Avoid Falling Victim to Online Fraud
The Internet has made everything more accessible – we can shop, bank, and do business all from the comfort of our homes. But the occurrence of online scams and fraudulent activity is increasing every day. How do you prevent yourself from falling victim to online fraud? Here are a few simple tips to help protect yourself in the Worldwide Web.
Shop in Safe Online Neighborhoods
If online shopping is your thing, make sure you do so from reputable companies. Use their apps that come with built-in security to safe guard your payment information. Always check URL lines to confirm secure websites. Avoid sites with multiple pop-up windows, numerous advertisements, or poor web design as these are often indicative of illegitimate retailers.
Someone once said, “you only see what you look for and you only recognize what you know.” Educate yourself with Anti-Fraud News on common scams and traps. You can also read “Arm Yourself Against Online Fraud: How to Recognize a Scam” and learn to actively avoid dodgy websites.
Phishing in the E-Sea
Phishing is more than just a funny homophone; it is bait meant to introduce malware or to gain information. The email or instant message may appear to be from an already established, possibly familiar, company. It will ask you to click on a hyperlink, or open an attachment and lead you to a page that asks you to enter personal information such as pins and passwords, or your social security number. Legitimate companies would not ask for this kind of information over the Internet. Do not open the email if you do not recognize the sender or the email address. Avoid hyperlinks or attachments that do not correspond with the usual format of that company’s mail. Never enter your personal information into links from an email.
Caps, Numbers and Signs
Many online shopping sites ask for passwords at checkout. Change up your password across different shopping sites and ensure that they are long with symbol variations to reduce your risk for password break-ins as they are difficult to guess. Try to rotate or change your email passwords at least twice a year to avoid scams; change them all if you have fallen victim to fraud. Although this may also mean that you have difficulty remembering your password, there are apps and programs, like password managers, to help you keep track of your changes in a secure way.
Credit Card Cancelling
In addition to extra fraud protection in terms of pins and security codes, credit card users who do fall victim to fraud, may be able to get their money back. This is why you should keep the contact details of your bank and credit card company on hand. Should your wallet get stolen or should you recognize a scam, you can cancel your card to stop any fraudulent transactions.
Review Your Statements
Checking your credit card and bank statements at the end of each month can help you catch any errors and any suspicious activity. If any of the transactions seem incorrect, inform your bank or card company immediately. If possible, you may also want to check your credit report as this may show fraudulent activity not recorded on bank statements, such as loans or additional credit cards.
If you recognize some suspicious behavior or suspect that you have been a victim of fraud, report it to your bank, credit card company, and the company involved in cases of phishing. This will ensure that others will not fall victim to the fraud, and it will lessen the blow of your own victimhood.
There are more scams being created every day and we must do our best to educate ourselves on fraud and malicious trends to protect ourselves against them. Everyone should be as vigilant online as they are in their everyday life.