Having your data breached by an internet scammer feels violating, and it’s extremely difficult to reverse the damage these scammers can cause. If you’re online often, you need to know how to avoid these scams before they even happen. After all, reversing the damage caused by a scammer can take years, while it could only take a few moments of caution to prevent a scam from happening altogether.
When you’re shopping online, it’s critical that you only give your credit card information to trusted websites. Shopping on eBay, Amazon, or Walmart’s website is all well and good. However, if you find some unusual merchant on a domain name you’re unfamiliar with, you’ll want to do some research to make sure it’s the real deal.
Often, scammers will set up storefronts that exist only to scam you. They might actually send you products through the site, but then they’ll record your credit card information and use dummy accounts to try to send bogus charges in the hopes that you don’t notice. Avoid these sketchy sites altogether, and make sure you’re careful about who sees your credit card.
If you get to an Amazon or eBay listing through a link or an email you receive, double-check the URL in the address bar. If it looks weird, you might be looking at a scam. Often, scammers will go to extreme measures to set up fake web pages that look nearly identical to official web stores. In these situations, you’ll think you’re buying something from Amazon, when, in reality, you’re just handing someone your credit card info.
If the URL looks weird, just leave that page and navigate to the store you’re trying to shop from directly through the address bar. Following links can often result in you ending up on fake pages, so going through the URL you know is the safest bet when shopping online.
Ransomware is a major problem these days. To avoid the chances of having ransomware installed on your PC, make sure you just decline to open fishy-looking emails. There are no emails important enough to jeopardize your digital files for. Often, scammers will embed harmful viruses in attachments to emails. Once you open the attachment, the cat’s out of the bag.
In general, you want to be careful about downloading anything from sources you don’t know. Outside of verified publishers, you shouldn’t be downloading any programs off of the internet. There’s simply too much at stake when it comes to viruses encrypting your private data.