Common Sense Is Best Prevention for Online Scams
Thursday, September 12, 2013, 3:45 PM
The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) accepts complaints from Internet crime victims or from third parties to the victims. Each year they receive nearly 350,000 complaints. To put it in daily terms, 1000 people fall for online scams each day. $350 million accumulated dollars are stolen from victims’ each year. Although people are becoming more tech savvy, scammers are still winning.
Think about it from a scammer’s perspective: their main objective is to obtain all of your passwords, account numbers, and every other bit of personal information available. Most scammers don’t use hacking techniques. Instead, they use simple tricks such as fake emails, websites, links, and more. The fact that scammers typically use these menial tricks, means that that there are ways you can prevent theft yourself- the most popular method being common sense.
By using common sense you can defraud an email from your “bank.” A bank will never ask customers to send banking information and passwords via email. Actually, in most cases, official organizations will never ask to be sent a password. Use that tip to conclude that those types emails are scams.
The more difficult type of scam to detect is a link to an official-looking website. Scammers often replicate official websites similar to your bank’s website or favorite online store. Before giving any credit card or personal information, analyze the website. Make sure the URL is spelled correctly and verify with your bank before proceeding.
Scammers can only take as much as you give them. Slow down and use common sense when online. If a deal looks too good to be true, it is.
The following websites give tips for internet safety and how to block websites that may contain scams.
- U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC): Internet Fraud - Information on various investment scams.
- ContentWatch - Software for companies that helps keep control and protect from malicious web content.
- Looks Too Good to be True - A site administered by several federal agencies that educates consumers about scams and fraud.
- Online Scams that Impersonate the IRS - This site describes how scammers claiming to work for the IRS con their victims.