Internet scams are nothing new, for centuries scam artists and fraudsters have been trying to take advantage of gullible people. They may have gotten a few of us here and there, but the number of possible victims was always confined to their physical area of influence. But, now with the advent of the internet, that number has been exponentially increasing. It went from maybe a few hundreds to a few billion potential victims. This means that scammers have less to lose and can invest very little effort while being able to contact millions of victims. Here is how you can make sure that you aren’t one of the suckers who fall for it.
Protect Your Identity
Nowadays, your identity is currency to be traded on the black markets of the internet. Scammers need to make you believe them, therefore they need some way for them to relate to you. Often this is done by pretending to be a company or person that you trust, and therefore they can use that trust to steal from you. They might even be able to convince you to give it to them freely.
By protecting your identity, you prevent the scammers from gaining that knowledge. This means that you are less likely to be targeted specifically. So, the number one priority is, only give out data when absolutely necessary. Social media is your enemy here, because everything you post on social media can be used to target you. Make sure to keep your social media profiles as private as possible, only link to people you know and trust. And even if it may seem like it’s your friend from school, it is always good to do some background checking before accepting them.
Protect Your Data
Your data is your life. Nowadays everything from bank account details to hospital records are stored online and therefore a diligent and patient scammer has access to them. This means that you need to make sure that, that scammer knows you aren’t worth their time. Here encryption is your friend. Any personal info should be encrypted by you, because way too often companies store your information in plain text and then “somehow” they get hacked. Encrypted data is much safer in any circumstance and it’s up to you to ensure that your data is taken care of.
Protect Your Money
Online banking is one of the great conveniences of the 21st century, and this applies for scammers too. Imagine being able to access your bank from anywhere around the globe. Now imagine being able to access ANYONE’S bank account from anywhere in the world. With poor internet habits, you could make that dream come true for a scammer.
To prevent this from happening, you should be extra careful when using online banking. Always type the website in yourself, never use links from emails or other websites. This will prevent you from using a phony site which will steal your login details. Don’t use open Wi-Fi networks for personal banking, they may seem convenient, but they are incredibly easy to fake and they can choose what you see. Don’t save your passwords in your browser or any online notepad or tool. If that gets hacked, all your accounts will be vulnerable.
In general, being careful and cautious will prevent 99.9% of the scammers out there. Make sure you take the right precautions before any online activity, and tailor your precautions to what you plan on doing or sharing.