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No Scams Allowed: Protect Yourself From Internet Fraud

Aug 24, 2020 - Koby Pearson

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New and improved technologies have entered our world. Hence, the spread of online scams has also increased. Fraudsters can trick you in dozens of ways, from sending you malicious software to asking to donate in non-existing charity. Don’t want to get scammed? Check out our Dos and Don’ts on how to protect yourself from Internet fraud.

Don’t Share Your Financial Information

Phishing is a scam operation aiming to receive your bank details via creating a fake website that looks exactly like an original one. The scheme is a piece of cake: users get messages asking to fill in the bank details for some reason. They don’t notice that the website is faux and give all their data to the fraudsters, who live happily ever after, with the stolen money.

Do Create Tough-to-Crack Passwords

These days, passwords like “Susan1985” or “Passw0rd” are a relic of the past, and hackers crack them in a few minutes. Create more complicated passwords at least eight characters long, including numbers, capital letters, and special characters. They recommend creating different passwords for all the websites you use.

Don’t Reveal You Social Security Number

If you receive a message asking to give your social security number, don’t trust it. Legitimate businesses might need this information, but they will never ask you to send it by email.

Do Keep Your Antivirus Up-to-Date

Computers nowadays can tell everything about their owner: names, passwords, bank account numbers. Be sure to have a secure and up-to-date antivirus to protect yourself from the information leak.

Don’t Download Suspicious Software

As fast as antiviruses improve, malicious software is developing, too. Sometimes viruses are so deeply hidden that your antivirus doesn’t see them, especially in emails. Be careful and don’t open installation files in your mail, unless they are from a trustworthy and legitimate source.

Don’t Shop on Untrustworthy Websites

Shopping online has made our lives much more comfortable: there is no need to stand in line or look for your size. On the Internet, you can choose all the characteristics of the item you need, from color to price, and receive it in a few days. However, check the URL carefully and ensure you’re on the UNIQLO site, not UNQLO ;)

Do Review Research

Reviews have a significant impact on customers. Still, keep in mind that sometimes fraudsters either pay for positive feedback or write reviews by themselves. Don’t trust the first-seen testimonials, go through different platforms to make sure the business is trustworthy.

Don’t Donate to Untrusted Charities

Sad but true: some fraudsters play on our feelings and create fake charities. Charity goals may differ – building a shelter for homeless animals, gathering money for a sick child, and more. A 5-minute Google research will save you from giving money to the scammers, so do it before making any donations.

Financial scams are lurking around every corner – online and offline. Nonetheless, it’s not that difficult to protect yourself from them: say “yes” to a reliable antivirus and preliminary research, and “no” to suspicious websites and giving your bank details each person asking you.

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How Do I Protect Myself From Online Fraud?

Fraud on the Internet has been around for about as long as the world wide web itself. From year to year, fraudsters develop new tricks and techniques to deceive their potential victims. To avoid getting into online traps, be sure to follow some basic rules:

  • Check your social media privacy settings and never share information with people you don’t know.
  • Create strong and different passwords for each website you use. Experts say you should change all your passwords once in a few months.
  • Always be cautious when using public Wi-Fi. You can use it for general browsing, but never use it for shopping or banking.
  • Do not open suspicious texts, pop-up windows, links, or attachments in emails.
  • Never send money or give credit card details, online account details, or copies of personal documents to people you don’t know or trust.
  • Be wary of unusual payment requests. Scammers will often ask you to use an atypical payment method, including gift cards or virtual currency, such as Bitcoin.

What to Do If I Have Become a Victim of Online Fraud?

Sometimes people choose not to report fraud because they are embarrassed that they fell for a scam. Remember that fraud is a crime, and fraudsters will continuously find new ways of tricking people. Anyone can become a victim, so you need to do your best to prevent this.

The first thing you should do if you become a fraud victim is to contact the police. Come to the local police station or call an emergency number to get advice. Contact your bank first if credit cards, online banking, or cheques are involved.

If your funds were transferred via an electronic payment system (PayPal, WebPay, etc.), it makes sense to contact the support service. The support service can block a scammer's account, preventing potential theft.

Can I Get My Money Back?

If fraudsters have stolen your card details, you need to call your bank's support service and block your card. After that, go to the bank and submit an application to cancel the transfer. Reviewing your application can take up to 30 days. Remember to bring evidence that you were deceived and take it both to the bank and the police.

According to the statistics, only 23 percent reported money out of the 1.7 million cases was lost, meaning you have a chance to return your funds.

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