Scammers have reached a new dimension thanks to the internet. With the web, they have greater reach and creative techniques in their arsenal to get to you and your hard-earned money.
The forms of scamming have evolved. The number of things scammers can do to you online has become too diverse. Some of them may try to romance you while some may even pretend to be a lawyer telling you that you’re due for an unclaimed inheritance. And most resort to hacking.
Nine Ways To Safeguard Yourself Against Scammers Online
Unfortunately, everyone is vulnerable to online scams. However, the best things you can do to avoid becoming a victim are to be informed and vigilant. Here are nine tips that could help you out.
1. Check The Web Address Or URL
Scammers often develop websites that look exactly like a website you often visit. Popular social media platforms, online payment processors, or even your company’s website are often cloned, duplicated, or faked to lure in the unsuspecting public. Why? Because it’s an easy way to collect usernames and passwords.
If you log in using your username and passwords on these sites, scammers and hackers can access your account in the real version of those websites using the credentials you entered. This method or activity is referred to as phishing.
To prevent you from suspecting these sites once you entered your username and password, they may redirect you back to the actual websites you want to visit. And at that point, it will be already too late for you.
To avoid getting phished, always check the website address or URL in your browser before you log in or type anything. It can also be tricky since most scammers and hackers will use website addresses that closely resemble the real web addresses of the sites they fake.
2. Know The Current Scams
Staying up-to-date on the latest and most traumatizing scams online is a must if you don’t want to be a fraud or identity theft victim. If you’re aware of them, you’re bound to become significantly less likely to fall victim to a scammer’s scheme.
Websites like https://www.scamrisk.com/ and other scam reporting platforms can help you out. They can provide you with much-needed information about the current trending online scams.
3. Update Your Computer And Mobile Software
Whether you shop using a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop, always keep your operating systems up-to-date. Do this to prevent cybercriminals from exploiting any system weaknesses or security vulnerabilities in your devices.
These vulnerabilities are often taken advantage of by computer viruses, malicious software (malware), ransomware, and even adware to hack into your personal information. For added protection, you should also install reputable antivirus and anti-malware programs.
4. Pay Securely
Only shop on sites that only provide secure payment methods, such as credit cards and popular online payment merchants with buyer protection. Also, avoid sending cash or checks to anyone from the web. On the other hand, when shopping at an unfamiliar merchant site, check if it has verified security certificates from renowned certificate authorities.
5. Use Strong Passwords
Your username and password are your first line of defense against a potential scammer from gaining access to your online accounts and sensitive personal information. Avoid using easy to guess passwords. A few examples are ‘Password,’ your birthday, or any bits of personally identifiable information.
The number one password, according to a recent study, is ‘123456.’ By using a password like that, it makes it easy for a hacker or scammer to simply guess your password. Remember, a good password is at least seven characters long. It must also include multiple instances of numbers, uppercase and lowercase letters, and special characters.
6. Don’t Take The Bait
According to security experts, phishing scams are the ones responsible for the recent nude celebrity photo hacking incidents online. The scam often involves victims receiving a request, usually by email. These requests often ask for personal information and credentials from seemingly legitimate sources.
If you receive any email or messages out of the blue asking for your information for whatever reason, be vigilant and cautious. Don’t just believe anything you receive on the internet. Take note, these scammers don’t just look for nude photos. They will try to get anything they can access from you as long as it will give them profit.
7. Keep Personal Information Confidential
Unless you’re very confident about the sites you visit, be wary of entering information on sites that requires your information. Be especially suspicious when the site you’re on specifically asks for financial details.
After all, most sites have no business acquiring sensitive information from you. Only a select few organizations on the internet will demand this type of data. And if you need to transact with them, always opt to do it offline or personally if possible.
8. Be Apprehensive Of ‘Make Money Online’ Ads
A recent report from the Consumer Federation of America and the North American Consumer Protection Investigators found one of the most common frauds in the country is make easy money schemes. This type of scam involves solicitations that promise people easy ways to make money online but only if they put up thousands of dollars of their own money first.
This type of scam is prevalent and often targets senior citizens and people out of employment. Never forget that if an offer is too good to be true, it’s probably a scam.
9. Make Your Phone Safe
More and more shoppers use their smartphones to shop, and you’re presumably one of them. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with it. Just make sure to take certain precautions and follow standard online shopping practices.
In addition, always keep track of your orders online. Many scammers send out phishing emails disguised as order tracking messages from popular online merchants. Being always aware of the products you buy online can help you avoid getting hoodwinked.
The most important thing you can do to avoid becoming a victim of a scam is to stay informed and scrutinize any messages or emails sent to you. Be always vigilant, and most importantly, keep your wits about you, and you’ll be just fine.