In today’s digital age, it seems like you can do anything and everything with the internet – shopping, house monitoring, etc. But as the internet continues to improve, the prevalence of internet fraud also increases. Internet fraud is when digital thieves use internet services or software to defraud people or do other cyber-crimes.
If you want to stay safe online, use these helpful tips.
1. Avoid sketchy websites.
When doing your online shopping, stick to big-name retailers or smaller sites with good reviews. Don’t buy or place bids on websites with poor design or multiple pop-up windows, most likely, it’s an illegitimate retailer. These sites also lack protections such as anti-virus software so avoid entering your payment info.
2. Always check the payment options.
Online thieves will insist that customers send personal check or make wire transfers for payment because it’s difficult to reverse the transaction or trace the money. Only pay with familiar payment systems such as credit card or PayPal to make sure that you are protected by your card company in cases of dispute or scam.
3. Don’t reply to messages asking for your personal or financial info.
Phishing is when online scammers impersonate a business to trick into giving your personal and financial info. When you receive these kinds of messages, don’t reply or click links. Instead, call the number of your bank or the business you are dealing with and confirm with them. Also check your bank and credit accounts for unauthorized charges.
4. Don’t click on links.
Some links online will lead to a virus that will get your personal info so avoid randomly clicking on unknown links you receive from email or social media accounts. Also, make sure to have the latest anti-virus software installed in your computer or device.
5. Never give your Social Security number.
Legitimate businesses almost never make a request for customers to give their Social Security numbers, keep that in mind.
6. Keep your social media info private.
Fraudsters prey on people over social media so it’s better to keep your info privately to just your friends (check your privacy settings). Also make sure to only have people you really know on your “friends list”. Don’t accept requests from people you don’t know.