How To Avoid Online Scam
Online scams are schemes to con you out of your money by using the internet and your computer. But, how? Very simple! Stay with me. They use either a fake website or fake emails! Listen to this: there are also many different ways that scammers can get into YOUR computer and steal your money (of course by that I mean going to your online bank account) and they can also steal your identity.
The great thing is that there are ways to protect yourself from that and there are tips avoiding scams.(1)
I have put this article together to help detect scammers and to learn tips avoiding scams.
Crooks use clever schemes to defraud millions of people every year. They often combine new technology with old tricks to get people to send money or give out personal information. Here are some practical tips to help you stay a step ahead. -FTC
FTC has an excellent article about Tips Avoiding Scams (2)
- ◊Keep your personal information to yourself
- ◊Socialize safely online
- ◊Consider the National Do Not Call Registry
- ◊Stay away from “guarantees” of scholarships
- ◊Don’t buy bogus weight loss products
- ◊Understand credit
- ◊P2P file-sharing can be risky
- ◊Travel scams turn summer breaks into summer busts
- ◊Phishing scams reel in personal information
- ◊Some employment services are scams
Watch this short video explaining how to get smart with your data
How To Spot A Fake email:
Con artists can easily simulate an official-looking email, using the same logo and email design as the actual company. I am sure you did get phishing emails that look like they are from your depository financial institution.
Often your guard is down when you receive an email from a company you’ve dealt with before, such as your bank or an online shopping site you utilize. Always be alert to a fake before clicking on any links or opening any attachments. Call your bank or any other company to verify if they sent you this email.
How to Find if a Website Is Legitimate
Wiki teaches you how to appraise an internet site’s credibility before using it. Also, you will determine the basic internet safety, how to use Google’s Transparency Report and the Better Business Bureau’s site to verify a web site’s legitimacy. So refer to those tips before getting involved with any company online, either to purchase goods from, joining an Affiliate Marketing, MLM, etc. (3)
Check Website Security Before Engaging
Always make sure a site is secure before entering any information.
Check the SSL Certificate
Here’s how you do that. If the URL begins with “https” that means the site is secured using an SSL Certificate. That certificate secures any data you may enter from your browser to the company website’s server. The company must go through a validation process to get an SSL Certificate.
Be careful as there is a different level of validation and some are easier to get.
DV (Domain Validation) is the lowest level. It validates only the ownership of the domain, but not the legitimacy of the company or organization.
EV (Extended Validation) is the highest level. With EV the company must prove their identity and the legitimacy of the business when requesting the certificate.
When you look at the browser and see a lock icon and a green address bar that means the site is SSL with an EV certificate.
Look For Signs That The Company Is Real
Physical Address And Phone Number – Reputable companies will disclose their information. If you don’t see any information like a physical address and phone number this should be a red flag.
Return Policy – Most likely reputable companies will have their Return Policy posted on their site. If you cannot find that, you probably want to move on to the next site.
Prices Are Too Good To Be True – When it’s too good to be true, it’s usually is! Yes, it is nice to find a great bargain, but when it is far lower than a competitor’s site then you should worry! It could be stolen goods, or you will never get what you purchased. Walk away, not worth it!
Privacy Statement – Legit sites should tell you how they protect your information and whether they give your information to third parties. Do not purchase if they don’t have that or if they are giving your information to a third party.
Con Artists Phish for Banking Info Via Text
Look out for text message scams. Scammers are trying to fool users into sharing personal information by sending text messages that look like alerts from banks.
How the Scam Works:
You receive a text message that appears to be from a bank. It’s asking you to update your profile and provides a link to a website. The link may even have the bank’s name as part of the domain.
If you click on the URL, it will take to a form that looks like part of the bank’s website. The page will prompt to “confirm” your identity by entering your name, user ID, password, and bank account number. DON’T DO IT! Sharing this information puts you at risk for identity theft.
Protect yourself from text message scams.
The following are some tips from the Better Business Bureau to protect against text message scams:
- Just hit delete!
- Ignore instructions to confirm your phone number or visit a link. Some scam texts instruct you to text “STOP” or “NO” to prevent future texts. But this is a common ploy by scammers to confirm they have a real, active phone number.
- Read your phone bill.
- Check your phone bill for services you haven’t ordered. Some charges may appear only once, but others might be a monthly “subscriptions.”
- Know your rights.
- Real commercial text messages must provide a free, easy way for you to opt-out of future communication. Learn more here.
- Know how to combat spam texts.
- In Canada, an anti-spam law covers text messages. Learn more about reporting and fighting spam here. In the US, forward the texts to 7726 (SPAM on most keypads). By doing that, it will alert your cell phone carrier to block future texts from those numbers.
- Watch out for lookalike URLs.
- Just because a URL has the name of a real company in it, doesn’t mean it’s legitimate. Anyone can register a subdomain (realcompany.website.com) or a similar URL (realcompany1234.com).
- Ask your phone carrier about blocking third-party charges.
- Mobile phone carriers permit outside businesses to place charges on your phone bill, but many providers also allow you to block these charges for free.
Be Aware Of Fake FaceBook “Like”
The headline of an article in USA TODAY published September 7, 2017, read as followsclick hereFake Facebook ‘like’ networks exploited code flaw to create millions of bogus ‘likes’. To see a short video
Researchers at Facebook and the University of Iowa found a thriving ecosystem of sites that allow members to get fake likes on their Facebook posts in exchange for turning over control of their account to the site. USA TODAY was able to get 50 likes on a post in under 1 minute using one of the reputation fraud sites.
The USA Government has published a list of common scams and frauds. To find information on common scams and shams that can happen to you click here
Please be safe and perform your due diligence before getting involved!