The internet may just be one of the most momentous inventions of all times, it has given us the kind of freedom and ability to communicate and share information that past generations could not have imagined. However, along with the good came the bad, as it often does. The amazing good that the internet has brought us is oft-overshadowed by the bad; from the potential damage of social media to the massive number of internet frauds happening on a daily basis.
As the world is getting smaller and smaller by the day, and more people have access to the internet, the number of scam artists and various fraudsters keeps going up as well. Back in the day, it used to be fairly safe to go online, but today there are many dangers to look out for. Thankfully, there are also many things you can do to prevent online scams and frauds, and for your benefit, here is a list of the top nine ways that will help you reduce the risk of being scammed on the internet in 2020.
1. Don’t click what you don’t know: One of the most common ways hackers and scammers use to get your personal or banking details or hack into your computer is by sending you Trojan horses in emails, instant messages, etc. To make sure you are always safe, never click links in emails or messages that are coming from unknown addresses of those that seem out of order. In fact, it is a good idea to not even open an email if it is coming from a completely anonymous source. What’s even more, if the title of the email has something to do with you winning the lottery or inheriting millions, simply delete it.
2. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is: As briefly mentioned in step one, you should be careful about believing things that sound too good to be true. One of the most common ways scammers on the internet operate nowadays is by sending users emails about potentially getting rich overnight.
Common scams of this type include emails that claim the user’s distant family member has died and left them a huge inheritance or that they have won some mysterious lottery which they never even played. These scams target those less savvy with their computers and the way modern world operates, but anyone can become a victim, so be careful for yourself and your loved ones alike.
3. Don’t trust strangers online: No matter what the discussion is about, you should never trust strangers on the internet before trust has been established. Whether you are trying to establish a business relationship or looking for your next date, always be skeptical at first and ask for proof of any claims. After all, honest people who do things online will not be bothered by such caution, as they exercise it as well. Those who seem bothered by questions and ask you to trust them at their virtual word usually have some hidden agenda. Make sure to stay smart and always double check before you do anything online.
4. Be cautious with online casinos: Online casinos, sportsbooks and poker sites are also common grounds for online scams. Before you sign up to any casino site where real money is required for play, you should make sure they are licensed by proper authorities and actually run a legitimate business.
Looking up some user and expert casino reviews is always a good idea before you get started. If you’re looking for the best online casinos in Canada, sites like Scams.info will let you know which gambling operators are good, and which to avoid.
5. Be careful of sending money: When we talk about online scams, many of them include you sending money to some individual for a number of reasons. Often, you will be asked to send money to cover ‘legal or banking fees’ for your case, whatever it may be. At other times, the fraudsters will appeal to you romantically, trying to seduce you and pretend to be in a relationship with you.
If you do get contacted by scammers claiming you have won or received something, you should never, ever, under any circumstances send them cash. After all, you can simply instruct them to deduct the cash once your payment is being made, which it never will. Finally, scammers will often instruct you to send money to African countries you have never heard of, which is yet another warning sign.
6. Protect your credit card data: One of the most sensitive pieces of information you can give away online is your credit card info. If you like to shop online, play real money games or pay for services, make sure you are always doing this at sites you know you can trust beyond a shadow of a doubt. In fact, we would go so far as to recommend only ever using big name brands like eBay, Netflix and similar and rarely going off track and paying online to unknown companies.
Of course, there are many exceptions and if the company you are buying from is legitimate in your eyes, go for it. Another good tip is to have a separate card which holds limited funds that you use for online payments, as this way you don’t run the risk of being scammed out of big chunks of cash.
7. Careful with trial offers: Trial periods are a marketing tool used by many companies in all niches, big and small, as the internet has found a way into nearly every part of human society. The way a trial offer works is you need to enter your credit card info and you get to use the service for free for a certain period, and are billed once that period is up. Legitimate companies will allow you to cancel your subscription before the trial is up and at any point after that. Scammers, on the other hand, will try to hold you hostage and will often write provisions into the terms of service that lock you into paying for their service for extended periods of time. Make sure to read the terms of service before taking up a free trial offer.
8. Keep your devices safe: There are many ways to get scammed online, but someone hacking into or infecting one of your devices with malicious software is certainly one of them. Make sure you keep all your devices’ software up to date and keep protective software installed at all times. We highly recommend using modern anti-virus programs on both your PC and your mobile phone, as well as any other device you may be using. The moment you start using the internet, you are a potential victim of scam, so make sure you get all the tools to protect yourself from any intruders.
9. Act fast if scammed: If you do fall victim to fraud, which can happen to anyone, make sure you act fast and decisive. Do not be embarrassed about what happened and make sure to contact the police, your bank and anyone else who may need to know. Calling the cops is something you would do if you were scammed in real life, so you should also do it if someone defrauds you online. Police departments today have cyber units which can help you with your problems. Furthermore, if your banking information was compromised, make sure to contact the bank, have them freeze your account and stop any further transactions from being made until the matter is resolved.