The Wolfs of The Internet are virtually universal, pun intended.
Internet scam artists prey on vulnerable netizens and their primary targets are older users, single people and individuals in need of a job. Their susceptible victims are tricked into sharing personal information and parting with their hard-earned money.
For example, Netflix users get phony e-mails informing them that their account has been suspended, commanding them to call a toll-free number to reclaim access. The bogus Netflix/Microsoft support team then tricks the worried callers, gaining criminal access to their computers, as Techlicious'sFox Van Allen enlightens.
To promote educated decision making, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has put together a list of 10 ways to avoid fraud.
Here are a few ways to protect yourself from these internet connivers.
Donate To Established Charities
Coldhearted con artists trick users into giving them money in the name of “charity” for people suffering from terminal diseases.
Always donate to established charities, only. Remain wary of online charities which seem to have come into being overnight.
For more donating tips, check out ftc.gov/charityfraud.
Don’t Be Fooled By Anti Aging, Weight Loss and Other Health Schemes
Con artists try to lure people in by offering miracle products which result in immediate weight loss, breast enlargement, anti ageing effects and ad infinitum. In addition to losing a lot of money, you are compromising your health.
Wiring Money Is Just Like Sending Cash
Con artists persist that people wire money, particularly overseas, as reversing the transaction or tracing the money is close to impossible.
There Is No Free Lunch
Internet offers via emails and pop-ups which guarantee “low-risk, high-return investment opportunities” reek of phony. Don’t let your guard down or give in to insisting antics.
When you receive offers which promise big profits, no financial risk, and immediate cash, report them at ftc.gov.
Don’t Send Money To A Stranger
Don’t communicate with an unfamiliar seller. Always try to limit your dealings to sites you know well and trust. If you purchase items through an online auction, try using a payment option that offers protection, like a credit card.
Google Is Thy Friend
If you uncover a great deal, but you haven’t previously dealt with the company, Google it. Take it a step further and type the company name along with terms like “bogus” “complaint,” or “scam.” See what comes up — on the first page of results as well as on the later pages.
Never Pay In Advance
Don’t agree to paying in advance via an online deal, no matter how promising investing seems. Be it a lottery, a loan or a job.
Don’t Respond to Messages asking for Personal or Financial Information.
Refrain from clicking on links requesting personal or financial information – no matter what is being promised.
This scam is called phishing. The thieves sending these messages are trying to deceive you into revealing sensitive information. If you receive such an email, call your bank and check your statement.
Don’t Play a Foreign Lottery
It’s illegal and will lose you money. What they don’t tell you is that inevitably, you have to pay “taxes,” “fees,” or “customs duties” to collect your prize.