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Internet Safety: How to Avoid Being Scammed Online

Internet Safety: How to Avoid Being Scammed Online

13 out of every 10,000 online shoppers in the UK reported being a victim of fraud, according to Action Fraud, a national reporting service. For Londoners, the rate was 17 out of 10,000. It was also estimated that only 10% of people who are frauded ever report it.

Read on to find out how to avoid being scammed online.

How to Avoid Being Scammed Online

Unfortunately for us all, scammers are out there looking for ways to cheat us out of our hard-earned money. Our only defence is to stay alert and get informed on what is known about their current tactics.  

By knowing what to look out for, we can lessen their chance of success.

The information below will give you some great pointers on what to look for.

Don't Give Out Personal Info

If you receive an email, Facebook message, or any other kind of unsolicited request from someone you don't know, don't give them any personal information. This includes people you do know if the request is unexpected.

Scammers know how to make emails and social media account messages look like they are coming from someone you know and trust. 

If you receive a request that appears to be coming from your bank or another company that is advising you that there is a problem with your account, don't respond to their email directly or click on any links provided in the message.

This could be an online scam to get your account log in information, access to your banking or credit card information, or other personal information.

If you want to respond to their message to confirm there is not a problem, reach out to them through a different means, such as calling them on the phone. Or open your computer browser and log into your account yourself, without using any links provided in their original message.

If the email was supposedly from your credit card company, call the number listed on the bank of your credit card. Not only will this confirm if you were a victim of a possible credit card scam but it will provide your credit card company with notice of it.

Watch Out for Free Trials

Sure, many legitimate companies can and do give out free trials to people in order to get them to try their product or service. But they generally do not need your credit card information to do it. 

If someone asks you for information so they can bill you later, pay close attention to the details you are agreeing to so you can protect yourself from possible shopping scams. 

For instance, if a company wants to let you try out a computer app or program for free for 30 days to see if you like it, what happens after the 30 days pass? Do you have to cancel a subscription? If so, set a reminder on your phone to alert you so you don't forget to cancel.

If you do cancel, follow up by checking your credit card statement to make sure you weren't billed. If you were charged, dispute the charges with your credit card company so you don't have to pay. 

Do Your Own Research

If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don't let anyone rush you into making a hasty decision.  

Prior to doing business with someone new or buying something, do your own research. Look for online reviews of the business or product. Or ask people you know if they have ever dealt with the person or company.

Don't Give Money to People You've Only Met Online

In today's world, many of us are making friends online through social media and other online websites, discussion boards, etc. After a time, these people can begin to feel like "real" friends and maybe they are. But maybe they aren't

Anyone can appear to be anyone they want online. So keep that in mind if an online friend starts asking you for money. They might not be who they say they are and the reason they need the money may be a complete lie.

These warnings also include people met on dating sites. Romance scammers are a problem on these types of sites.

Create Strong Passwords

Sometimes it can seem like every website now wants you to create a password in order to access their website. So it can be tempting to make our lives easier by reusing a password or two over all these sites.

But don't do that. Because when a site gets hacked, the hackers will have your password (and perhaps a lot of your personal information) to use to try to get access to your other online accounts.

Also, don't make your passwords too easy. Don't your child or grandchild's name, for instance. That is easy for anyone you know to guess. 

It is suggested to use a variety of upper case, lower case, numbers and symbols to create a strong password. 

Avoid Coupon and Discount Scams

Who doesn't love a good coupon or discount off their purchase price? 

Well, sometimes a good thing is really a bad thing. 

Online coupon scams and discount scams are another way scammers can try to get your personal information. They can pop up online while you are shopping or just chatting with friends on social media.

When you click on the coupon, you may be lead somewhere else to fill out a survey asking for personal information or to try to get you to give the scammers your login information for a particular website.

So if you find a coupon or discount link asking you for information, close the window and ignore it.

A good coupon or discount will provide you with a code to enter at the time of purchase, but it won't ask you for your personal information first.

Start Putting These Tips Into Practice Today

We hope you use these tips on how to avoid being scammed online. But there are many other types of scams and scammers are always coming up with new schemes.

To stay safe, be sceptical and don't be in a hurry to hand out your personal information to anyone. 

We'd love to help you save more money while shopping safely online. Contact us today with your enquiries and how to put us to work finding you the best coupons and product discounts!