The internet can be a big place and for the uninitiated or ignorant, it can be a dangerous one at that. We live in an age where we freely give away our personal and financial information to strangers on the internet.
Twenty years ago, the very prospect of sharing your credit card number would have been seen as fools. But nowadays, social media, online stores and payment portals have us handing over sensitive information without even a blink.
And it is because of this that scammers and con artists have taken to trawling the internet for easy marks and targets. Too many of us have been lulled into a false sense of security by this brave new world of online shopping and internet surfing.
In fact, the most common internet scams perpetrated are those associated with online shopping, where credit card and personal information is stolen for nefarious purposes. With all of that in mind, we’ve prepared a guide to help you stay safe on the internet.
1. Learn how to look out for phishing attacks
Phishing attacks are one of the most common and dangerous scams on the internet. According to a 2019 report published by Verizon, 32% of all cyber-attacks are related to phishing.
If you didn’t already know, phishing is a malicious attempt by scammers to disguise themselves as reputable companies to trick victims into handing over sensitive information. Through a combination of social engineering and deception, countless numbers of victims have fallen prey to this tactic,
Some of the most common include emails from banks or an email service provider informing you that a security breach was detected, and you now have to change your password or credit card information.
Falling victim to this scam often results in you accidentally revealing sensitive personal information that will then be misused. Further complicating matters is the fact that scammers have begun increasingly sophisticated over the years.
As can be seen from the image above, scammers have been able to closely mimic an official communication from Paypal, with the official PayPal logo and a well-written email. However, on close inspection, one huge red flag can be seen.
Firstly, you’ll notice that the email sent by this scumbag originates from “email@example.com” which most definitely is not an official PayPal email. An official communique from PayPal would instead be <name>@paypal.com instead of a generic public domain name.
These scammers often play on the sense of urgency that many feel upon receiving such an email with many being convinced by the official-looking email and name. Thus, the next time you receive a random email from a bank or any other company, take the time to read through the domain name to see if it’s legitimate or fake.
2. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
From emails sent by Nigerian princes looking to share their wealth with you to mysterious prizes for non-existent contests, scammers are notoriously fond of appealing to our sense of greed. You won’t win a ton of money all of a sudden, unless you win the lottery, or if you have a killing instinct and you guess the NBA expert predictions.
Hence if you’ve ever received an email that sounds too good to be true, chances are it’s most likely a scam. Although it seems obvious, there are still plenty of folks who fall prey to these scams.
Oftentimes, these scammers target the gullible or elderly by requiring that they deposit a sum of money in order to receive their reward.
If you’ve got any elderly parents or relatives, keep them apprised of such scams and remind them that the world is full of con artists looking to take advantage of them.
3. Avoid dodgy sites like the plague
The internet offers a treasure trove of information for anyone willing to look. Sometimes temptation may lead you to some questionable sites where spybots and viruses await.
There’s also no denying that porn sites make up a majority of these sites. So, if you’ve got a habit of watching pornography (which you obviously don’t), sometimes it’s better to get your research done first.
Always stick to well-known sites that have been proven to be safe. While we would never condone the viewing of pornography, we also do believe that it’s better to be safe than sorry.
In today’s world, it can be all too easy to fall prey to unscrupulous scam artists and thieves. Protect your hard-earned cash and privacy at all times and always stay up to date with Sguru.org.