Cybercrime is on the rise. Scams and frauds are a daily issue for Internet users around the globe. How to avoid scams and frauds? Is it really possible to protect yourself or these threats are just impossible to stop?
The figures show just how serious cyber crooks are when it comes to sabotaging your life by stealing your money or your personal data. Although people today have a lot of awareness regarding online dos and don’ts, there are many who obviously do not have this information.
The reason why cybercriminals enjoy continued success with online scams and frauds is not because the level and quality of scams are too good to be safe from. These scams always have, and always will rely on the user failing to take some basic precautions.
If you want to avoid scams, you should know what you should do while on the internet, or more accurately, what you shouldn’t do.
How to Avoid Scam
Never Give Out Bank Details Through Links In Email
We don’t care how many times it has been said in the past; we will say it again. It sounds like a no-brainer but you would be shocked to know how many users fail at that. So, here we are, let’s state it again!
Never give out your bank account details by clicking on links you receive through email.
The email will look like it has come from your bank, and when you click on the link, the webpage will give you the feeling that you are accessing your bank’s website. It has to. Otherwise even the dumbest of dumb people would know something’s not right.
However, NOTE THAT: your bank or merchant service will never ask you to click on links to go to their website.
The emails you receive might give a tempting message like they have an offer for you, or they are updating their database and are requesting all users to verify their identity, but they are all fake. Your bank will never contact you in this manner.
Whenever you want to access your bank’s website, manually enter the URL. Never click on links in email, since you don’t know who’s running the web page you are visiting. If you find entering the URL time and again too bothersome, set a bookmark for it.
But never ever click on links in emails. This is one of the most common methods crooks use to get your account details, the result of which becomes apparent on your next credit statement.
Careful With Unbelievable Job Postings
Job hunting can be tough. There are many websites that help you land a job and start earning, like Craigslist. However, you should always be careful when using these websites, because they are crawling with spammers.
You might even receive a job offer through email. But if you are even a little vigilant, you can spot a fake from miles away.
All spam offers are usually too good to be true. That’s how they coax users into clicking on the link provided in the email and/or tricking them into parting away with some money. If the email or listing offers a lot of money for virtually no work at all, you should know it’s not true.
These offers will usually ask you to send some money through wire transfer. If you do end up wiring them the money, you should forget about getting it back. So whenever you get such an offer on a website, scroll down. If you get it in your mail inbox, mark the mail as spam and forget about it.
Don’t Buy Stuff When You Receive Offers Through Mail
Online shopping has grown to unimaginable levels. You can find most anything in online stores today. Many of these have mega sales of products you might need, and they send these offers to users through the mail.
However, many fake shopping websites try to copy this technique, but only halfway. It is halfway because they will send you the offer, ask you for the money, take your money, but never give you the products they said they would.
While most people know that they should always check for the lock symbol in the address bar whenever buying anything on online stores, a lot of people fall for this trick.
While authentic stores and services like Amazon send out offers through email, you should always go to the website yourself before buying anything. Never click on links provided in the mail.
Do Not Give Away Your Email Password
A lot of websites today ask users for their email ID and password to look up people in their address book and invite them to join the service they are joining.
If you provide your details, you are making a grave mistake. The lesser of two evils is that you will cause the inbox of your friends to overflow with spam invites.
The bigger and more dangerous evil is that the service has access to your email account credentials. If this information falls into the wrong hands, the malicious service or user can change your password and then do all kinds of mischief using your email account.
If for heaven’s sake, you have linked that email account to your financial services and use the same password there as well, then your life will be severely affected. We don’t need to elucidate why it can be dangerous.
Hold On To Your SSIDs Dearly
Social security numbers are not just your proof of identity. They are entryways into your life. Everything is linked to them, which is why it is vital that you keep it to yourself unless asked by a legitimate source.
What is a legitimate source, you ask? Well, in the online world, you should only fill in your social security number if you want to subscribe to a credit service, for those services do require your social security number to check your credit rating.
Apart from that, there aren’t many websites and services which require your social security number, apart from government services.
To prevent misuse refrain from sharing your social security number anywhere unless absolutely necessary. Prevention is better than cure, but in the case of online spamming, prevention is the only solution you have.
Don’t Pay Attention to Warnings in Pop-ups
It is quite common to see pop-ups that give you a warning about how your computer is severely infected with virus and malware. It will throw in an absurd virus report in the mix, showing just how infected your system really is.
Below the message will be a link to an antivirus solution you absolutely need to install, according to the pop-up. The situation, in truth, isn’t as dire as these pop-ups claim at all. Your system is probably safe. The report is only shown to you so that you buy the service that the pop-up is advertising.
You don’t really need those services, and they aren’t the most reliable security solutions in the market either. What is most likely is that the landing page for these pop-ups has malware which infects your system.
It might also be the case that the software you download from these links install unwanted files and apps on your system which you don’t even know of. These take up valuable hard disk space, could secretly send your personal information to remote servers, or could install malware on your system.
Some Safety Tips to Avoid Scams and Frauds
Use Strong Passwords
The importance of using strong passwords is common knowledge, but still many people continue to use weak and easy to guess passwords. Your password is the first line of defense for your account. If you don’t use two-factor authentication, it is your only line of defense.
Make sure it is as strong as possible. A password that is a combination of letter and numbers and even has special characters is hard to break. You should also never use common phrases as passwords since they are simpler to crack.
If you have trouble remembering different complex passwords, you can consider using a password manager as well. This store all your passwords securely to make sure you never forget a password while in turn continue to have good protection for all your important accounts.
Before you opt for a service that requires you to part with your money or thinks of clicking on a link that is your gateway to avail an offer which you just don’t want to miss out on, always seek advice from someone.
Ask your friends or colleagues what they think about it. In case they don’t know anything about it, then it’s quite likely that the offer is fake. You can go a step further and do some web hunting to see if this is a common tactic which scammers use to trick customers.
Being cautious can take a little time, but it helps you save your money and peace of mind.
Use Antivirus and Browser Plug-ins
Most antivirus software today comes with browser protection to stop you from getting victimized by online scams. These will warn you that the website you are visiting is suspicious and might be malicious in nature.
The best antivirus software have a constantly updated database of malicious URLs against which they check all your outgoing URL requests. On finding a match, they notify you that the website is malicious.
All modern browsers have security features as well in the form of browser extensions. You can use these extensions and plug-ins to improve the security of your browser and stay protected from online scams and frauds.
VPNs encrypt your connection and make it difficult for anyone to know which websites you are accessing or what information you are sharing over the internet. Your true IP address is hidden behind that of the VPN server you are connected to, making your anonymous. The encryption makes your online activity private, keeping it safe from all prying eyes.
This is important especially if you travel around a lot and connect to public wireless networks on a regular basis. Public networks have close to zero security, which is why malicious users connect to them to spy on other users and steal their personal information.
With the help of a VPN, you are protected against that threat. VPNs provide a secure channel for sharing sensitive information, so no one can steal it and use it against you.
Best VPNs To Help You Avoid Scams And Frauds
We recommend that you use a VPN regardless of whether you travel around a lot or not. Everyone uses the internet to share sensitive information like bank details, social security numbers, credit card information, etc.
If your network isn’t properly protected, or someone snoops in on your activity and steals this information, then you could be in serious trouble. Using a VPN is the best way to avoid scams.
Although there are many VPNs to choose from, we have picked the best ones for you.
ExpressVPN is one of the best VPN services in the world. This has been the case for a few years now since ExpressVPN continuously improves on its already stellar service.
ExpressVPN has more than 1700 servers across 94 countries of the world. With its strong AES 256-bit encryption, your traffic is well encrypted, protecting your sensitive information from all prying eyes. Nobody knows which website you are using and what information you are sharing, so no one can steal the information.
Also, ExpressVPN offers stealth servers that make it possible for users in countries like China, UAE, etc. to use a VPN as well. If you hit a snag and require assistance, you have 24X7 customer support with ExpressVPN.
All your devices and operating systems are supported by ExpressVPN, and you have a 30-day money back guarantee to use in case you are not satisfied with the service.
30-Day Money Back Guarantee
CyberGhost VPN is a Romanian based VPN service. The company has greatly improved its services and presently it is one of the best VPN connection on the market.
As the best VPNs, CyberGhost employs the best VPN protocols to encrypt your connection. You will find interesting the double encryption feature that add an extra layer of security to your data. While using this feature, all your traffic and sensitive data are totally hidden from prying eyes.
CyberGhost is user-friendly and if you keep it activated all the time you will easily avoid scams and frauds online. Besides that, you can use CyberGhost VPN even to access geo-restricted contents and watch streaming online at an excellent speed.
CyberGhost offers a 30-day money back guarantee so you can try the service virtually for free. To be noted that CyberGhost has some of the cheapest plans on the market without compromising your security.
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30-Day Risk Free Guarantee
IPVanish is a close competitor for ExpressVPN. It is an industry giant and continues to provide a wholesome service which caters to all the needs of customers.
IPVanish provides the same OpenVPN AES 256-bit encryption which all the good VPNs provide. This makes your browsing absolutely secure and safe from anyone trying to snoop in.
You have access to one of the fastest VPNs when you use IPVanish, which is always an advantage since encrypting your connection does take a toll on your connection speed. The best VPNs like IPVanish ensure that toll is minimal. You have safety features like OpenVPN obfuscation and IP cycle when you use IPVanish. The OpenVPN obfuscation makes it difficult for anyone to determine you are using a VPN.
This is useful for users in countries where using a VPN is not permitted. The IP cycle changes your IP address every few minutes (based on your selection) so that no one can track you by monitoring your IP for a long time. Cross-platform support, 7-day money back guarantee, a zero-logs policy, and good customer support service all point in favor of IPVanish as being one of the best VPN services around.
7-Day Hassle-Free Money Back Guarantee
NordVPN is a top VPN service and is probably the most secure VPN available. It is not as old a service as ExpressVPN and IPVanish are, but is in their league already.
Where other VPNs offer a single layer of encryption, NordVPN offers two. The extra layer of encryption makes your connection impermeable to any sort of identity theft. Your personal information can never be stolen as long as you are using NordVPN.
The best part is that despite this extra encryption overhead, NordVPN manages to provide you high-speed connections wherever you are. The VPN over Tor service combines VPN and Tor’s protection to give users one of the most secure connections. The VPN clients are simple to use and full of such features, all devices and operating systems are supported, and there is a 30-day money back guarantee.
30-day Money Back Guarantee
French for ‘the VPN,’ this service has quietly but quickly made a name for itself by adhering to the demands of paying customers and making sure all the customers are satisfied with their service.
LeVPN uses AES 256-bit encryption, but also provides a unique protocol. The HybridVPN service combined the protection of VPNs and the speed of SmartDNS service to give users the best combination of speed and security.
You can enjoy unrestricted access to the internet and ensure the safety of your data as you share it, all the while enjoying high speeds. With servers in 114 countries, there is always a server near you.
You have access to a 7-day money back guarantee, and currently, you have a great discount offer with LeVPN, as they are offering a 2-year subscription at a 40% discounted price of $69.60 for a limited period to celebrate their 7th birthday.
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7-Day Money Back Guarantee
Even after so many articles talk about the common scam practices, a lot of internet users fall prey to them. This is mostly because of a lack of awareness. If you know someone who is new to the internet, make sure you educate them about it.
This might be your child, your parents, or a friend who isn’t tech savvy or friendly but is slowly starting to adopt the technology. To make sure that their online experience is clean, share these tips with them.
Using a VPN is highly recommended since everyone uses public wireless networks. These networks are never safe and are honeypots for malicious users out to steal your personal information.