We use our computers, tablet and phones to do everything from banking to shopping. More often than not, we get emails or see ads for things that are too good to be true. Generally, we’re able to tell when an ad or email isn’t legitimate; yet, online scammers are getting better at making their communications look like the real deal.
You can protect yourself against online scams by avoiding them, but you have to know what to look out for in order to do so.
Stick to payment options that are well-known
Because we do a large majority of our commerce online, it’s important to only use payment options that are familiar. For instance, a company like PayPal is an internationally renowned money transfer merchant that you can trust. However, if you are ready to complete the checkout portion for your online purchase and the payment option doesn’t list any company that you recognize, consider looking for that product for sale on a more reputable website.
Look for secure sites
Anytime you are prompted to enter credit card or other details online, make sure the site you are on is secure. Look for a padlock symbol in the browser frame window. The padlock symbol must be in the browser frame for a site to be secure. If the symbol is only on the website itself, it is probably fraudulent. Additionally, secure sites have “https://” in their address because the “s” stands for “secure”. To see a site’s full address simply click on the browser frame window once and the address will appear.
Monitor your emails
Online scammers will do anything to get your money and even steal your identity. In order to do so they’ll need access to your personal information. Your email carrier system probably already has filters in place to ensure that junk mail doesn’t get through to your inbox. However, if an online scam is able to get through avoid opening emails with typos in the subject line. Unless the email is from someone you know, a sure sign of a scam are misspellings. If you do accidentally open a scam email do not reply to it or click on any links or attachments within it.
Watch for suspicious texts
Scammers are always trying to find new ways to infiltrate personal devices like cellphones and tablets, so be vigilant about your text messages and other forms of instant communication. Texts you receive from unknown numbers that ask for personal information are scams. No legitimate organization will ask for your personal information VIA text message.
As long as the internet exists, there will be online scams, but with some simple critical thought and by keeping the above points in mind, you’ll be able to keep your personal information out of damaging hands.