Online scams are not uncommon, millions of people are robbed of their money and personal information by online scammers every day. Like the recently caught online scammer “Mike” who scammed over 60 million people and $ 15.4 million by one person! If you have an online account containing personal information or are shopping online, it is extremely important that you are alert to online scams and take the right precautions.
Although there are hundreds of online scams happening all the time if you develop some online security habits you can avoid most of these scams. In this article, we are listing 12 online scam protection tips below that should help you stay safe while browsing the web:
1. Phishing attacks
Phishing attacks are one of the most common but effective ways to scam someone online. In a phishing attack, the scammer creates a fake web page (mainly a login page) that looks almost exactly like the web page of a legitimate company. When a victim logs in using that page, all information is sent to the scammer instead of logging in. Subsequently, the scammer can use this information at will to hack an account or steal debit/credit card information.
Unfortunately, it’s not that difficult to perform a phishing attack and at the same time; it is very difficult not to fall in love with it. For example, this new Amazon Phishing attack is very compelling and any innocent buyer could easily fall for it.
2. Never use the same password everywhere
Since most scams focus on stealing account information to manipulate them further, it’s important to take the right steps to protect your account information. If you use the same password for all your online accounts, then a single hacked account could lead to the compromise of all your online accounts.
The situation gets worse because many people may be focusing on securing their email or bank account, but they may not be as worried about their account for an online video game. A breach of that video game’s account could lead to a breach of your e-mail or bank account as well.
3. Email Scams
Email is a major source of online scams, which is why almost all email services have a spam filter. Most online scams are received as emails with offers and threats that could force you to give up your information.
4. Protect your PC and smartphone
Many malicious programs focus on information theft and the compromise of online accounts. Therefore, it is extremely important to ensure that your PC and smartphone are protected from all malicious apps that could steal your information.
Ransomware is a notable malicious program that could lock your data on your PC and you will need to return money to the scammer to unlock it. Furthermore, keyloggers and monitoring software are also malicious programs that could steal your sensitive information.
5. Avoid useless friends on social media
It feels really nice to have hundreds of friends who can make you feel like you are very “social”. However, this doesn’t mean you should add someone to your friend list just to increase the number.
Most scammers take advantage of the excessive information they collect by making friends with you on social media channels. They can hack your accounts, sell your information, or even threaten you!
6. Don’t make your information publicly visible
While scammers and hackers feed on your data, always keep your information private on social networks and other sites where your personal information is listed. If the information is out there, ready to be accessed by anyone (including search engines), then you are inviting scammers to target you.
7. Urgent requests for money
This is a very common scam where the scammer pretends to be a friend or relative and urgently asks for money. In most cases, they will claim to be in serious trouble and may even use their friend’s or relative’s actual account by hacking it. In most cases, this happens to people expose their friends’/relatives’ information on social networks (follow tip # 6 for this).
8. Risks arising from the use of public Wi-Fi
Finding a free public Wi-Fi network might seem like a holy grail, but think twice before using it. Anyone with the right tools could easily see what data you are accessing and even steal information from unencrypted sources.
9. Avoid malicious hyperlinks
Hyperlinks are the main source of spreading malicious programs or directing people to infected websites. Clicking a malicious link could lead to a malware download or your information being handed over to a phishing attack.
10. Free Shaded Trials
Free trials of apps and services can also be shady and could lead you to spend more. There are usually two ways to take advantage of free trials to earn money, and you should also know that they are completely legal.
11. Fake Charitable Claims
This mostly happens immediately after a natural disaster, but it can also happen at any time. A scammer can try to melt your heart with pictures of poor children and sobbing words to get you to do a do___one to help people in need.
12. Online video game scams
Online video games are a big deal and almost all online games offer a way to buy virtual money in the game for real money to get better items and experiences. Many scammers take advantage of this to offer free virtual money in the game if you provide personal information, which they can sell or use to hack your accounts. They can also hack into an online game’s online account by asking for login information in exchange for in-game currency, which no player will ever like.
Use these tips to stay safe from internet scams
There are numerous ways that online scammers can attack you, and new methods have sprung up from time to time. Hence, adopting basic safety habits should minimize these risks. Some things to keep under your nose include a secure PC, a secure connection to the Internet and websites, don’t believe in offers that are too good to be true, and never giving your information to a stranger no matter how good the reasons they put in front of you.