Block ads, block threats – how ad blockers safeguard you online
Think twice before you click on an ad.
Advertisements are an unavoidable part of using the internet. And that’s why some of us use ad blockers to minimise the number of annoying ads that get in the way of going online.
But ad blockers are underrated scam protectors as well, sieving out fraudulent online ads that can be hard to distinguish from legitimate ones.
Read on to find out more about how such tools can protect your online activity and keep you and your money safe.
Scams – a growing scourge
Scam victims in Singapore lost just over $660 million in 2022, up more than 4 per cent from the previous year.
And if you think most of the victims are the elderly, who are typically less digitally savvy, think again. More than half the number of scam victims were between 20 and 39 years old, with most of them duped by job scams.
Other common types of scams include, phishing, e-commerce, investment, social media impersonation, fake friend call, loan, internet love, credit for sex, fake gambling platform scams.
How ad blockers can protect you
As you can see, many of these scams involve malicious actors posing as a harmless organisation or individual.
Ad blockers can guard against many of these scams. As its name suggests, ad blockers prevent ads from appearing when you are surfing the internet. Many scams that are posing as innocuous ads will thus not cross your screen at all.
For instance, the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation recommends ad-blocking internet browser extensions to protect against fraudulent online ads that appear within internet search results. These bogus ads link to web pages that are difficult to tell apart from the official web pages of businesses.
Other benefits of using ad blockers include faster web page load times and reduced data usage because you’re not wasting bandwidth loading ads.
Certain ad blockers can also protect your privacy by hiding your IP and encrypting your data.
Of course, as with all things, the quality of ad blockers can vary. Some of these blockers collect your data for sale. There have also been cases of bogus ad blockers masquerading as reputable ones. These fake blockers not only failed to carry out their purported purpose, but also embroiled users in ad fraud schemes. ck if they are scams.
ACT now to safeguard yourself
At the end of the day, the best defence against scams is an informed citizenry that is vigilant against fraudsters. To raise awareness of the importance of anti-scam measures, the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) launched the “I can ACT against scams” campaign earlier in 2023, educating the public on three actions – making up the ACT acronym – they can take:
1) Add security features such as ScamShield and two-factor authentication.
2) Check suspicious messages against official sources and verifying if callers are indeed who they claim to be.
3) Tell the authorities about your scam encounters and inform your relatives and friends so they will be on guard.
Prevention is better than cure
Online activity will only become increasingly integral to our lives. While this means greater convenience and more sources of entertainment, unfortunately this also brings about more opportunities for malicious actors.
So do the right thing and take a few simple steps to protect yourselves. Spread the word among those around you so they can take similar measures, and assist those who are not as tech savvy with anti-scam safeguards.
Together, we can make cyberspace a safer space for all.https://www.tech.gov.sg/media/technews/how-ad-blockers-safeguard-you-online