9 things you can do to avoid online scams
With more consumers than ever using the internet for purchasing products and services, many are inadvertently leaving themselves vulnerable to online fraud, scams, and a wide range of malicious cyber-attacks.
Criminals use the World Wide Web to steal users’ private information or money by using advanced technological knowledge coupled with their deep understanding of the human psyche and its vulnerabilities.
Since anyone can become a victim of internet crime, it’s important to be vigilant and not let your guard down in order to stay safe and minimize the chances of becoming the next victim.
Here are 9 easy-to-implement precautionary steps you can take that will help you reduce the risk.
Don’t Click on Links in Emails
Links can easily download malware onto your PC and/or use phishing attacks to steal your identity.
Be extremely cautious, even with emails that look like they’re from a trustworthy or familiar source; they could be fake.
Instead, type in the destination website’s address manually into the browser’s address bar.
Do Not Open Email Attachments
Opening an email attachment can be extremely tempting, especially when the message says it’s an important document you really want to see.
Criminals count on users’ curiosity to spread viruses, Trojans, spyware, ransomware and other types of malware.
The best way to avoid this risk is to simply not open attachments, especially if you are not expecting them.
Do Not Use Suspicious Websites
Fraudulent websites pose a serious threat to your financial security and privacy.
There are many ways to tell if a website is likely to be legitimate or not.
Learn how you can better identify potential red flags and risk factors.
Use More Secure, Traceable Payment Methods
When making payments for products or services, do not pay via unsafe methods like cash, wire transfer, gift cards, or other non-traditional methods.
Always prefer using a payment option that provides at least some protection, like a credit card, with which fraudulent charges can be disputed.
Use an Antivirus
Having a professional internet security software installed on your computer can save you from a variety of attacks and a lot of unnecessary headaches.
Be sure to keep this vital program up to date.
Pay Attention to Classic Scam Warning Signs
Maintain a healthy degree of skepticism and stay away from offers that sound too good to be true, require immediate action, guarantee big profits, make unreasonable claims or offer unrealistically low prices.
A quick and simple Google search regarding a given vendor, service, or product can save you from all sorts of trouble.
Look for user reviews, complaints, authentic testimonials, lawsuit information, alerts from consumer protection agencies or other helpful information.
Buy Only From Secure Websites
Do not share any information with a website before making sure that it is secure.
Verify that the URL (website’s address) begins with an “https” instead of just “http” because that means that the website is using an SSL Certificate for security.
In addition, look for a closed padlock symbol in your web browser, which is another indicator that the site is using a secure connection.
Keep Your Sensitive Information Private
Don’t give anyone you don’t know and fully trust sensitive details, such as your Social Security Number, bank account, credit card numbers, email address, login information (usernames and passwords) or other personal information.