The con artists are out there! Of course, they were always there in the past, too, but now they have a whole new cyberspace world to hustle.
Don’t be a victim!
The online world brings to us so much valuable information, but equally, it seems, lots of garbage as well. I want to help you by sharing with you 12 tips to avoid scams on the internet.
The Importance of Staying Safe
It’s not just people from our generation that are targets; everyone is a potential ‘mark’ for these fraudsters.
There are thousands of new scams coming up every year and it is impossible to tell you about every single one, but if you can remember the 12 tips below, you will be in a better position to protect yourself, your family and your assets.
- Never wire money to a stranger – You are probably familiar with the ‘Nigerian Prince’ scam whereby they ask you for your bank account details to help them transfer money out of Nigeria, promising you hundreds of thousands if not millions. There is also the hoax of an obscure family member in an emergency somewhere and that they need financial help from you immediately. Avoid!
- Never give out your Social Security number – If you are on a website that asks for this, or you receive an email asking for your SS number, red flags should go up. It will more than likely be a scam.
- Do not give out your personal information – If someone contacts you in an unsolicited way, whether it is by email, social media, phone or front door, never give out personal data on yourself such as banking or credit card information, birth date, etc.
- Be very cautious about what you share on social media – It can be easy to become relaxed on the various social media platforms because we typically have ‘friends’ there. Just remember, everything that you write is seen by everyone and could also be shared, inadvertently, to dubious characters. Please be especially mindful of telling people when you will be gone from your home for a trip. This is an open invitation to opportunistic thieves.
- Do not believe everything you see is true – Experienced grifters can be very good nowadays at faking official seals and fonts. Just because something looks official, it does not mean that it is. Even that caller ID can be a fake.
- Do not open attachments or click on links on unsolicited emails – Be cautious, even with an email that looks familiar because when you click on a link, a virus could be introduced into your computer and/or your identity could be stolen.
- Don’t download software that comes up in those ‘Pop-Up’ windows – have you ever noticed that sometimes, when you are surfing the internet, a pop-up window appears telling you that your computer is unsafe and asking you to click on the pop-up to start a ‘system scan’ of your software. Don’t click it! That evil ‘malware’ could be introduced into your computer and damage it.
- Install Spyware and Antivirus Protection – and if you can’t do it yourself, find a young family member or trusted friend who can because this will help protect all your sensitive information. Also, be sure to click on the ‘auto-update’ feature to make sure it stays current.
- Don’t shop on unfamiliar websites/online merchants – Only shop on websites that have well-known names. If you want to buy something from a website that is new to you, do your due diligence and check it out beforehand. Maybe someone else you know has used that company successfully? You can easily search online now for consumer websites or check with the Better Business Bureau.
- Never be pressured to “act immediately”- When someone is trying to bamboozle you into something, they often use the tactic of telling you that ‘this offer ends soon’ or ‘spaces are limited’ which is called the ‘false scarcity’ tactic. Typically, they will want you to give them information about yourself or send them money before you have had a chance to really think it over. Even if it is a legitimate business, you don’t need to ‘act now or lose out’. Nothing is that urgent!
- Only donate to charities that you know – If you are contacted by a charity by email (or over the phone), don’t just pull out your credit card and hand over the money. It may be a hoax. You can check for legitimate charities by going to the IRS Website.
- Be very cautious when dealing with anyone you have met online – social media, Craigslist and dating sites are great places for scammers to meet you and try to gain your trust by pretending to be attracted to you. Sometimes it happens that older people, like us, who may now be alone, are vulnerable. Don’t be conned!
Where Do You Report a Scam?
If you think someone has attempted to scam you and you would like to report it, you can go to this website, which is the FTC, or Federal Trade Commission.
Remember, if you report it, you are helping others as well as yourself.
Be Mindful, Not Paranoid
It is important not to be paranoid of course, but equally important to be vigilant at all times when dealing with the internet. If you would like even more information on how to avoid scams, you may want to check out this WikiHow website.
I hope you found some of these tips useful. I follow them myself and I regularly read up on the latest scams, but, of course, there are new ones coming out all the time. Just follow these tips and you will minimize your risk of getting ripped-off by these modern day con artists.
A big red flag for me, when I am researching a product or a company, is if I don’t see a photo of the owner/developer of that company on their website. Call me old-fashioned, but it kind of goes back to when we were kids and our moms took us to the local shops. The merchant there would greet us with a welcoming smile, maybe shake hands, and step back politely and let my mom look around the store for whatever she needed. We weren’t harassed or pressured, but the merchant would be there to answer questions and help if needed.
That is how trust is created in business.
Have you experienced any kind of online scams yourself? Do you have any other tips you could add to this list? I would love to hear about it if you are willing to share it in the comments section below. You might be helping someone avoid that same scam in the future.
What We Do
Philip and I are very transparent about what we do to generate income in our retirement. That is why you see that we are not afraid to put our images on our website and share our life experiences with you and what led us to work online.
We are affiliate marketers and we are members of an authentic platform that has been around for 14 years. With this program, we learned how to create this website you are on now, how to write the articles and reviews within it, and how to monetize the website by offering genuine information on helpful ways to make money online and how to avoid the products that are only out there to take your cash with little, or nothing, to offer in return.
Yes, we help you avoid scams!
The program is FREE to come in and look around.
Affiliate marketing takes work. It is not an overnight, get-rich-quick scheme and it is legit.
No hassle. No scam. ‘Nuff said!
Thank you for taking the time to read me,