Information About Online Scams and Phishing
Phishing is a type of online scam that tries to trick you into sending money or revealing personal information. These schemes usually take place through email or SMS. They are designed to rob you of your personal information, including your Social Security number, bank account details and credit card numbers.
If you are the victim of an online scam, you can help to protect yourself from future fraud by reporting the incident. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (ICCC) can help. You should also call your bank to report the issue and take necessary steps to prevent further losses.
To be on the safe side, you should also install the best antivirus software on your device. While you are at it, make sure your computer is set to offline mode when not in use. This will prevent the installation of malware, which may lead to theft of your financial and personal data.
As well as phishing, internet users should be on the lookout for social media scams. Scammers create fake accounts and send out posts that appear in your newsfeed. Often, these are links that host malware that can lead to identity theft and freezing of your system. Also, be careful when sharing your pet’s name and password with other internet users.
Other online scams can take the form of too good to be true deals. In these instances, you are offered a great deal, but the product you buy is fake. Alternatively, the scammer may try to convince you to send them money by claiming to be a legitimate business, or a government agency.
The best way to avoid falling victim to an online scam is to use the safest e-payment methods. These include PayPal, Google Wallet and other secure e-payment systems. Always check the privacy policies of a website before giving out any private information.
Phishing is a complex ploy. A phishing email typically looks like an official letter from your bank or a trusted colleague, and can even have a few spelling mistakes. Most often, these scams request you to send a password or provide your bank account number. However, you should not follow links in emails, as these can lead to the download of malware.
Similarly, a phishing email may ask you to install a “free upgrade” to a certain app. It is also common for spammers to search for computers without security software. Even worse, a malicious attachment may be sent to your email. Therefore, it is vital to run a scan, remove any suspicious files, and then update your antivirus software.
To be on the safe side, always use a reputable e-commerce site that has HTTPS certificates, and never click on a pre-checked box. You can also opt out of receiving email updates from websites.
In the case of a phishing email, a spoofed link can be a better alternative. For example, if a phishing message asks you to visit a fraudulent website, it will likely have a spoofed URL that redirects you to a reputable site.