How to avoid being scammed online: Internet safety against fraud

Do you spend a lot of time online for personal transactions, work, or school activities? 

You might have heard stories of people getting scammed online and being victims of identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that 37% of reports involved online scams.

We understand that you want to feel safe when doing online activities without worrying about scammers and hackers.

We’ve scoured the web for the best tips on how to avoid online scams, how to recognize scams, and what you can do to prevent them. We’ve looked into reputable sources on internet security and asked experts for their best tips.

In the end, we shared the best tip to keep yourself safe from online scammers. So read until the end to avoid missing out on the signs of online scams and falling victim to them. Some of them are hard to notice until damage has been done.

Use different passwords for your accounts

One way to prevent online fraud is to have a different and strong password for each account. But what constitutes a good passcode?

  • At least eight characters
  • Includes upper and lowercase letters
  • Contains numbers and special characters

Websites even suggest secure passcodes, so you won’t have to think of one. You can have a physical list of your passwords and store it inside a lockbox or home safe.

Hackers know that people are lazy in creating passwords and take advantage of that behavior. Refrain from using birth dates, anniversaries, and important dates that can be linked to you or any family member.

Avoid giving out your credit card or phone account login

Your credit card and phone account login are entryways to your other accounts. That’s why you should not give it to anyone, not even to friends. There might be someone who’s eavesdropping.

According to Ashley Chubin, the Chief Operating Officer of FlyHi, these are the questions to ask to make sure you’re not getting scammed:

  • Why are they asking me these questions?
  • Do I know this person/recognize this company?
  • Did I have an account with this company?
  • Is this normal behavior for this person?

If you’re having difficulty answering the first question, the situation’s already a red flag. Also, if you answer no to one of the remaining questions, there’s a high chance it’s a scam.

Let’s dive in!

Look out for “too good to be true” scams

Have you heard the saying, “If something’s too good to be true, it probably is?”

You must remember that quote whenever you’re faced with online deals, discounts, and offers.

So that’s one way to identify a scammer online. Examples of these outrageous offers are:

  • Recruiters offering huge daily salaries without many requirements
  • Prince from a faraway land claiming to be your relative
  • Investors wanting to send you a huge amount of money

Sometimes, fraudsters even imitate legitimate businesses to establish credibility. Should you notice spelling and grammatical errors, it’s also a sign of bogus emails.

The CEO of DebtHammer, Jake Hill, also said that if you receive a message from someone who appears to be replicating a legit company, like your bank or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), but you aren’t certain if it’s a scam, contact that institution directly. 

Refrain from calling the numbers listed on the message. You should go directly to the institution’s official website and call their actual number to verify.

Avoid posting too much information about yourself online

It might be tempting to share almost everything about yourself on social media, but did you know it’s doing more harm than good?

Here’s the best tip to keep yourself safe from online scammers: refrain from posting information like your mother’s maiden name, birthdays and anniversaries, or even detailed information about your locations. 

According to an expert, this is how scammers target you, hack your accounts, and reach out as if they know you.

Check out as a guest if possible

You can avoid being scammed when shopping online when you don’t provide too much information. You should check out as a guest when possible, or you can pick eCommerce sites with this feature.

The only details you need to give are your:

  • Credit card details
  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number

Never give your Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) when purchasing anything. These eCommerce sites don’t need such information; they’re scammers if they ask for the details.

Turn on automatic alerts on your accounts

Here’s another fraud prevention tip: turn on the notification on your gadgets to monitor your accounts. You can receive messages whenever there’s unauthorized access to the following:

  • Bank and credit card accounts
  • Email and other messaging apps
  • Online shopping websites

Should you receive alerts that someone’s trying to log into your account, contact the company or bank immediately, then change your passwords.

But what are the online fraud prevention tips when it comes to jobs and recruiters?

  1. Visit the recruiter’s LinkedIn, go to the company’s website, use an email checker to verify the email address.
  2. Search the recruiter and company’s name on search engines to look for reviews.
  3. Avoid text-only interviews because it’s a sign of unprofessionalism.
  4. Don’t entertain jobs you didn’t apply for, informing you that they found your resume online.
  5. Be wary of recruiters asking for your credit card information or requiring you to buy things on their behalf.
  6. Delete job offers with several grammatical and spelling errors. You can also report them as spam or block the email addresses.

How to get money back after an online scam?

If you’re scammed online, how can you get your money back?

  1. Report the incident to the FTC.
  2. Contact your bank immediately to discuss the incident and ask for a refund.
  3. Communicate with the law enforcement officers to prevent the scammer from victimizing others.
  4. Change all online account passwords, especially involving your bank and credit card.

Can you protect yourself from online scams?

Online scams have been rampant for decades, but you can prevent them from happening to you.

We recommend using different passwords, watching out for “too good to be true” offers, checking out as a guest shopper, turning on automatic alerts, and researching a recruiter’s identity before accepting a job or applying. You should also avoid giving out your credit card and phone login details.

Most importantly, you must refrain from posting too much information on the internet since this is one way for fraudsters to mine your data.

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