How to protect yourself from online scams

Scammers are getting progressively innovative in their efforts to get your money or private information. Be watchful and protect yourself from online scams by using our pointers.

Ways to protect yourself from online scams

Be alert to the fact that scams happen. When dealing with unknown contacts from people or companies, always take into consideration the likelihood that the approach may be a scam. Regardless of the communication being over the phone, by post, email, in person or on a social networking site. Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it most likely is.

Understand who you’re talking to. If you’ve just ever met a person online or are unsure of the legitimacy of service, take some time to do a more investigation. Carry out a Google image search on photos or search the web for others who may have ventured with them. If a message or email comes from an acquaintance and it seems unusual or out of character for them, get in touch with your friend immediately to check if it was really them that sent it.

Do not open questionable content such as texts, pop-up windows or click on links or attachments in emails– delete them: If uncertain, confirm the identity of the contact through an independent source such as a phone book or online research. Don’t utilize the contact details supplied in the message sent to you.

Don’t react to phone calls where your computer system asks for remote access— hang up. Even if they speak of a well-known business such as Telstra. Fraudsters will commonly ask you to switch on your pc to repair a problem or install a free upgrade. By doing so, they add a virus which will present them your security passwords and personal information.

Keep your personal information secure. Put a lock on your email and shred your bills and other valuable files before throwing them out. Keep your security passwords and PINs in a secure place. Be very mindful about how much personal data you share on social media. Scammers can use your info and pictures to create a fake identity or to target you with a scam.

Always keep your mobile devices and computer systems secure. Always make use of password protection. Never share access with others (including remotely). Update security programs and back up your material.
Protect your WiFi network with a password and prevent using public computers or WiFi hotspots to gain access to online banking or supply personal data.

Select your passwords thoroughly. Opt for passwords that would be challenging for other people to guess and update them regularly. A powerful password should include a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Don’t use the identical password for every account/profile, and don’t share your passwords with anyone.

Review your privacy and security setups on social media. If you use social media, such as Facebook, be cautious who you connect with. Learn how to apply privacy and security settings to ensure you stay safe. If you notice suspicious behaviour, clicked on spam or have been scammed online, take action to secure your account and report the cybercrime.

Beware of any inquiries for your details or money. Never send money or provide online account details, credit card details or copies of personal documents to someone you don’t know or trust. Don’t consent to transfer money or goods for someone else: money laundering is a criminal offence.

Be wary of unusual payment requests. Fraudsters will often ask you to use an unusual payment method. Think of preloaded debit cards, gift cards, iTunes cards or virtual currency such as Bitcoin.

Be cautious when shopping on the internet. Online shopping scams are very common. Stay clear of offers that seem too good to be true. Always work with an online shopping service that you know and trust. Think again before making use of virtual currencies (like Bitcoin). They do not have the same safeguards as other transaction solutions, which means you can’t get your money back once you send it.

How to spot a scam artist

Signs of a fake document

Documents are easily faked. Some may look just like the real thing. However, many might have warning signs, such as:

  • Generic rather than a personal greeting.
  • Names of companies that don’t exist.
  • Poorer quality appearance.
  • Mediocre quality grammar and spelling.
  • Extremely formal or pressured language.

Files like flight itineraries and bank statements have basic, hassle-free layouts even when they are valid. These layouts are simple because such services allow their customers to print online reports. For scammers, it’s easy to create fake documents by using data available online such as company logos and graphics from websites.

Signs of a phony email

Scammers can easily fake an official-looking email, working with the same logo and layout as the real company.

Often your guard is down when you obtain an email from a company you’ve worked with before, such as an online shopping site you use. If you’re not anticipating an email, always be watchful to a fake before clicking on any links or opening any attachments.

Signs of a fake dating profile

Romance scams are one of the most commons scams. When looking at a new dating profile, watch for anything abnormal about their choice of:

  • Profile photo – Scammers often use fake photos they’ve found online.
  • Location.
  • Interests.
  • Language skills matched to their background.

Tip: Do an image search of the person to help figure out if they are who they say they are. You can use reverse image search services on Google.