The number of link scams and phishing attempts online has increased in recent years making it more important than ever to avoid these types of frauds. The scams get more sophisticated and harder to detect every year. Avoiding these scams involves knowing what to look for and using common sense online. Many scams can be evaded by not providing personal data to strange sites. There are several simple ways to avoid common Internet scams.
Employment scams offer jobs to individuals online. The goal of these scams is normally to collect personal information for identity theft. The way to avoid these scams is to never give out personal information like Social Security numbers until hired or physically meeting with an employer. A real employer will not ask for bank account or other sensitive information before a person is hired and working. It is best to call the listed employer independently before taking suspicious job offers seriously.
Scams Involving False Links
Link scams attempt to direct people online to a false or malicious website. The links sometimes lead to websites that will install malware on a computer to capture personal data and keystrokes. Others link to illegitimate websites that attempt to harvest personal data. The way to avoid these types of scams is to never click on a link from an unknown or unreliable source. It is also important to never enter sensitive personal data into a random website or form online.
Spoofing and Phishing Scams
Phishing scams are very common today. This involves sending emails that look like they are from legitimate companies requesting personal data. The emails often include links that look legitimate. The easiest way to avoid these types of scams is to never open emails from unknown or suspicious senders or companies. Another way is to move the mouse over links and look at the bottom of the window to see where the link really goes before clicking. Most banks, ecommerce sites and other real businesses will never ask for personal data through emails.
Online Sweepstakes and Lotto Scams
Unsolicited emails about winning a free sweepstakes online or an international lottery are always scams. The scams attempt to get personal data and eventually money from recipients. These scams are easily avoided by immediately ignoring and deleting any emails stating someone has won a lottery or free sweepstakes online. These unsolicited emails are always fraudulent even if they link to a seemingly legitimate website.
Antivirus scams offer users a free system scan. Some of these scams duplicate official-looking system windows saying a problem was detected. Starting the scan actually installs malware on the computer. The malware then requests a large payment in order to remove the problem. The way to avoid these scams is to stay away from suspicious or untrustworthy websites. If an antivirus scam window does appear, then it is best to shut down the browser immediately instead of attempting to cancel or close the window. Credit card data should never be entered in this case since the scammer will likely use the card repeatedly.