Internet fraud can cost you both money and damage your credit rating, so take these steps to safeguard your finances and prevent being victimized by the Internet.
Fraudsters use emails, faxes, letters, phone calls and social media to solicit personal data from you and often masquerade as official-looking messages to attempt to gain your trust in order to steal either money or identity from you. While being alert and cautious online is crucial, there are certain precautions that everyone should take to safeguard oneself from online fraud. First, make sure that your passwords are strong and unique. Avoid using the same password on several different websites, and change it frequently. Likewise, where it’s possible, setup two-factor authentication for your accounts. Additionally, be cautious when opening emails from unfamiliar senders, avoid clicking on unknown links, and be suspicious of any communication that demands personal information or makes threats of taking urgent action. Lastly, familiarize yourself with federal and provincial regulations and contact your local law enforcement if you feel you have been charged with internet fraud.
Beware Of Unsolicited Emails
Email can be an efficient means of communication, but criminals use it as a platform for spreading malware that infiltrates computers and steals personal information. If an unsolicited email from your bank, credit card company, or another reputable organization appears suspicious, don’t click any links or attachments; rather, visit its Website directly by typing its URL or bookmarking it instead.
Criminals use emails to create an atmosphere of urgency, such as by asserting you have limited time to respond or warning of dire repercussions if something doesn’t change immediately. These social engineering attacks, commonly referred to as social engineering attacks, may also lead to phishing scams which seek your financial information or passwords.
If you receive an unsolicited message from a company, review its privacy policies and opt out from mailing lists immediately. If still worried, call them directly and verify if the email was indeed sent by them. When searching online to unsubscribe from unwanted emails be sure to use a reliable search engine such as “[your email provider] + how to unsubscribe” This helps avoid malicious links that can download software onto your computer or take you to fraudulent websites.
Don’t Click On Links Or Attachments
Internet conveniences and information abound, yet it can also be an avenue for fraudsters to take advantage of consumers and steal from them. Cybercriminals use stock price manipulation, pyramid schemes and fraudulent business opportunities, along with phishing to deceive.
Never click links found in email messages and never open them, as clicking them could download malware onto your computer, steal personal data or direct you to a fraudulent website resembling one from a bank or credit union. Only visit legitimate websites using bookmarks saved on browser or typing directly the website address into a web browser address bar.
Security software, web filters, and passwords should also be installed and updated regularly on all computers in the home. Keep in mind that using the same password across multiple accounts leaves all of them susceptible if one account becomes compromised; make sure each password is unique for every account and take steps such as using two-factor authentication whenever possible.
Don’t Send Money
Scammers take advantage of online shopping’s anonymity to steal both money and personal data from you, including selling cheap products that ship faulty versions; or taking credit card numbers and using them fraudulently to make fraudulent purchases.
Other online scams involve the theft of sensitive information about you – such as your first pet, school and date of birth. Social media quizzes may even be used to obtain this data that could later be used to answer security questions that protect online banking accounts.
Cybercriminals often promote unauthorized software services and carry out tech support scams by impersonating legitimate companies. When they claim that your computer has an issue and offer to fix it for a fee, be wary. When shopping online it is best to only use credit cards to ensure money and identity remain safe – in addition, always store receipts securely as proof in case fraud occurs.
Don’t Buy Items Through An Online Auction
Online auction websites like eBay, ubid and weBidz provide buyers with an opportunity to find bargain items at competitive prices – but they can also serve as platforms for fraudulent activity. Internet auction fraud accounts for three-quarters of all complaints lodged with the FBI’s Internet division; most often this fraud takes the form of late deliveries that don’t match buyer expectations or were never delivered at all.
As another scam, thieves frequently send “payment” through wire transfer companies to those who lose auction bids, promising they’ll use the funds for shipping but never actually delivering anything. Once in place, these thieves use new forms of online piracy known as phishing to gain personal data theft from victims and steal their identities through identity theft schemes such as identity fraud in Canada.
Before bidding on any product, get to know more about its seller by reviewing their feedback – but be wary – it can be easy for someone to falsify reviews by getting friends and acquaintances to write positive ones for them. Also read through and understand any terms of service for the site you plan to bid on so as to be aware of any rules in place regarding buying and selling items.
Don’t Provide Personal Information
Internet-connected technologies offer great potential benefits to both businesses and individuals; however, they also pose a danger when used improperly. Scammers use fraudsters’ fraudulent activities online to steal your personal information and use it either to make illegal purchases or impersonate you – for instance by providing details like your first pet name or date of birth to answer security questions on bank accounts online.
As well as creating fake websites, hackers are also adept at creating false email and caller ID addresses that resemble those belonging to real businesses – this form of Internet piracy is known as “pharming.”
Honest organizations will never ask you for sensitive personal data such as your Social Security number, bank account information or passwords over the phone or online. To check if a company is genuine, visit its website or look them up in your telephone directory directory. Be wary if someone contacts you directly asking for this type of personal data over the phone or through unsolicited emails and texts messages requesting this kind of information from you.