How to Avoid Getting Scammed Online

Scams target individuals of all ages, backgrounds and income levels. A scam usually succeeds because it catches you when you’re least expecting it. Scammers are getting more creative all the time, using new technology and believable stories to access your personal details and steal your money.

Be alert

Always keep in mind in all your online dealings that it’s possible to be scammed. When you’re on alert, you’re less like to be taken in.

Know who you are dealing with

If you’ve met someone online or you are dealing with an unknown business, do your due diligence and conduct some research. You may find information posted by individuals who have already been taken in. Even if a message comes from a friend but seems out of character, check to make sure the person really did send it.  

Choose passwords carefully and change them regularly

A strong password includes numbers, upper and lower case letters, and symbols. Don’t use the same one for every profile or account and change passwords regularly. Never share passwords with anyone.   

Keep your personal details secure

Be very careful about how much personal information you share on social media sites. Scammers may use your photos or information to target you.  

Review your security and privacy settings on social media

Be careful who you connect with on social media. Don’t just accept every friend request. Stay safe by learning how to use privacy and security settings. If you notice suspicious behavior, make sure your account is secure and be sure to report it.  

Keep your devices secure

Keep your security software on all your devices updated.  If someone calls you and asks for remote access to your computer, hang up. They may mention a well-known company and say they need to fix a problem or install a free upgrade. Instead, they install a virus that gives them your personal details and passwords.

Don’t click on links or attachments in emails

Try to verify who has sent you an email before clicking on any links or attachments. Do an online search if you don’t know the person or business. Scammers can make emails look very official, sometimes even using the same logo and design as a real company.

If you have a feeling an email is suspicious, delete it. A dead give-away is when an email contains grammar and spelling errors, even if it looks official.

Be cautious when shopping online

Always use an online shopping service that you know. While many online sellers are legitimate, scammers use the anonymous nature of the internet to rip off unsuspecting shoppers.

Scammers may even set up fake retailer websites that offer luxury items like jewelry and electronics at low prices. They may even use social media to advertise the fake website, so don’t just trust it because it’s shared or advertised on social media.

When purchasing expensive items online, do some research and read reviews. Reading articles like how to spot a fake Rolex watch can prevent you from being conned.

Be wary of unusual payment requests

One of the signs you have fallen for a scam is the method of payment. When making payments online, you should only use a secure payment service.

Look for a closed padlock symbol, a URL starting with ‘https’ and a payment provider like PayPal. Avoid any unusual payment methods or requests for upfront payment via wire transfers, money orders, pre-loaded cards or international fund transfers.

Scammers usually succeed by taking advantage of you when you’re vulnerable. Be alert at all times, apply the above tips, and you will protect yourself from falling prey to these unscrupulous individuals.

Filed under: Life

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