Whether we expect it to happen to us or not, the reality is: catfishing scams continue to persist in digital media. With the ever-growing shift of businesses conducting their products and services online –there is a higher likelihood of system hacking or catfishing schemes to occur. Various fraudulent scams take place everyday and are slowly becoming more clever and more difficult to detect. The importance of our online security today should be taken with great consideration.1 out of 10 adults falls victim to scam or fraud every year. The statistics have been increasing with the rise of more and more internet users. With so many threats, it can be difficult to protect yourself online. However, there are still many practical tips we can follow to reduce the risk of being a victim to catfishing scams.Let’s explore the different ways we can utilize to avoid falling for deceitful schemes.1. Be Aware of the Latest ‘Catfishing’ Scams. It is advisable to read on shared stories of scam within your network. They often describe in detail the hows of the scam committed. While some scammers target a mass population at random, others target a small group of people with common backgrounds. If someone within your network was the latest victim, you can be susceptible as well.2. Proceed with Caution when emails are received from your bank, health care provider, or electronic wallet app asking for sensitive information –namely your pin and password. Scammers can take advantage and impersonate the social media teams of various businesses (banks, retailers, etc.) where you feel safe giving out sensitive information.3. Conduct a Google Image Search or reverse image search. Tools like Google Image Search, TinEye, and PicSearch are techniques used when you want to perform a search by face image to uncover information about a given person and which social media platforms they appear in. In reverse, it is also beneficial to use for yourself in making sure your photographic identity is not being compromised by anyone else online.4. Limit Saved Passwords on Web Browsers. Password managers can definitely be convenient –you don’t have to remember all passwords created online. Internet browsers like Google Chrome often allows you to save other personal information like your address and credit card number when making purchases online. Take the precautionary measures by declining the option to save any sensitive information, and taking note of passwords the old fashioned way instead.5. Public Wifi Usage. Always be reminded never to fill out personal information that involves your credit card number when using public wifi. Purchasing items, or making flight and hotel reservations can be risky while connected to public wifi. Scammers can gain access to your data if the wifi connection was an unsecured network.6. Use a VPN to hide your IP address. There are many VPN services you can subscribe to for extra protection while online. A hidden IP address makes you a less easy target for scammers to hack into your software. The use of a VPN also blocks unsolicited ads and websites that could plant a virus to your computer.7. Report Any Suspicious Threats Encountered. If you receive untrustworthy emails or have been contacted by dubious profiles, report them immediately. Social media platforms ordinarily come with reporting tools. You may also find out more about where to report cybercrimes depending on where you live.As scammers and catfishers are coming up with different ways to scam individuals or groups of people online, there is an equal number of helpful tools and systems we can make use of to counteract their threats. It is important to keep in mind that we need to take necessary precautions to reduce the likelihood that we become victims to online deception, in the form of either catfishing or romance fraud to prevent any monetary or security loss.