How to Avoid Common Online Scams?

Avoid Common Online Scams

Internet fraud is a growing issue and costs users thousands of dollars every year. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received a record 791,790 complaints of internet fraud in 2020 that led to a loss of $4.1 billion. Anyone can become a victim of cybercrime if they don’t know how to avoid common online scams. IC3’s report suggests that over 40% of the internet victims are more than 50 years of age. The report has also shown that these victims have lost over $100,000.

Since the internet is full of possibilities, surely, you don’t want to unplug from it.

Types of Online Scams

Staying informed about the types of scams can help in combating them. So, here is a list of the top online scams-

  • Job Offer Scams: In this type of scam, you receive an unsolicited email offering you a job, especially something that is not your area of expertise. If you accept, you receive a money order or check for an amount that’s greater than the amount your employer is offering. Then you are asked to send back the difference, only to find out later that the money order or check was fake.
  • Lottery Scams: You receive an email claiming that you have won a certain amount but to claim the offer, you have to pay a fee. Scammers often say that these fees are for government taxes, insurance costs, courier charges, and bank fees. You are asked to send your personal details for the purpose of verification, and you instantly become a victim of theft.
  • Online Dating Scams: New dating sites are cropping up every day. You can meet your life partner through them. But you can’t be sure as to who is on the other side of the screen. So, you might end up in a relationship with someone who asks for money or asks you to redirect items they have sent. This just means you have met a scammer.
  • Social Media Scams: These scams are becoming more popular with time. You might come across a social media quiz promising to tell you your personality, like or offering some attractive prize. But remember, the quiz developer can secure many details from your profile. At times, you might also receive a friend request on a social media site from a fraud posing as someone you know. They might send you a phishing link that will take you to a scrupulous site.

Tips to Avoid Common Online Scams

Here are a few methods that will help you to avoid online scams.

Check the Web Address

Communications from social media websites, IT administrations, and payment processors are used for luring unsuspecting users. The phishing site’s web address might resemble the authentic website. Often, these sites contain addresses of the authentic site but will contain a code to reroute traffic to a scam site.

Use a VPN

When you connect to the internet, you expose yourself and your business to thieves and hackers, who can go through your browsing history to get your payment details or steal your personal information. Hence, when you have to protect yourself and yourself, use a VPN.

VPN is a virtual private network, and it can encrypt your identity and internet traffic. This makes it more difficult for third parties to break in and grab your data.

You might trust your ISP, but at times they hand your browsing history to advertisers or to third parties. Remember, your ISP is also open to breaches. In case they are hacked, your private and personal data can be compromised.

A VPN is worth considering if you are connecting to public Wi-Fi networks. Cybercriminals watch over your internet traffic and look to steal your data.

A VPN will mask your IP address as it redirects it through a remote server, which is specially run by a VPN host. Thus, if you browse the internet, using a VPN, the VPN server will be the point of the data origin point. Thus, no one can see what you are up to. A VPN serves as a fitter that will transform the data you are receiving or sending into gibberish.

Review the Reviews

You should check out the reviews. If there are no reviews, stay away from the site. But if there are, look for warning signs. Some warning signs are unanimous and limited reviews with five stars without any comment, or comments loaded with vague praise or broken English. No negative reviews are also a warning sign as even the best legitimate can’t please every customer. But make sure that you don’t read too much into the negative reviews.

Keep Your Financial Data Separate

While using the internet for business purposes, use a dedicated workstation for all your organization’s banking activity. Use other computers for accessing the internet and performing non-banking activities. When you are done, make sure that you erase the drive from a system that had been used for accessing the company.

Keep Your Passwords a Secret

Make sure that you don’t share your password or leave any document containing access to your financial data in an unprotected area. To enjoy protection, change your password regularly. Moreover, you should use a combination of numbers, letters, and special characters. Change the default password of your wireless network and default SSID.

Beware of ‘Going Out of Business’ Story

During the pandemic, many legitimate businesses closed down. Many illegitimate businesses are using this as a tool to tap into the emotional side of the users. One effective way to tell legitimate business from a fraud one is to check the starting data on the site’s social media handles and domain registrations. If you come across a business that was introduced during the pandemic but went out of business just in time, avoid it.

Bottom Line

Though all these tips will keep you protected over the internet. But the best way to protect yourself against an online scam is to use a VPN, and one of the best VPN services to use is FastVPN. With this, you can stay protected while performing your online activities and no one can access your financial, and personal details. So, to avoid common online scams, you should use a reliable VPN service like FastVPN.

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