Sunday, February 5, 2017

Spotting Online Scams

Since the computer age started, people always try to come up with the next “big thing”. This can be a software upgrade, new applications, the next big social media site and of course scams. Not everyone online is dedicated to good, as the amount of computer users grow, so do the scammers wanting to prey on them. .

There are people who can easily identify online scams, but those who are still learning have the tendency to fall for them. In general, people new to the internet are more bound to fall for these, but everyday, even savvy people bite on these scams.

If you wish to avoid these traps, here are some simple tips that can help you:

1. Beware of Unknown/Weird Email: Unless you gave your email address to someone whom you recently met, there is no reason for you to read an email from a person whom you don’t know. Scammers usually send emails to every e-mail address they can scrape from the web.

Many times you will see that emails have a random link in them - avoid those. Even if you get an email from a friends account, but the writing doesn’t seem quite right or there is a weird looking link - contact your friend and ask them if they sent it. Email scammers these days,hack people’s email accounts and then send emails to their address book. This makes the scam look more believable.

2. Do Not Go to Shady Websites: If you accidentally opened an unknown site and you notice a pop-up warning, close it or leave the site immediately. Also if you try to go to a site and Google, or your browser warns you that the site might be infecting people - avoid it as well.
If you ever end up on a shady looking website - don’t click any links and download anything. Close your browser window or navigate to another

Porn sites can be very dangerous as well. Not only can you get all sorts of viruses (no pun) or malware, you can also get embarrassed when your friend comes over to fix your computer, and he sees the issue is malware from a porn site.

3. Beware Downloads: We all love downloading stuff, but you have to be careful. This guide does not support or condone illegal downloading of
copyrighting material, but we know people do it. If you are one of these people - you better be careful because if your computer is acting up - your downloading is almost assuredly why.

Anything like frostwire or limewire is a breeding ground for bad files, viruses and spyware. Torrents aren’t much better these days. Websites like filestube are full of fake downloads waiting to feast on your computer as well. Even “file locker” sites like Zshare have been known to spread serious viruses.

You know those really weird looking sites that come up when you do a Google search for free software/movies or TV? Full of links that don’t work, files that won’t download and surveys to fill out before you download? All scams. You will get infected.

4. Too Good to be True?: You know the old adage, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Keep that in mind when navigating the web. If you see a pop up saying you won a free ipad for doing nothing, or you are the millionth visitor to a website - click here...avoid the allure. 99.99% of the time these are hoaxes.

The same is true with emails. If someone out of the blue emails you to tell you he is a Nigerian prince - guess what he isn’t! If someone needs you so send them money so they can release a larger sum of money for you - it is a trap.

5. Be Careful With Your Money: Don’t toss your money around! be careful with it. Never ever send anyone money on the internet, who promises to
send you more back. That is an old scam. Don’t sign up for any free offers that require a credit card either. Why would they need your credit card if it is a free offer?

If you are paying for something online, use a reliable service like Paypal - something with built in security for buyers. Never ever wire money - that is one of the biggest signs of a scam there is - if someone insists on you wiring a payment - beware!

Spotting online scams may sometimes be challenging to those who are new to using the internet. However, once you are a little more computer savvy it will be a piece of cake. When going online, always practice safety and security for you never know when you will become the next target.

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