Hands up if you have a Google Home, Apple Home, Amazon Echo or similar? It’s so handy when you’re in the middle of cooking with messy hands to yell out “Hey Google, play Hill Top Hoods” or “Hey Alexa, set timer for 30min!”. I think we can all agree that virtual assistants have become an integral part of our home pods and smartphones offering convenience and ease of use.  

However, concerns about privacy and data security have also emerged. Many users are now seeking ways to tell their phone’s virtual assistant to stop listening and respect their privacy.  

In this blog post, our Geelong Technology Group team will cover some effective methods to silence your phone’s virtual assistant, empowering you to regain control over your privacy while maintaining a seamless user experience. 


Adjusting voice activation settings 

Most virtual assistants, such as Siri, Google Assistant, or Alexa, are designed to respond to voice commands. By customising your device’s voice activation settings, you can limit when the assistant actively listens. Head to your device’s settings, find the virtual assistant option, and disable the “always listening” mode. This will ensure that the assistant won’t activate until you manually summon it. 


Muting microphone access 

To prevent your virtual assistant from constantly monitoring your surroundings, consider muting the microphone. Many smartphones have a physical mute switch or button specifically designed for this purpose. By toggling it, you can easily turn off the microphone when you don’t require voice commands. 


Utilising app permissions 

Reviewing and managing app permissions is crucial for maintaining privacy. Navigate to your phone’s settings and locate the permissions section. Here, you can revoke microphone access for specific apps, including the virtual assistant. Be cautious not to disable critical functions that rely on the microphone, such as voice calls or audio recording apps. 


Customise voice feedback 

Virtual assistants often provide audio feedback to confirm they are actively listening. While this can be useful, it may also intrude on your privacy. Adjust the settings to customise the voice feedback or switch it to a silent mode. This way, your virtual assistant will still respond visually without audibly alerting others to its presence. 


Limit data collection 

Virtual assistants gather data to improve their performance, but you have control over what information is shared. Visit your virtual assistant’s settings and explore the data collection options. Disable any features that you find intrusive or unnecessary. By being mindful of the data you share, you can protect your privacy and minimise the information stored by the virtual assistant. 


Maintain your control over you virtual assistant 

Achieving a balance between the convenience of virtual assistants and preserving our privacy is essential. By following these steps, you can effectively establish control over when it listens and collects data. Remember to regularly review your device’s settings and app permissions to ensure your privacy remains intact. Taking these proactive measures empowers you to enjoy a seamless user experience while maintaining control over your personal data.  


On-site & remote IT support in Geelong 

At Geelong Technology Group, we prioritise your safety online. If you need assistance with shutting off your virtual assistant or other tech contact our friendly team on 1300 GET GTG for assistance. If you are in Geelong feel free to pop into our shop 166 Francis St, Belmont between Monday – Friday 9:00 am – 5:30 pm.