Think of the Internet as the real world, because that’s what it is. If you wouldn’t hand over your bank account information to a stranger on bus, then don’t do it online.
The most intelligent among us can become distracted enough to fall prey to a smooth line. If you want to avoid getting scammed, keep these 10 tips in mind.
1. Use strong passwords and secret security questions. It’s tempting to use the same password for all your online activities, but very dangerous. If a thief should figure it out, your accounts will fall like a row of dominoes and you’ll be exposed to major identity theft. Don’t use your birthday, social security number, or mother’s maiden name as your password. Make it something impossible to guess and use that same logic when choosing secret security questions. The strongest passwords include letters, numbers, and symbols.
2. Beware of security warnings. You’re computer probably has some kind of built-in security feature, or perhaps you installed one yourself. Make sure you know what security features you have and how they work. One of the biggest online scams involves the “security warning,” usually coming to your attention in the form of a pop up screen. This screen announces the presence of a dangerous virus and prompts you to click on the button that will fix it. Unfortunately, the button is usually the trigger that downloads the virus onto your computer.
3. Don’t click on links in unsolicited emails. It may look like an email from Amazon, LinkedIn, or eBay, but scammers are pretty good at faking logos. Never click on the link provided in an unsolicited email. Never input your username or password after clicking on a link in an email. Chances are that it’s a password-stealing scam. If you think it may be for real, visit the institution by typing the address directly in the address bar of your browser.
4. Don’t let all that money go to your head. If you didn’t enter the overseas lottery or sweepstakes, you didn’t win. And you didn’t inherit $50 million from a stranger in Uganda who chose you at random. If any of that were true, you wouldn’t be asked to send money or provide financial information in an email. It’s really that simple.
5. Don’t believe you can make big bucks doing nothing. It’s a new version on an old scam, but now you get the info via email or through an online ad. Work-at-home schemes are bigger than ever, but some things never change. They still involve you investing a small fortune for big promises that never come true. Working from home is a great option in today’s world, but if your potential employer insists that you ante up funds or provide banking information, that’s a red flag you don’t want to ignore.
6. Never agree to a money transfer. Usually it’s a sales transaction, but sometimes accompanies a job offer or a personal appeal. The scammer will send you a money order or check and ask you to deposit it and transfer a portion of the money back to them. By the time you find out that the money order or deposit was fake, they’ve got your money.
7. Guard your personal data. Never give out your social security number, driver’s license number, or any other unique identifiers online. Be careful what you share on social media sites like Facebook.
8. Investigate health product claims. The online world is filled with fake news and testimonials that this product or that one will heal or cure illness. Be wary of all such claims. You may waste your money or even make your health problems worse. Always do a full investigation of health claims. Research on reputable sites independent of the source of the claims. Always check with your doctor before using new health products.
9. Remember, your financial institution is not your friend. Because they are not your friends, PayPal, banks, and other financial institutions are unlikely to send you personal emails asking for information they already possess. Despite the familiar logo, check out the return address on all emails. Delete those that appear bogus. If you have reason to believe an email is legitimately sent by your financial institution, you can check it out by calling them directly.
10. Don’t fall for it – you probably don’t have a secret admirer. Perhaps you do have a secret admirer, but don’t be such a fool for love that you jump at the chance to exchange information with a mystery lover. This scam attempts to chip away at your vulnerabilities a little at a time, so tread carefully. Your secret admirer may not be who they claim to be. Don’t share personal information and don’t believe any sob stories that end with you sending money or gifts.
About Marcus Evans
Marcus Evans is one of the world’s leading providers and promoters of global summits strategic conferences, professional training, in-Company training, business-to-business congresses, sports hospitality and on-line information. Find out more information about Marcus Evans by taking a look at the Marcus Evans review on how to provide innovative business solutions and the Marcus Evans advice on how to get good online reviews.