You hear about scams that lurk online every day. When you see as many articles about successful phishing attempts as this year, you may think that whole online scam thing is exaggerated. Some people even think that phishing has nothing to do with their lifes as no one is interested in their personal information. Both of these opinions are totally wrong, because if you have a computer and the internet connection, you can be the next victim of fraudulent emails and websites.
How to protect your self from internet scams? Take a look at these useful tips:
1) Using your common sense is the most important rule. Online bank will never send you an email unless you have a bank account there. If you receive email message asking to verify your details, but the bank is not the one you use, simply delete the message and forget it. If a certain website you visit features poor grammar and misspellings, it’s most likely a counterfeit one. Whenever you are not sure if a website is legitimate or malicious, don’t submit any information.
2) Avoid clicking links in email messages, instant messages and random websites. It sounds paranoid, but it can save your money and peaceful life. The link may also be fabricated and look like web address of some known site, but it can lead you to similar looking fraudulent website instead. If you really want to visit the website offered in an email, type its address into browsers address bar instead of clicking or copying it.
3) Avoid sending personal or financial information via email and suspect every email that requires giving away logins or relates to finances. Financial institutions never request people to confirm passwords in email messages. Remember that official emails always contain your name and surname. If the message says ‘Dear firstname.lastname@example.org’ or ‘Dear customer’ instead of ‘Dear John Smith’, it’s a hint that email is forged.
4) If you do online shopping or online banking, whenever you're about to type financial information on certain website, make sure it is secure. Pay attention to the address bar on the browser you use. Is the address correct? Even if it is, make sure the address has ‘https’ at the start. Secure websites also have closed padlock icon displayed in the address bar. However some fake websites may use https://.
5) Check your credit reports regularly. Sometimes when your bank account is used without your authority, you may not notice that something is wrong. Simply check your online accounts and make sure that you know how your money disappears.
Being careful doesn’t mean being paranoid. You don’t need to give up using internet and computer in order to keep your information secure. Whenever you don’t really trust a website, do not enter any information. Almost all information can be stolen by someone, even if it’s not related to finances.