The Internet has made everyday living more convenient, providing people with access to endless resources online. But, sometimes, this can do more harm than good. Outlined below are three tips to protect yourself from Internet scams.
1. Watch for Red Flags
The Internet is filled with spectacular promotions and offers—but how many of those are actually legitimate? When surfing the web and opening emails, keep an eye out for suspicious activity that could be fraudulent. Some common Internet scams include:
- Debt relief.
- Lottery and sweepstakes.
- Online dating.
- Tech support.
- Weight loss miracle cures.
If an offer looks too good to be true, it probably is! Avoid popup advertisements and emails that encourage you to invest in “solve all” products or services. Believe it or not, the chances of being randomly selected to win that all-inclusive cruise are pretty slim.
2. Be Cautious With Personal Information
Sometimes fraudulent activity may not be as obvious as you may think. Keep in mind the golden rules below to protect yourself from dangerous situations:
- Beware of program downloads. Downloading programs from unfamiliar websites can contain viruses, giving unwanted intruders access to your private information.
- Fully understand offers by reading terms and conditions. Scams may have underlying requirements to receive the offer presented, tricking you into committing to something completely different. Read carefully to pick apart and identify any questionable information that is provided before accepting.
- Do not give personal information to unknown parties. Personal information is meant to be private; share only with people or companies you trust.
- Do not open emails from unfamiliar sources. Cybercriminals often create phishing emails, which can contain dangerous, unauthorized links. If links are clicked, spammers will have the opportunity to steal your personal records straight from your computer.
- Regularly check bank statements after online purchases. When purchasing items online, keep a close eye on your bank statements. Look for any suspicious activity or charges that have not been made by you to avoid a scam going unnoticed.
3. Seek Help If You Are Scammed
If you find yourself as the victim to an online scam, take action immediately. Although fraud can be a scary experience, it does not have to be a permanent one.
Follow these steps to avoid potential loss:
- Call your credit card company. This is the most essential step to take when tangled up in a scam. Notify your credit card company of the incident so that they can begin an investigation.
- Freeze your account(s). Putting a hold on your account(s) will prevent the scammer from accessing your money. This may be inconvenient at the time, but you will thank yourself in the long run.
- File a police report. Fraud is a crime and should not be undermined. Contact authorities so the parties involved will be held responsible for their actions.
- Update malware on your computer. Keep up-to-date with the latest software protection. You can never take too much precaution when it comes to the security of your personal information.
How do you keep yourself safe from Internet scams? Share with us in the comment section below.
Image Source: Don Hankins