how to protect yourself from online scams

There is a great threat to all of us, who surf on the Internet. This threat is labelled as online scam and those who use this technique can be very tricky sometimes in order to get hold of our money. We tend to store loads of personal information online, which gives them the possibility to find a weak point easily. You may not notice when you give away some seemingly unimportant information when you order something online or a stranger asks where you come from. From this article, you can learn how to avoid these attacks and take preventive steps.

Basically, we cannot be protected from every way of fraud, but the chance is given to get used to new and safer habits when it comes to using the Internet. In the next will reveal few common online scams and tips that can help you protect yourself.

Phishing Attacks

In case you have no idea about this type of attack, there is a quick description and an aid for this problem. Phishing attack is the easiest way of scamming and it is also hard to spot. The created fake websites almost look the same as the original one, since it is hard to spot the differences in case of those websites that we do not use so regularly and even in case of those websites that we use on daily basis. During the logging in process, our data is sent to a scammer, who can instantly live with the opportunities to use them. It is extremely dangerous when we think of information connected to debit or credit card.

So what can we do against it? These fake web pages are spread as hyperlinks and attached to emails or private messages. If an unwanted or unknown person sends us a link, we need to be extremely careful not to fall for this trick. In this case, it is also an option to ask the given person why this link was sent and it can turn out that nobody is on the other side, only a computer that is programmed to convey a message.

To sum up, one way is to not to click on the given link. The other trick is to check the exact domain name of the website, where you are about to log in and to make a quick search for the original website to see if there is any difference in their domain name.

Also Read: WordPress Security Mistakes to Avoid

Stealing Your Password

When a scammer stole some of your personal information and he or she already has one of your accounts, you had better think through the passwords of all of your other accounts. If some of them are running under the same password, you may get into the danger of risking those accounts as well. Be aware that official accounts, like a bank account, are not the only ones that are at risk, think of video game accounts or any booking service account.

Some people have the habit of taking notes in their e-mail service site, which can lead to further problems as well. Usually video game accounts have higher danger factor and it can lead hackers to getting hold of our personal information.

Solution: try not to use the same password twice. Though it can be a bit demanding to manage so many passwords, but you can come up with a system to keep it in mind. Apart from this there are certain password managers that are trustworthy and they can handle your passwords.

Email Scams

Email is the wonderful invention of the twentieth century, which is contaminated by new generation conquerors, the hackers.  This is the reason why smart Email services are equipped with spam filters, which try to get rid of the unwanted offers and threats.

The simplest way to prevent ourselves is to always be aware of the fact that if an Email is put into spam category, then you need to be suspicious. It can also happen that you get some official-like emails that look exactly like your own legal company or bank account, but try to make sure about the source of the message. Be cautious about every good offer you get from shops or other services in general. You can still live with these possibilities if you login to the company’s original website and check the offer yourself.

Also Read: Why Use Gmail for Business?

Smartphone Attack

Smartphones are at risk as well and it is essential to not to forget about them. We take it for granted that we search though the deepest corners of the Internet and our profile remains secret. Malicious apps try to dig into this layer of information and they can even reach out to your PC though your phone. They are able to monitor your keyboard and steal information this way. Once a hacker got hold of your data, you can never see them again (valuable pictures, contracts or so) and you can be forced to pay money for getting them back.

By having a creditable antivirus program, you can fight the intruders. The other way to protect your property is to check twice, before downloading any content. Sometimes, the name of the content is perfect, but before using it, it ‘demands’ another program to run it perfectly.

Scams through Social Media

You may have loads of friends on social websites and it can also happen that you do not know all of them. There is no problem with collecting real friends, but it is a real problem when scammers get close to you and your account. Generally, even if someone just follows you on Instagram, you can give away important information that you may not spot (on a picture or about your friends), which can be use against to you later.

What can you do to protect your social media site? Limit the amount of information that you share about yourself or be more careful about details you give away. By reducing the number of friends or followers you have, you can lower the risk of being attacked.

Friendly Request

The best part of social media is that you can reach anyone you want to keep contact with. In case you have connections and friends you really trust in, you will not have doubts about the content they send you. This content can be a simple message with a ‘simple’ request. Scammers often use others’ social sites to ask for help. It can also occur that the scammer creates a social account with almost the same name as your friend has or adds some nickname as well and then he/she says that it is better to send private messages to this account, rather than the other, real one. The prevention strategy is the following: some social sites allow you to start phone calls or video calls via social sites. If you feel like testing someone or you have trust issues, you had better do it at once.

WiFi Threat Everywhere

Being available all the time means consuming a lot of Internet data on your phone, tablet or PC. It is a basic expectation to have WiFi everywhere you go. Free public WiFi seems to be a good idea, but think of the content you deal with when using WiFi. Just think of an average everyday situation, when you walk into a pub or you have a coffee somewhere and you start to message with your friends or read your emails. The exact time you enter a password or open your emails can be a devastating one as well. By using VPN service, you can avoid spies easily. VPN service apps can be easily downloaded and applied on your phone or tablet (available both for Android and iOS). If you decide to use a public WiFi, be sure not to log in any purchasing website or your bank’s site.

Infected Hyperlinks

In case you get a message containing only a hyperlink, try to look it up in a search engine to make sure if you are not facing with a phishing attack. Sometimes it is not possible, when using a tablet or a smartphone, so be extremely careful with them.

Free Trials or Free Traps?

Do not fall in the trap, even it says that it offers a free trial and you only have to give your credit card number, but they do not charge anything. They may say the truth about this, but then comes the tricky part. When the free trial ends you may not get a notification or email about it and this is how you automatically subscribe for the given program. It is basically legal to do so, since it was written in the Terms of Use document, which we usually scroll through and then accept it.

Even if you do not read through the whole Terms of Use document, it is worth searching for the keywords about subscriptions, notification and charges.

Also Read: Protect Your Website from Hackers

Having a big heart is not always profitable

Charity requests about natural disasters or sick patients can also be generated by scammers. The post or the request may seem perfectly normal and it can happen that it has bunch of supporters, but do not fall into this trap. If there is a charity organization behind an incentive like that, you can check it in the safer corners of the Internet.

Conclusion

You are at risk all the time when using the internet. Being informed about common scams and using the right tools, can protect yourself from online frauds and hackers.

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