As people get comfortable online, scammers are also getting more comfortable getting people’s personal information or money. When you’re online, it can somehow give you the feeling of anonymity. After all, you’re hiding behind a screen or pseudonym, doing whatever it is you want.
The internet has given people a sense of superiority. It has given the people an impression that their actions have no consequences on the web since nobody knows who they are. However, if you look at news reports, you’ll see how the virtual world ruins lives. You’ll see how many people are being scammed on the web.
This isn’t to scare you away from using the internet. No matter how much people criticize the internet, it will remain to be a useful tool. On the contrary, this article aims to educate people on how to use the internet wisely. You can find a few tips on how to protect yourselves from scammers. Here are some simple ways on how to avoid scams online:
1. Everyone Can Still Be a Target
It doesn’t matter whether you’re the son of the president or if you’re the heir to a throne of a faraway land. As long as you use the internet, then you are a target. When you go to bed tonight, be sure to tell yourself: you are a scam target. You see, the reason why scams are happening time and again is that people assume that they won’t be scammed.
Scams happen when you least expect it. So, the best thing to do is to know that you can be a target. You have to be aware that any minute when you’re using the internet, you could be a victim of a scam. That way, avoiding scams will be a whole lot easier.
2. Delete Suspicious Texts, Emails, or Pop-Ups
You might have experienced receiving a text message from who appears to be your bank. They tell you that something has gone horribly and that you need to provide them your account information to fix it.
First of all, no bank would need its member to provide account details because they already have it. Second, it’s implausible that your bank would communicate with you important matters like that through text message. They’d usually contact you through email, and if not then they’ll call you directly, but they will never leave a text message for you to call them.
Here’s another example: you got an email from what appears to be a legitimate charity website asking donation from you. The ad looked convincing, so you scrolled up to the end of the newsletter. At the end of the email, there was a button requesting for cash. You pressed the button because you so wanted to help. As soon as you did, the website recommended that you use a wireless transfer, followed by requests regarding your card information.
What’s going on here is that the site is trying to steal your credit information with no other intent but to steal your money, and none of it is going to go to the charity.
3. Secure Your Details
Are your details safe? Well, that’s easy for you to say. The truth is, the moment you connect your laptop, mobile phone, or any device to the internet, you have no idea when someone is hacking your information.
There are also instances when you connect to a few free Wi-Fi spots, perhaps in Starbucks, in the mall, at school, or in the office. Most of the time, nothing could have gone wrong, but mischiefs are going on that you didn’t even know was happening.
Nowadays, it’s easy to create a Wi-Fi Hotspot, and naming it “Starbucks Wi-Fi” is even simpler. This is just one of the scammers’ ways to fool you easily. You might have thought that you were only browsing the internet through a free Wi-Fi spot. However, if you happen to come across one that’s illegitimate, what the scammer is doing is that he is stealing information from you.
Note that as long as you are connected to this phishing internet connection, they can get all the information they need from you. Those details can include online transactions, together with your credit card details and other personal information.
4. Know Who You Are Dealing With
If you are fond of using dating sites or meeting new people through social media sites like Facebook, then you need to avoid what most people call the “love for sale.”
Here is how it happens: You meet someone online and have long conversations. It doesn’t take long before you start to exchange photos and video messages. Just when you are starting to fall for the person, you find out that your partner is going through a crucial event in his life. It could be about his parents or your cultural differences. It could be anything, but the condition is always the same: your partner needs money from you perhaps to go to a doctor or to buy a plane ticket because he wants to be with you.
Your newfound partner is nothing more than a con artist. As soon as you give your partner what he asks, then you’ll never hear from him again.
5. Be Cautious When Making Online Purchases
Just because you bought an item from a trusted website, doesn’t mean you’re 101% free from scammers. Note that most online shopping sites are only platforms and that they have different sellers. These vendors could include scammers.
Scammers grab the opportunity to take advantage of the online shop’s policies so that they can profit. They could sell something online and then set the delivery date to 3 or 4 weeks later. Since online store platforms usually pay sellers every two weeks, and then they could get away with your money even if they don’t deliver your order.
Know When to Act
Don’t limit yourself to what this article enumerated. There are more online scams than one can ever imagine. The bottom line is that you protect your personal information because that is what tempt scammers to scam you.