With the increase in online businesses, scammers have moved their strategies offline to online. You might have received a phone call from an unknown person purporting to work for a certain organization and wants you to send them some money. On the same note, you might have received an email or message telling you that you’ve won a cash prize in a competition you even didn’t participate in. Additionally, it could be an invitation to a business deal that seems so lucrative, and upon scrutiny, it sounds too good to be true.
If you’ve never been scammed, it doesn’t mean it can’t happen to you because anyone can be vulnerable to financial fraud. That said, all you need to do is to exercise vigilance whenever you’re purchasing something online or accepting any deal from online strangers.
This article gives you six smart ways that can help you avoid being scammed online. These are:
1. Don’t Share Your Personal Information
By all means, avoid sharing your private information such as phone number, social security number, card details, account information, e-mail address, or your location to a stranger online. Some online platforms protect their users by using masked e-mail addresses. Others can facilitate direct messaging to a buyer or seller within the app without the need for providing personal information.
When you’re working on these platforms, you can suspect ill motives whenever someone asks for your financial data instead of following the payment methods outlined in the platform. Many freelancing websites use escrow to facilitate business between a freelancer and the client. The client is supposed to deposit their money on escrow while the client is paid after finishing their project. In this way, it’s impossible to be scammed.
2. Review Your Security And Privacy Settings On Social Media
If you have accounts on social media, be on the lookout for the kind of people you send friend requests to or accept friend requests from. Moreover, be aware of how to use the privacy and security settings for the sake of your security. In case you notice any suspicious behavior like spamming messages, exercise vigilance by reporting the issue.
3. Secure Your Internet
Secure your Wi-Fi with a password. Moreover, avoid using your accounts like emails on public computers. When you’re accessing your bank’s online services, avoid using public internet that isn’t secured as your information can easily be intercepted.
For your organization’s security, establish a virtual private network (VPN) with an extra layer of security such as a firewall. A firewall keeps every unauthorized traffic away from your internal network. Only individuals with log-in details can pass through that security level. Implementing this ensures your employees’ information and business financial data remain safe.
4. Use Strong Passwords
Hackers and scammers can easily guess passwords containing simple English names. Thus, avoid using your name as your password. Hacking mechanisms such as brute force can compromise such a weak security measure. For a strong password, use a combination of both lower- and upper-case letters, symbols, special characters, and numbers. Avoid repeating the same password on all your accounts and keep your passwords a secret.
Moreover, ensure that your password isn’t less than eight characters. If you’re afraid of forgetting your passwords for the several accounts you might have, you can use a password management tool.
5. Don’t Respond To Suspicious Phone Requests
In case you receive a phone call from someone claiming to work for your financial institution, don’t reveal your data. Always be aware of the official number that your bank or any other financial institution may use to call their clients. Moreover, you can check whether there was interference with your finances.
In case you’re lured to give your card details, swiftly call your bank to tell them to close your account as any transaction might not be from you. Tell them to deactivate your ATM card so it’s not used to withdraw money once the account has been activated.
6. Meet In A Public Place
In case you’re conducting an online business and you have to go and get your item from the seller, arrange your meeting in a public space with many people. Don’t go alone, but be accompanied by a friend. Moreover, meet during the day to ensure that your security isn’t at risk.
Always be aware that scamming is real and has made many people lose their life fortunes. Vigilance is important when dealing with online strangers. On the other hand, in case someone contacts you with unfamiliar deals, talk to someone who might help you think through the issue. Some of your friends or family members might be aware of the common tactics that online scammers use.
Because online scammers are always creative in their strategies, listen to any premonition that tells you something isn’t okay. This article is an eye-opener on how you should be careful online to avoid being scammed.