How to Avoid Online Scams

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Online Scam List

Fraud Alert SignsI am sure that most of us who have used any one of the devises that connect us to the internet have run into some form of online scam in one way or another. Whether we use a computer, tablet or a phone there is always a way that online scam artists can connect to us. There is no way for us to avoid them. The only thing we can do is to try to educate ourselves in how to identify these threats so we can avoid being victimized by these people. Below are some of the more common type of scams that we have to protect ourselves and our livelihoods from.

  • Phishing email scams
  • The money laundering scam
  • A guaranteed bank loan or credit card scam
  • Lottery scam
  • Hitman scam
  • Romance scams
  • Fake antivirus software
  • Facebook impersonation scam (hijacked profile scam)
  • Make money fast scams (Economic scams)
  • Travel scams

Calculator and MouseOnline scams developed using increasingly sophisticated means of deceiving users, especially in the rich Western countries.

According to FBI, online scams have increased over the last 10 years and the total losses doubled in the recent years, affecting both private individuals and large scale businesses. For this reason, cyber criminal activities are now subject to federal investigations and are treated as a very serious problem that affects us all.

Here Are More Ways To Protect Yourself From Scam Artists.

Check for a Key or Padlock Icon in your browser’s address bar.

Stop Phone Scams PictureOn Google Chrome these keys and padlocks can be in different colors depending on whether the site being visited uses TLS or SSL certificates. According to Google, these certificates allow you to tell whether a site is valid or invalid. Without getting into too much technical terms, I would like to list here the different types of keys and padlocks they have out there for Google Chrome.

  • First and foremost, NEVER give out any payment or personal information to any site that does not have any key or padlock at all.
  • Green Lock Icon – If you see a green lock icon it means that a website or webpage connection is secure. (Valid)
  • Yellow Exclamation Point – indicates that the website has not provided the browser with a certificate. This is normal for regular HTTP sites, as certificates are only usually provided if the site uses SSL.
  • Blank Page Icon – Any “normal” http websites, will be shown with a blank page icon displayed before it. These pages can be accessed without prior authentication.
  • Lock Icon with a Yellow Triangle – indicates that Chrome can see a site’s certificate but that the site has weak security. In this case, we recommended that you proceed with caution, as your connection may not be private.
  • Red Padlock with an X next to a URL, this is a sign that there are problems with a site’s certificate. Hand in Card ReaderThis is a red flag not to give site’s like that any of your personal information. Stay away from such sites.

Check with Better Business Bureau.

The Better Business Bureau is one of the more reliable agencies that give feedback and ratings to the general public regarding a specific business. They do this based on reviews or complaints from customers regarding a specific business. If a business has a very good standing with its customers, it will have an A+ rating. A business that has a lot of complaints and bad reviews from its customers would receive a F rating. A business that receive a rating between A and F is a sign that there might be some dis-satisfactory practices in how they run their business.

Check for an address.

 Try to find out if the online business you are dealing with have an address. If they don’t have one then try to determine their location whether you are dealing with a company from your own country or one from overseas. I would recommend that you use one that is located in the same country you live in. That will make it easier to track them down if it ends up that they are trying to deceive you. An overseas company would be much harder to track down for legal purposes.Cartoon of Robber Breaking Into A Chest

 Stay away from sites with a lot of annoying pop-up ads.

Most legitimate businesses do not put pop up ads on their site. They know that it is very annoying and can drive potential customers away as soon as these pop ups start to show up on a customer’s screen. If you happen to come by any sites like that, it is highly recommended that you do not stay on it. If you do, do not give them any of your private information.

How to Check Up on a Company

My first recommendation is that you check out the customer reviews on any online company that you want to do business with. There are a lot of review sites online where you can go to and check out what customers say about a certain online business or any kind of business for that matter.

If the business has a phone number, call them up. Judge for yourself whether they sound professional or not. Ask a lot of questions until you are satisfied that they are not just a scam.

Ask around. Check with coworkers, family and friends to see if any of them have heard of or used the company’s service before. At this day and age of the social media, you might also want to ask your online friends if any of them know anything about the company.Neighborhood Watch Sign

Here Are Some Methods on How to Protect Yourself from Online Scam Sites

 

  • Use A Credit Card – The use of a credit card has a lot more protection that some of the other payment methods. If it ends up that you have been scammed, you have a better chance of stopping the payment or recovering your loss.
  • Don’t give out personal information – Once again, do not under any circumstance give out your personal information to any unfamiliar source who request it whether it is through an email, on the phone or any unsecured internet site.
  • Never wire money.If a company tell you that the only way to pay them is to wire your payment to them, that is a red flag for scam. Stop any further contact with such companies.Robber Running Away With A Sack Of Loot
  • Use a payment mediator – The use of a payment mediator company is a very safe method for online payment. These companies are designed to protect your payment information from online scam artists. Their services are free for online customers due to the fact that they only charge their fees to the sellers. It is also free to set up an account with them. And that is a win win situation for online buyers.
  • Upgrade or Update the Security of Your Devices – Make sure that all devices that you use to connect to the internet are up to date, especially their security features. Avoid any popup ad that ask you to update any of your software by clicking on them. Only use updates from reliable sources such as official apple websites for your apple devices and Microsoft for your windows devices and so forth.
  • Strengthen Your Passwords. Always use strong passwords especially when you are dealing with your payment information online. Make sure that they are more than eight characters and contain letters, numbers and whenever possible add one or more special characters to it. Make your passwords unique for each account you have. Do not use any password on more than one account. That would make your accounts vulnerable to hackers.Toy Police Arresting Toy Robbers

 

There are a whole lot more steps on how to protect ourselves from online scams. As time goes on, I will add on to this list more ways on how we can better protect ourselves from internet scams as I continue my research into the subject.  I just want to show this short list of some of the more common ways the experts want us to use to protect ourselves from the scums of the internet. I hope that some of these methods can help to save someone out there from the grief caused by these evil people.

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