How to protect yourself from common online scams

The internet has allowed fraud to proliferate. It’s an alternative route for criminals to attack consumers’ personal lives. But how can you protect yourself while online? Below, we explore the various types of scams and how you can keep yourself safe.

Phishing emails

Phishing emails account for many online scams and often act as a tool to initiate fraud. They take place when a criminal pretends to be an organisation or someone else and sends you an email attempt to extract confidential information.

Viral downloads

Viral downloads are usually hidden in a link to download something appetising like a card. Instead of receiving the card you hoped for, malware will be downloaded onto your computer.

Fake shopping websites

These scams will often offer you amazing deals that seem too good to be true – and usually they are. When you purchase your goods, you’ll part with your money with nothing coming in return.

Make money fast scams

Scammers will play on your emotions and offer promising schemes that claim to reward you in no time. They’ll then use this lure to extract personal data and bank details from you.

Job offer scams

In a similar vein to the above, scammers will offer lucrative jobs and use this to try and get your bank details.

How to prevent them from happening to you

Be aware of the above types of scams

For a start, being aware of the type of tricks scammers pull should protect you. If you understand never to trust something that looks too good to be true, then you should avoid most scams. But there are practical ways of avoiding scams too.

Never click on unknown links

One key rule is to never click on a link unless you’re certain that you know what it is. This way you can ensure you never accidentally download anything.

Never send out personal information

Another rule of thumb is to never give away personal information unless you’re certain it’s safe. Whether it’s your payment details or your address, you should only give your personal details to trusted and reliable organisations or people. When you do pay online, use a prepaid card to ensure that your main bank account is kept safe.

Strong passwords

Strong passwords are important too – you don’t want something simple to guess. Try using different cases, symbols and numbers alongside letters.

Avoiding scams on the internet can feel daunting. But by sticking to a set of clear rules and by being aware of the dangers, you should be set to protect yourself. Just ensure that you’re vigilant and be careful with your personal data while using strong passwords.

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David
David is a 28-year-old struggling artist who enjoys planking, upcycling and binge-watching boxed sets.