HOW TO AVOID INTERNET SCAMS

HOW TO AVOID INTERNET SCAMS

The internet is a double-edged sword by which you can gain a lot and, inversely, lose a lot. Perfect for gaining knowledge, connecting with other people on the online community, and even shopping from online stores, the internet makes life easier for everyone. Unfortunately, the internet is also the perfect device for people with malicious intentions to carry out selfish actions, and many unsuspecting people fall victim of internet scams.

Internet scam, the prevalent evil on the internet today, is a cybercrime that involves stealing information and valuable financial details from unsuspecting individuals. It involves the use of internet services or software in various methods, all with the same end goal; to take advantage of other people. 

Statistics show that about 1 in 10 US Adults fall prey to internet fraudsters every year.  Every year, the total number of people who fall victim to internet scams reaches thousands and even sometimes millions. Unfortunately, some loopholes can be found easily on the internet. Security can be breached by individuals who know what they are doing, and thus, Internet scams cannot be eradicated.

Using just the internet, internet scammers can steal valuable information and important documents that might amount to a huge sum of money. Often, internet scammers also steal money directly from innocent people.

It is unfortunate that internet scammers have monitored the internet and devised new ways to steal or pry information from other internet users over the years. Put in simpler ways; Internet scam is advancing. Just when you think you have uncovered one method used by scammers, these scammers creep up on you with a new method. 

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Some of the popular methods used by scammers are: 

1. Phishing

an internet user

Phishing is probably the most popular method used by internet scammers to steal information. This method of internet scam simply involves them tricking you into giving them your personal details like your credit or debit card details and insurance details. Phishing, unfortunately, is usually done via what you consider the most controlled workspace you have; your email. 

Emails are a great medium for internet scammers because they simply need to mimic a company email sequence and structure to gain your attention. There are diverse methods to carry out internet scams through phishing. The fraudsters might simply send an email file, which, when clicked on, will be able to read all the incoming and outgoing email messages from that account. It will enable them to pick out any important detail that passes through that account.

Another method is extracting information by pretending to be a reputable company with amazing incentives. They appeal to individuals’ trust by bearing gifts that look irresistible.

2. Shopping Scams

shopping scam

Shopping scams can take place anywhere on the internet. It doesn’t matter if it’s in your email or while you are scrolling through Facebook. Shopping scams tend to pop up on unsuspecting people.

Shopping scams usually involve the sale of a product with an extremely affordable- in fact, too affordable- price. In this instance, you will make payment for the products but will never get your product. Not then, not ever. 

What makes this type of internet scam worse is providing your credit card details will put you at risk of immediately having your bank account wiped out as soon as you make the “purchase.”

3. Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency, the likes of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and the other hundreds of coins, have recently become mainstream. Everyone is talking about them. Even scammers are talking about these decentralized finance coins.

Cryptocurrency, unlike fiat currency, requires a lot of knowledge. Internet scammers often prey on individuals who are not knowledgeable in this aspect. They will make you false Initial Coin Offerings (ICO), luring you to buy stakes in their nonexistent stakes using REAL MONEY. One moment, you think you just made a very wise investment; the next, you realize that you have been scammed.

4. Hacking and Blackmail

internet hacking scam

A very rampant internet scam, this method involves hackers taking over your social media platforms. With these methods, they have easy access to your friends and whatever sensitive information passes through your account.

With this type of internet scam, hackers may require some form of ransom for the release of the account. They might even go as far as resorting to blackmail of delicate information that might be posted on your page if you don’t play along.

5. Fake Lotteries

When it comes to internet scams, there is really no limit. This malicious intent even goes as far as mimicking lotteries. The scammer will reach out to you to inform you of a lottery you just won. They will then go on to convince you to release some important information that will help you redeem your rewards.

It is important to understand that the methods used for internet scams by fraudsters are vast and not limited to this list. Getting scammed can be devastating. Millions of dollars can be lost by simply making a wrong decision on the internet. Scammers go as far as pretending to be from fake health organizations, non-governmental organizations, or even governmental offices. So how do you know what is right and what is wrong?

Knowing what a scam looks like and protecting yourself against them is the first step towards ensuring your online safety. Most times, people don’t see internet scams. They are often shrouded in cloaks of truthfulness that you might get so confused and ultimately fall for it.

To protect yourself against Internet scam, Below are some precautions that you can take:

1. Resist Greed

Oftentimes, internet fraudsters feed on the greed of people. They offer irresistible prices and make the catch of you inputting your important detail seem like no big deal. It is important to remember that if an offer looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Before claiming any reward online, make sure you read through the terms and conditions as internet fraudsters are smart enough to defraud you through this medium. Ensure that the reward is for a competition that you actually entered and cross-check that you are not required to provide important personal details.

2. Update Your Devices

Each new software update on your computers and mobile devices provides additional security that is stronger than the obsolete software version. Regularly updating your devices’ software will provide them with the latest security for your applications, internet browser, and Operating system. This will protect them against malware, viruses, and even threats from hackers. 

To make sure that your devices stay up-to-date, always check for the availability of new upgrades or simply set your devices on automatic updates. This will allow them to update from the old versions to the latest versions as soon as they are released, all by themselves. 

3. Set Strong Passwords

strong password

Many people often make the mistake of using a very obvious and weak password for their online accounts. Most even make the mistake of using one password for ALL their accounts. 

When setting your password, Remember to use Capital letters, smaller letters, numbers, and symbols if possible. Do not use the same password for all your social accounts. Do not write your passwords where they can be easily gotten by other people. If necessary, use a secure password manager. Most Importantly, do not share your password with anyone. 

4. Avoid suspicious-looking Emails

When opening or replying to emails, make sure that they are from previously contacted companies or do some background research if you’ve never heard of the organization contacting you. Hackers commonly use email messages as a means to cheat people into communicating personal details. Do not share your information with unknown emails.

In addition, you can avoid internet scams by disregarding suspicious-looking links as these may be outlets for hackers to gain access to your email. 

1. Catfishes Are Real

Not everyone you see on the internet is real. Fine, it might be a real picture of a responsible-looking individual, but there is no guarantee that the one in the picture and the one behind the keyboard are the same. Be wary of people who appear to be too eager to be friends with you and of people who ask for money or your contact details.

Catfishes especially prey on people on dating sites. Be alert of people who seem to pressure you into providing money.

2. Secure Your Wi-Fi

secured wifi

Protect your Wi-Fi connection. Whether it is at home or in the office, it is important to provide a secure password for your Wi-Fi. This way, people looking to hack into your connection have a difficult time doing so.

When connecting to other Wi-Fi in public, be wary of the kind of information that you share. Do not share personal information that might put you at stake as other Wi-Fi connections might not be secure. 

3. Only Shop From Trusted Sites

Buying from a trusted site is better than getting ripped off your own money. Ensure that whatever website you insert your details in is secure. A simple way is the HTTP vs. HTTPS method. The S in the latter means the website is secured enough for use. Always look for a tiny padlock on the website as it is a symbol that your connection is safe.

4. Always Read Policies

Stop skipping the privacy policies of websites. They tell you everything you know, especially what the website will have access to on your device. 

5. Be Alert

Lastly, Listen to your device. The in-built security will always alert you when it suspects that a connection is not secure enough for use. Listen to your instinct and remember to report any suspicious online activity that you encounter.

When using the internet, it is important to remain alert. The internet might be a safe place, but even safe places can be compromised. 

DISCLAIMER: Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of FraudXpose or any employee thereof.

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