How To Identify Internet and Email Scams
Learning to identify an internet scam is important in keeping your personal information from getting compromised. While technology has been advancing, so have scammers and their software, which sometimes makes it harder to identify what’s real and what’s not. Here are a few things you can learn to help you spot a scam and keep you and your information safe.
You’re Contacted Randomly
One of the most common ways that people are scammed is by being contacted out of the blue. You might have received emails saying you’ve won a trip somewhere, or you owe money to the IRS, or something similar. The idea behind these is to get you to either input your information into a database, which the scammer has access to, or to get you to pay money you don’t owe, which the scammer then steals from you. Don’t ever provide personal information or payments to someone you don’t recognize.
Misspellings and Bad Grammar
A tell-tale sign of a scam is terrible grammar and spelling in the message. If you’re seeing a lot of grammatical errors in an email, or on a site you may have visited by accident, there’s a great chance that these are scams.
A Sense of Urgency
Many times, scams will say you need to act quickly or will say you have until a certain time to rectify a debt or claim a prize. This is to prevent a person from being able to logically think things through and act quickly by giving their information out or paying the scammer money they don’t owe.
This is a recent and common scam where the scammer can take your name, profile photo, and any other information they can find on your Facebook profile and essentially create an account that mirrors your own. They will then friend anyone on your friends list to gather any more personal information about you.
If you think you or a friend is subject to this Facebook scam, make sure you report the profile and alert your friend so they can take action in protecting their information.
How Can You Stay Safe From Internet Scams?
Yes, scammers are lurking everywhere on the internet, so it’s important to take precautions to keep yourself safe. Make sure you are consistently updating your software, using protected internet, especially when in public, and investing in a good antivirus program to protect your computer and information within it. Also, make sure you’re not clicking any suspicious links in emails or on websites, and avoid giving out personal information, even if it looks legitimate. Being overly cautious is better than not in cases like these.
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