Congratulations you won a brand new car! I need your help to liquidate my bank assets. I will share 50% of the cash with you. Earn extra cash without doing anything. Do these sound familiar? Well, I’ve seen them all around and I’ve received countless of e-mails promising I will get rich or I will gain something easily. Unfortunately these are the makings of online scams.
Before the allure of easy money, fantastic prizes or even the promise of success and riches; put a halt on your desires first. Online scams are so alluring that you will get hooked easily. But you have to fight the urge and take a moment to breathe. Here are some rules to follow so you won’t fall prey to scums that scam.
Be wary of insanely easy systems
As the saying goes: if it is too good to be true; it probably is! But sadly, many still fall prey to online scams. I don’t blame them if they are attracted to the allure of easy money making strategies. After all who does not want extra cash? However, being presented a get rich scheme out of nowhere just sounds dubious.
Some modus operandi includes:
- Asking for your bank accounts and credit card information – even your security PINs
- Asking you to transfer a minimal amount to jumpstart the process
- Asking you to download and install programs or applications on your computer
- Asking for personal information so they can send you items
- Pretending to be a representative from your bank or insurance and they are asking for information update.
The modus operandi of scammers is getting more complex and sometimes they really appear legitimate. But it is prudent to take your time and comb through the information first.
Never give personal and sensitive information
Even banks won’t ask for your personal identification numbers, so why would a random stranger ask for it? Moreover, legitimate organizations have your information and would not ask for it. Likewise, when asked for personal information, always be on the defensive. Be very critical to whom you give information.
Some information that you think is not important may actually make or break your account. For example, many online registrations will require you to answer challenge questions in the event that you forgot or change your passwords. Think about these questions. What’s your mother’s maiden name? When did you meet your spouse? From what school did you graduate from? On any given day, conversations with people can turn up answers to these questions. If a stranger asks this, we may not think twice to give the details. However, the answers the these questions can reset passwords.
Don’t believe testimonial videos
Testimonials are great to convince people that the common Joe can make it big using their system. Just imagine a seemingly ordinary person, a no body turns out to be a successful someday using their system. Well, remember that you do not know this person. Testimonial videos are meant to entice you to join. But the truth is, you are taking the word of someone you do not know.
Testimonials don’t just come in videos. Many would even post “interviews” with successful members. Some go to lengths as sending you a personal message. Won’t you feel special that way? But slap your face first. Now, slap the other cheek! Wake up from the truth that these testimonials may be rigged and scripted. And chances are they are.
Do not take testimonials seriously unless:
- You know the person personally
- You can verify their claims
- There is a way to meet or communicate these people and ask about their experience personally
Yes, even if the testimonial came from a prominent person, give it some doubt first. You won’t know that you are already scammed until it is too late.
Confirm from reputable sources
Your security is the top priority. So do not be dazzled by quick scripts, convincing smiles or even cleavages. Confirm all information that they give to you starting from the legitimacy of their business and company down to compliance to regulations and laws.
Where you can check:
- Department of Trade and Industry
- For the US, there is a Better Business Bureau
- Check business listings
- Check forums and sites that list scams
It is prudent to check our as many sources a possible. In fact, it is best to cross check the information you have from one source with another. It is additional work however, it is worth the trouble.
Don’t open any attachment from people you do not know
One way to ensure your safety online is never to open attachments that has not been verified or scanned. A great number of scammers and hackers can email you attachments that you open. At first, they may seem innocent. But you’ll never know how much information is compromised.
What you can do:
- Delete the message and the attachment immediately
- Inform others about the spam/scam that you are getting so that no other person can become victims
- Use spam filters and other security measure
- Use encryption tools and applications
Online threat is increasing every day. Although we may have antiviruses and anti-malware, there are risks that we unknowingly let ourselves get into like scams. The allure of online get rich systems and extra online cash can be powerful. They are designed to be enticing and many fall prey. But you do not have to be a victim of online scams. You can protect yourself by being a little more vigilant.