Online scams are on the rise and have become more sophisticated than ever. In many cases, reviews of restaurants, beauty products or just about any other things you can think of have been taken over by scammers with bots. These scams target people who get tempted to believe they can make fast cash online.
At first, ads would pop up with a fake call to action or a link to click on. At some point, it evolved into e-mail spam, and today, it’s beyond conventional overused scams. Today, even trustful-looking websites can be fraudulent or contain potential risks for users.
Fortunately, there are ways you can prevent yourself from falling victim to these scammers.
1. Be Wary of Any Online Offer That’s Too Good to Be True
When you see an offer that’s just too good to be true, chances are that is a strategy by scammers to trick you. Don’t let yourself get lured in by the promise of easy money or freebies. Check reviews before committing to anything.
Most importantly, don’t give out your personal information or click on links you’re not 100% sure about. Scammers often create fake websites that look identical to the real thing to get your information.
For instance, if you are a gamer looking for casino sites in the UK, scammers can come up with a replica of a UK casino not on Gamstop, and once you click it, you will get directed to their website, which might ask for your personal credit card information.
2. Don’t Respond to Suspicious Emails or Text Messages
If you get an email or text message from an unknown sender, chances are it’s a scammer trying to get your information. Do not respond to these messages, and do not click on any links they contain.
Some scammers will even go so far as to spoof the sender’s address, so it looks like it’s coming from a legitimate source. If you’re unsure whether an email is legitimate, don’t hesitate to contact the company directly to inquire.
3. Be Careful about What You Download
When downloading anything online, be it a program, an app, or even a document, trust the source. If you’re not, do some research to see if others have had success with downloading from that particular site.
Also, have a good antivirus program installed on your computer to catch anything that manages to slip through. Don’t forget to keep it updated!
4. Use Strong Passwords and Don’t Reuse Them
This one seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people still use the same password for everything. If a hacker manages to get their hands on your password, they’ll have access to everything.
So ensure you use different, strong passwords for each account. And don’t forget to change them now and then to be safe.
5. Keep Your Software Up to Date
One of the most important things you can do to protect yourself online is to keep your software up to date. It includes your operating system and any programs or apps you have installed.
Developers regularly release product updates, including security fixes for newly discovered vulnerabilities. So by keeping your software up to date, you’re making it much harder for hackers to get in.
6. Be Careful about What You Post Online
Remember that anything you post online, whether on social media or a forum, is there for anyone to see. So be careful about what you share and who you share it with.
If you wouldn’t want your boss or your grandmother to see it, then chances are you shouldn’t be posting it online.
7. Do Your Research Before Donating to a Charity
There are many great charities out there doing important work. But unfortunately, some scammers pose as charities to get your money.
So before you donate to any organization, research first. Look for reviews and make sure they’re legitimate.
8. Be Wary of Clickbait
Clickbait is a type of online advertising that uses sensationalized headlines to lure people into clicking on a link. These headlines are often exaggerated or completely false.
While clickbait isn’t necessarily harmful, it can often be a waste of time. And in some cases, it can even lead you to malicious websites.
9. Use a Secure Browser Extension
Many browser extensions can help you stay safe online. Some of them will warn you if you try to visit a malicious website, while others will block pop-ups and other unwanted content. You can find a comprehensive list of browser extensions that can help improve your online safety.
If you’re unsure which extension to choose, ask your friends or family for recommendations.
10. Check for SSL Certification
When you’re about to enter your personal information on a website, ensure it has an SSL certificate. Websites with an SSL certificate are safe and encrypted, meaning your data will be secure. You can tell if a website has an SSL certificate if the URL starts with “https” instead of “http.”Secure websites will also have a padlock icon next to the URL.
11. Be Wary of Free Wi-Fi Networks
Public Wi-Fi networks are the most insecure, which means anyone can access them. If you connect to one of these networks, scammers can easily steal your personal information.
To stay safe, only connect to Wi-Fi networks that you trust. If you’re unsure whether a network is secure, ask a staff member before connecting.
Stay Safe Online!
If you suspect you’ve been the victim of an online scam, report it to the authorities immediately. By taking these precautions, you can help protect yourself and others from becoming victims of fraud.
Also read: Whatsapp scams