Most online scams have a number of things in common, which makes it very easy to spot them if you know what to look for. Learning to recognize the elements that are present in every online scam is what will ultimately keep you protected, and enable you to spot them from a mile away. Here’s how:
Money is Always Involved
In most online scams; whether in the form of a lottery, prize, money making scheme, phishing, sweepstakes etc; the most common element found is money. There are a number of ways of taking advantage of gullible users. For instance; they might say that you have won money in a lottery, can make money completing surveys, have been left money from a benefactor, that your bank account or computer is in danger, etc.
How to Avoid: The first step to making your internet browsing experience a much safer one; is by never giving out your personal or credit card information to anyone, especially on an email or link received, asking you to do so. To make sure that there is no fishy business, contact your bank with the number provided on your last statement and not by the one found on the email or website.
It Will Sound Too Good to Be True
Who wouldn’t want to make easy money while sitting at home and browsing the internet? The scammers revel in the knowledge that when it comes to making money online, there are a lot of people who will jump at the opportunity without much thought. They will dangle the carrot to distract people from what their real goal is, i.e. to take personal and financial information.
Most will ask that you download a software as part of the money making process, which will either infect your computer with a virus, or the program installed will be used to spy and monitor your web behavior.
How to Avoid: Steer well and clear away from such sites or offers that ask you to download a program on your computer. To be on the safe side, make sure that the computer you are using doesn’t have any sensitive data or information saved on it.
Don’t Wait, Act Now! Urgent!
Especially notorious for creating a false sense of urgency, phishing scammers will go to any lengths when it comes to creating panic in the victim, so much so, that the rational thought processes are unable to think properly. This is how most cases of identity theft or stealing of financial information occur.
How to Avoid: Make it a habit to always investigate an email thoroughly before acting on its contents. Take as much time as possible and cross-check the keywords used in the email over the internet which will give you an idea if it’s a known scam or not.
We Need Your Personal Information
There is one other thing that scammers want besides your money and that is your personal information. Identity theft is fast becoming a greater menace, but how does it become useful to scammers. They sell your identity to crooks or make use of it themselves to easily obtain credit cards and loans in your name.
How to Avoid: Refrain from giving out your social security number on the internet. This is the best way to save yourself from identity theft.