Online fraud and identity theft pose huge problems. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to prevent online scams and fraud. For your benefit, here are five common signs of a scam that could help you avoid becoming a victim of one.
1. Practice Safe Internet Use
Keep your data safe by deleting spam emails asking for personal information, and keep your antivirus and anti-spyware software up to date. Also, never share credit card numbers, bank details and other personal information through email or social media. And be sure to use a virtual private network (VPN), particularly when browsing sites you're don't know or trust.
2. Shop Online with Caution
Beware of offers that seem too good to be true because they probably are – and remember there is no such thing as FREE!
Always use an online shopping service you know and trust. For example, check your browser for an image of a lock, or make sure you can spot an 'https' in the address bar, so you know the site is secure.
3. Create Strong Passwords
Create passwords that are hard to guess, and update them regularly. A strong password should include a mix of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols. Never use the same password for every account, and make sure you don't share your password with anyone – not even friends or family!
4. Review Social Media Privacy and Security Settings
Be careful with who you connect with on social media platforms, and learn how to use your privacy and security settings to remain safe. If you recognise suspicious behaviour, clicked on spam or have been scammed online, take steps to secure your account and report it. Scammers may also use your information and images to create a fake identity or target you with a scam, so keep aware of what you put on social media!
5. Do Not Open Suspicious Communications
Never open or click on messages, pop-up windows, links or attachments in emails if you find them suspicious! Delete them immediately. If you're unsure of the communication, you can verify the sender's identity through an independent source, like an online search or phone book.