At the end of last year, I wrote about how this year was going to be the biggest year ever for online commerce, and that opportunities abound for smart business owners going online.
Unfortunately, that also means that this year will be . . .
the Biggest Year Ever for
Online Scams and Rip-offs !
So here are a few Simple Steps to Stay Safe Online!
The first one stands the test of time . . .
1. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is
Amazing, but people still fall for the craziest schemes and scams online.
Desperate to change their circumstances, people clutch at straws when those amazing offers arrive.
If it sounds too good to be true, then really, it probably is and you should run a mile.
2. Beware of Social Media
People who might try to steal our identity for fraudulent purposes, or run other scams.
To be really safe,
- Only “friend” people who you know
- Use the privacy settings on your accounts
Treat your Social Media security the same as you would your bank PIN code.
3. Never click a link in an email when you do not know the sender
It’s just not worth the risk of downloading a virus or getting your computer system and identity hacked.
Don’t even manually type the link into your browser.
If you think that you have to go to the website of the purported sender, then do so manually and intentionally. Make sure you go to the legitimate website for that company or organisation.
4. Do not respond to email scams
How do you tell if it is a scam?
Your bank, paypal, etc, will never send you an email asking you to verify your account details.
If you are unsure about an email, then:
- find the legitimate website of the alleged sender
- find a contact email address
- forward the email to them and ask if it is legitimate
Better still, call them on the telephone.
The safest thing to do is to simply ignore the email altogether.
5. Check the Sender and email address
When you receive an email, it is easy to confirm that it is of dubious origin.
- Do you know the name of the sender?
- Do you recognise the email address?
- Is the email address what you would expect?
e.g. I regularly get dodgy emails supposedly from Paypal asking me to verify my account.
But the email address is never the paypal domain, which is www.paypal.com or www.paypal.com.au
Here are some examples of dodgy sender email addresses:
. . . and even this one
They look genuine but are as dodgy as ever!
6. Beware of Social Media – part 2
The latest Social Media scam starts when someone hacks into your Facebook account and then sends a message to your friends saying that you are stuck somewhere and desperately need them to wire money to you, maybe even to save your life.
If you are travelling at the time, this may be hard for your friends to confirm, and they may just wire the money thinking you are in trouble and need it.
But of course, someone else collects the wired funds.
More reasons to protect ALL of your online accounts, including your Social Media.
Most online problems can be avoided with simple, common sense precautions.
Keep safe online!