As we become more reliant on technology and the internet, there has been a significant rise in online scams. These are created by criminals who are using our dependence on the online line to their full advantage. They create fake websites and use schemes designed to trick unsuspecting online users. While you might think you would be able to spot these scam techniques, you’d be surprised just how authentic they can seem. Thousands of people fall for online scams each year which often results in them being robbed of their personal details and money. This can put many off from using the internet as much as they once did. But it can also put people’s homes and cars at risk too due to their money and identity being stolen.
The threat of online scams can make you feel concerned about buying online and using the internet. But there are things you can do to lower the chances of you being a victim. So to start protecting yourself more sufficiently online, read through these expert tips.
Make sure the link is secure
Paying for products online is an often quick and easy process. But it can also be the most risky part of online shopping. Criminals want you to share your card details so they can access your account, so they will often create fake sites that sell products at low prices to entice online shoppers to part with their money. Unsurprisingly, many people fall for this scam and give their card information willingly. It only takes an online fraudster a few minutes to access your account and clear it out. This can leave you in financial difficulty and without the product or service you paid for.
The most effective way of ensuring your card details are protected is by checking the security of the link you are using. Secured links are easy to spot if you know what you are looking for. Firstly, there should be a padlock logo to the left-hand side of your browser bar. The website address should also start with https://. If the site you are viewing does not contain these things, don’t share your card details with them. This indicates that the link you are using in not secure and could be fake. To learn more about spotting unsecured websites, look at the advice on blog.digicert.com.
Choose your password wisely
Passwords are something we should all be using to keep your payment and personal details safe. But if your password is too short or simple, it won’t provide the protection you think it will. Criminals can easily hack into accounts with insufficient passwords. This can have devastating results, particularly if they access your online banking. This is why it is so important to choose your passwords wisely.
Think of unique number combinations or phrases and try to make them as long as possible. Short and obvious passwords such as your last name or date of birth are easy to guess. Instead, it could be a character from a book or the day you bought your latest car, for instance. But remember to never use the same password for multiple accounts. Should criminals find out your password, this will make it even easier for them to steal even more from you. For enhanced protection, change your passwords on a regular basis. See lifehacker.com for even more advice on choosing a strong password.
It’s also important to remember not to share your log-in details with anyone, either. Legitimate companies such as your bank will never ask for your full password or username. So if you receive a message or phone call asking you to provide this information, don't share it. While they might sound convincing, these are actually scammers trying to access your online accounts. This applies to your card details and pin code too.
Check online reviews
Online reviews can be a useful tool when you’re trying to buy products that are value for money. But they can also be used as a way of helping you spot fraudulent websites. There are many reviews sites out there that do research into how genuine certain websites and companies are. These can range from retail to paid survey website. Some review sites also encourage victims of scams to share their experience to prevent others from making the same mistakes. So if you think an online offer or website seems suspicious.
While it’s beneficial to read online reviews to help you avoid being scammed, remember that fake reviews can be made too. Criminals are smart people and know that reviews can profoundly influence online users. This can be an additional form of online scamming which encourages you to use fraudulent sites. To spot a fake review, look at the date they were posted and how they are written. If there are multiple reviews posted on the same day and written in the same style, they are likely to be fake. So make sure you check out as many review sites as possible to get a clear idea of what a website is like.
In addition to checking review sites, also look at the website’s social media pages. Customers will often leave comments on their experience, both good and bad. This can be insightful and extremely informative. A lack of recent activity on these sites can also be a sign that this company is not genuine.
Read emails carefully
Scam emails, otherwise known as phishing emails have become increasingly common in recent years. They are fraudulent messages created by criminals using the same logo and layout as legitimate companies. They can come from people pretending to be Paypal or Apple or even your bank. Using the logos of these companies gives the email a more authentic look and feel. This tricks people into sharing their personal details because they believe the messages are genuine. Often, these emails contain links to fake websites, also designed to look like your bank or a company website. You will then be encouraged to sign in or change some of your personal details. While these sites and emails might look like the real deal, there are signs that show they are not.
The first thing you should check is the email address that the message has been sent from. Compare this to other emails you have received from these companies or your bank previously. If they aren’t the same, this should be a clear indication of a scam. The wording of the message can also highlight fraudulent activity. Criminals will often send thousands of phishing emails out per day. So it’s unlikely that the message will use your full name. The message itself will also use phrases like “urgent” or “account compromised.” This is an attempt to scare you into quickly giving them confidential information.
If you are suspicious of an email you receive, the best thing you can do is refrain from giving any information. Contact the company directly and inform them that someone has sent what you suspect to be a phishing email. They can then reassure you that your account is safe and tell you what to do next. For more advice, visit safety.yahoo.com.
Regardless of whether you use a smartphone, laptop or tablet, these tips will protect you from online scams. Be cautious of any site that asks you to provide your personal details and bank account information. Check for authenticity and search for online reviews. While it might take you longer to make an order or sign up for things, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.