Avoiding Online Scams

Despite the variety of security software available, millions of people are victims of online scams each year.

In addition to losing money, many face time-consuming and costly battles to try and secure their financial information as well as replacing stolen information such as passwords and credit card details. However, there are ways for internet users to increase their security and avoid online scams.

One of the easiest ways for scammers to access your financial details is if you give them the data. When purchasing an item online, make sure you have access the correct company’s website and not a fake site set up to masquerade as the genuine site. If you are purchasing from a new company, ensure they have a physical address displayed on their site, rather than a PO Box address. Similarly, contacting them via a landline number can help gain further information about the company and alleviate security fears. The payment method requested by a seller can often give away an online scam. Be wary if the seller will only accept payment via a wire transfer as they are notoriously difficult to trace. If possible, find an alternative retailer who will accept other forms of payment.

It’s not just websites that can cause security concerns. Internet users should be wary of emais they receive claiming to be from companies or financial institutions. Many will require users to click a link or ask you to provide or confirm contact details. Although some may be genuine, many aren’t. Users are advised to ignore these emails and contact the bank or company independently in order to verify whether or not the email is genuine.

Whilst some people choose to buy security software, many computers come with some level of security software pre-installed. It’s important to ensure any security software is activated and regularly updated to protect against the latest viruses. Users should only act on warnings if their software security alerts them to a potential threat. Many viruses appear as websites or pop-ups which claim your computer has been infected by a virus and offer to assist users in removing the threat. Unless you’re sure you’re using your own software, don’t click any unverified warnings or virus alerts.

Despite the consistent level of online threats, the majority of users have no problems when surfing the net and are never subject to an online scam. By using appropriate software and being aware of potential ruses, users can limit the threat posed by online scams, protect themselves and their financial data as well as ensuring their computer network remains free from threats or viruses.

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