How to Protect Yourself from Internet Hoaxes 101

Cybersecurity is a fast-changing, stressful, and downright scary space to play in. The number and sophistication of cyberattacks are on the rise as hackers continue to outsmart preventive security measures and seep into our environments. It’s becoming evident that navigating how to protect yourself from internet hoaxes and cyber crimes is more challenging than it once was.

The persistence of cyber-attacks will be a significant issue in 2023. To keep these cyber adversaries in the dark, we must have the knowledge and power to defend ourselves.

If you know nothing about cybersecurity, you’ll have learned how to protect yourself from internet hoaxes and hacker tactics, by the end of this blog.


What are Internet Hoaxes 

So, what do we mean by internet hoaxes? A hoax can be defined as a calculated and intentional lie designed to seem truthful. 

More often than not, these hoaxes come in the form of an email. The focus will be to try and trick or defraud the recipient of the email.

Common email hoaxes include malicious hoaxes which instruct the recipient to delete files necessary to the operating system. Usually, claiming the file is a virus or other harmful code. Another common email hoax is a phishing attack, convincing you to click a link so they can then gain access. Additionally, it could be a scam trying to steal your personal information or, worse, your money. 

How can you tell if it’s a hoax or not? 


How to Protect Yourself from Internet Hoaxes 

A word of advice, if something seems suspicious, it probably is. 

However, there are certain common characteristics that can help you weed out the hoaxes from any legitimate emails. This can prevent you from falling victim to any attacks and help you navigate exactly how to protect yourself from internet hoaxes. 

An email is most likely a hoax if it: 

  • Offers instructions or attachments claiming to protect you from a virus that is undetected by antivirus software
  • Claims it’s not a hoax 
  • Urges you to click on a link or to forward the message
  • Has already been forwarded multiple times
  • Contains multiple spelling or grammatical errors, or it just doesn’t quite make sense. 


As a leader in the IT space, we’ve seen an enormous rise in targeted email attacks toward businesses. These attacks are also known as business email compromise (BEC) attacks. 


How to Protect Yourself from BEC Attacks 

According to a recent report from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, nearly $2.4 billion was lost as a result of BEC attacks in 2021. This trend will continue into 2023 and most likely ramp up, as the payouts from these attacks can be quite lucrative for the attackers. 

BEC scammers often use spoofed emails that appear to come from a trusted source, such as an executive, employee, or vendor – often requesting the recipient to transfer money.

The ones we’ve seen frequently are known as payroll diversion scams. Scammers pose as employees and will request the HR/payroll department to change their direct deposit account details. 

Using the tips previously mentioned, you can often decipher whether it’s coming from a hacker or not. However, hackers are horribly inventive and are continually dreaming up ways to attack us and our businesses. 

Partnering with an IT security provider, such as Stringfellow, can go a long way in helping you learn how to protect yourself from internet hoaxes and cybercrimes. 

Technology partners can help you navigate these sticky situations and give you the tools and resources you need so you can focus on what matters most.