Ways to avoid scams online…
Since early in time, there have been humans who have a goal of separating other humans from their money and material goods. These people will use devious means to achieve their goals. And in these days of technology, those devious means have reached new heights.
Online scams are developed daily or these con artists use old scams with “new twists.”
Every person who uses the internet is vulnerable to scam artists. As a matter of fact, some of these con artists who have been interviewed have told us that they found the easiest people to con are those who have the attitude they are too smart to be scammed.
On a daily basis, I get emails from scammers using various techniques to attract me to their game. I have been conned before and I will be the first to admit that if I don’t use sound judgment, I could be scammed again.
So I have been adamant about educating myself against possible scams and the tricks these people may use to attempt to separate me from my money.
A recent scam attempt I nearly fell for
Before I get into the main point of this post, I want to tell you about an attempt to con me that just happened in the last couple of days. And, I nearly “bit” the carrot.
I had bought a domain nearly 1 year ago that I believed would be an excellent way to help other people understand the subject I am writing about today. The website is conaware.com and I started building the site but discovered I really did not have the time to commit to it.
I put the website up for auction on Flippa and I suddenly received an email from a person saying they work for a wealthy Belgian businessman who would like to purchase the website for $15,000… Now I was hoping to get $90… $15,000?? I nearly choked on my coffee.
So I emailed the guy back telling him it was at auction on Flippa. But my “Spidey senses” came to life when he said that he would rather just deal direct. He wanted to send me a check.
I knew where this was going, so I have not even made any more contact. Why would he spend $15,000 when the buy it now price is $1,000?
I would not let my greed overwhelm my good senses.
Top 25 Ways to Avoid Scams Online
In today’s post, I am going to share the top 25 ways to avoid scams online. I suggest you take notes on all these and do not assume you can’t be conned. But, you can protect yourself and awareness is the first form of protection.
Also, please share this with your friends and family so they can have a defense. By working together, we can halt the methods and means scammers are using to rob and steal.
#1: If you receive a request for money from a family member online, pick up your phone and call them to make sure the request came from them
It has been a common thing lately especially on Facebook; scammers are copying the profiles of people and then contacting their friends and family asking for money. Be wise and just call them to see if the request is true.
#2: If a government agency requests personal information via email, it is wise to not answer and also call that agency and ask them if they sent that email
Government agencies will not normally ask you for personal information by email. I suggest you call the agency and DO NOT use any phone number in the email. Look it up.
#3: Ignore popups that say your computer has a virus
Many people that are new to computers and the internet “fall” for this scam. These people use this trick to install malware on your computer. They will do a scan and say you have a virus. They will then tell you they can “clean” your computer for a small price. But when you enter your credit card info, it immediately goes up for sale on the deep web and they will “max” out your cards.
#4: Be cautious of new friends on social media
Some online scam experts will tell you to not accept friends you do not know. But we are network marketers and this is how we prospect and recruit. So denying people who befriend us on social media is hurting our business.
The best advice I can give is be cautious of these friends. Do not share information that could be used to harm you. If any of these “new friends” start contacting your other friends in weird ways, delete them and report them.
#5: Do not give your login details or passwords to anyone
I say anyone, but you may do so with your close loved ones. But if a business or individual tells you they need your login and/or password for your email, bank or any other site, you just simply tell them they do not need it and you will not give that information.
Nobody should need that information.
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#6: Create hard passwords
Using simple passwords is the main method hackers use to enter your online login locations. Always remember to use a password that cannot be determined by studying you. Using names or simple numbers can be easy to hack.
Remember that the more characters, the harder to hack. Use a mix of upper case and lower case, numbers and special characters.
- Easy – vermont000
- Medium – KYleBean1980
- Hard – %98)mmmJTfC72!b
#7: Use payment methods that have fraud protection
As more and more people use the internet to purchase items, scammers are finding methods to hack the payment gateways.
Some people assume that bank wire or using a prepaid debit card are safer, but it is much more difficult to get your money back if you are scammed by the seller.
Most major credit and debit cards have fraud protection. Many ewallet methods have built in protections. I personally use my Paypal account and feel a good measure of safety when shopping online.
#8: Do not allow remote access to your computer unless it is from a trusted source
I have known several people who have received a phone call from someone saying they are with a
professional sounding IT company. They may tell you they are working with your online internet provider and your computer has been causing problems in the internet system because it has a virus.
“We will clean it for free from right here.”
Do not fall for it!
They will have you go through a process giving them remote access and they will “hijack” your computer system. It could be used for deep web criminal activities and could actually be linked back to you.
Personally, I don’t allow anyone remote access. If it needs work, I take it to the “fix-it” guy.
#9: Use a high quality antivirus software
There are many antivirus software programs available both free and paid. I am not going to tell you there is a certain one you should get. I personally use Avast, but there are many others like:
- and more…
#10: Do not open emails from untrusted sources
This is another gray area for network marketers and entrepreneurs. Many of us get tons of emails on a daily basis.
I will say that if it looks “shady” immediately, don’t open it. If you do open an email from a source you do not know, and many you do know and it has a link, I do not recommend clicking those links.
One trick I have learned is that I right click the link and have my high quality antivirus scan it. This has saved me multiple times from clicking links that are malware ridden.
#11: Change passwords regularly
It is wise to have a regular schedule where you go through all passwords and change them. There are password managers available that will set strong passwords for you. All you then need is the master keyword to use them all.
Some password managers you may want to consider are:
- Dashlane 4
- Last Pass 4.0
- Zoho Vault
- and many others
#12: Sign up for free scam alerts
Every day, con artists are devising new scams and it is important that people keep up with possible scams that are being used.
The Federal Trade Commission has set up a Scam Alert system. I suggest you sign up for it here: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/scam-alerts
#13: Always leave your firewall on
Operating systems on computers normally have a firewall installed. These firewalls are designed to keep many predators out. If a website says that your firewall is blocking them and you need to turn it off, I suggest you ignore and leave that website.
You should never turn your firewall off.
#14: Do not give your social security number
There is really no reason in the world that you should have to give your social security number to anyone online.
Even if you think the site or person is legit, they should not need your social security number.
#15: If your financial institution sends a link and asks you to click it… Don’t!
This has been a common scam. These people create a website that looks nearly identical to your financial institution. They will ask you to click into it and enter your login details. Bam! They can now go to your actual institution’s website and clean it out.
If you receive an email such as that, just go to your institution not through the link and simply ask them if they sent the email via their contact page. Odds are, they did not send the email.
#16: Keep your operating system updated
Be it Microsoft, Apple or whoever makes your computer operating system, they have regular updates that are made to help protect your system from hackers and viruses. You need to regularly update your system to keep your computer secure.
#17: Keep your web browser updated
Just like your operating system, the developers of web browsers have regular updates to help keep their browser safe and secure for users. No matter what web browser you use, be sure and allow the updates to be installed on a regular basis.
#18: Do not deposit and wire back
So many people have fallen for this scam. It is used in many formats, but the gist is to get you to deposit a large check which seems to be an over payment for your services. To make up for it, the person who sent the check will have you deposit it and withdraw the overage and wire it to a location (usually an alleged subcontractor).
What happens is the check comes back as fraudulent and you are out the money you sent.
Just say no to anyone asking you to do this.
#19: Do research
If you are considering paying for a service or product online, just do a web search of (company or website name) reviews or scams.
You will be able to see if this organization has scammed people in the past.
Now I do suggest that you check various comments and reviews. In some cases, competitors will file false reviews to damage them, so check multiple reviews and make your determination that way.
#20: Only purchase through secure websites
In these days and times, it is smart to only give payment information through secure websites.
How do you know if the website is secure?
Secure websites start with https in the web address. Http is considered not secure. Secure websites will have a small lock in the address bar too.
#21: Do regular reviews of your bank accounts and credit cards
Personally, I check my bank activity daily. It saved me once where someone used my debit card number to order a $800+ laptop computer online through Walmart.com.
I caught it early enough that the authorities were able to set up a catch at the Walmart it was supposed to be retrieved at. Come to discover the scam was so elaborate, that the scammer had actually conned a person to do the pick up and mail it to an address in South Africa.
I don’t know if the actual scammer was ever caught, but I did not have my bank depleted of the money for that laptop I never ordered.
#22: If the job and pay look too good to be true, it probably is
Look around the internet… The ads are numerous… Hiring Now! Data processing $70 per hour.
Now just use some common sense. There is not one company in the world that will pay someone $70 per hour for data processing.
I really hate even saying this, but this system is used by some unethical network marketers in their attempt to recruit onto their team.
If you are using the job method to recruit… Please stop! It is wrong and when people discover your method, you will lose any possible reliability that you did have. Plus it hurts the network marketing system as a whole.
#23: Don’t make quick decisions
If you are being pressured to make an online decision fast, there is good chances it could be an online scam. You should never make abrupt decisions especially if it means a large sum of money. Be diligent and do some research and talk with people you trust to get some input.
Good marketers are willing to give you the time you need to make a decision.
#24: Be wary of free trial offers
So many people have discovered that free trial offer they signed up for online becomes a costly nightmare.
Now do not get me wrong… If you are wise and know when to cancel, and you read all the fine print before signing up, free trials are a good way to see if a software or something else will work for you.
As I mentioned, read the complete print. Realize that some of these companies will use some well-known tricks. Here is an example of a devious free trial:
Use this software 30 days for free
You can try this amazing software to see how great your network marketing system will grow. Yes the 30 day trial will only be available for a short time so you can test it and see the benefits.
When you agree to the 30 day trial offer, your credit card will be billed for the five year software term at thirty one dollars per month. If you decide to cancel before the thirty days are complete, we will refund the billing within six months. Their will be a handling charge of one hundred fifty two dollars upon cancellation. You will receive the refund minus the handling charge within one year of this agreement.
How many people will read that fine print closely. And many people are looking for numbers. There are many number in that fine print, but they are spelled out. A devious trick.
So just to give you the low down, yes it is a free trial that you can cancel, but you will be charged immediately upon giving your credit card info a total of $1,860. If you cancel, they will give your money back minus $152 within 1 year.
Pretty good free trial offer huh?
I believe we all get them… emails with pictures of children that look to be starving in India or Africa. It tugs at our heartstrings. “Please wire your donations by Western Union to ____. Give us your name and social security number for our records and you will feed some children.”
If you really want to give, I suggest you do diligent research and find an organization that you know is honest. Many of these online charity systems are just scams. The money is not feeding starving children. But it is feeding con artists and helping them live like kings.
The Final Word
I don’t think that we will ever stop scammers but if we educate people on what to look for, it will make these con artists’ missions much more difficult.
What other scams and cons would you add to this list? What do you do to avoid scams online?
Have you ever been scammed online? I know that it may be difficult to admit, but it happens. Please tell us the story and how you dealt with it.
I really hope this post helps a lot of people to avoid scam and cons on the internet. Please use the social share buttons below so everyone can get this information.
Thank you for visiting today and stay safe on the world wide web!
About The Author
Greg Boudonck is a freelance writer and the author of over 50 books. He writes on many different topics, but business subjects are one of his primary areas of writing expertise. See Greg’s biography here.