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7 Tips To Avoid Online Scams

15 February 2021

Online scams are more common than you might think. Just because you are aware of the potential threats and have taken the necessary measures, it does not mean that other people have done the same.

No, there are plenty of individuals who end up making poor decisions and suffer for it by having their personal data exposed. More people should pay attention to their activities online. Hopefully, the tips mentioned below should help prevent scams online.

1. Use Virtual Private Networks

A virtual private network comes in handy not just for online security. The services also offer anonymity and zero-log policy, bypasing censorship and accessing geo-restricted content.

However, since the focus is on avoiding threats, lets see how a VPN can help you. Choose trustworthy VPN or pick an option out of a 2021 VPN selection guide. Also, as a rule of thumb, avoid virtual private networks located in the 14-eyes surveillance alliance as those are not as safe. Choose VPN under offshore jurisdiction with warrant canary, kIll switch and DNS leak protection.

A VPN is like a tunnel that works as a connection between your location (IP address) and the internet content you want to access. The important thing is how your original location becomes different since VPNs provide a different IP address.

VPN prevents your ISP and government from monitoring your online activity. VPN stops  your ISP from tracking your browser history, encrypts your connection and protects your privacy

Be wary when you connect to public Wi-Fi. The internet at cafes, libraries, and hotels is available for free, but it lacks important security protocols. Joining a public network with your device just like that creates opportunities for hackers to attack you. Hackers may create fake public Wi-Fi networks to steal your private data or hack your smartphone.

2. Be Smart About Your Passwords

Do not give your passwords to anyone. Also, avoid using the same passwords for every account that you have on the Internet. If somebody finds out your login details for one of the profiles, they can log in to multiple accounts.

Besides using the same passwords, you should also create more complicated combinations. According to the latest report, 75% of Americans use weak passwords. If you lack creativity, take advantage of available password generators online.

3. Avoid Clicking on Ads

You may notice how some websites have aggressive ads and that navigating through a site is quite difficult. Not only do these ads slow down the loading speed of pages, but clicking on them may redirect you to a landing page that is crawling with malware or ransomware. In some instances, even reliable antivirus software may not be enough to prevent the threat.

In case you are fed up with online ads or just do not want to take your chances, install an ad blocker. Your internet browser should have such an extension. If it does not, get one that can prevent ads online.

4. Ignore Shady Links

Similar to how you should not click on ads, you should also avoid shady links. If an URL seems slightly suspicious, ignore it even if you received the message from someone you know and trust.

If the link is really interesting, you can type it manually on Google or another search engine to find out whether it is legit or whether it is another scam.

5. Shop on Reliable Stores

Do not give away your credit card information or spend money on an online store just because you found a good deal. Use a VPN for your online banking to secure your connection and make your data protected.

Sticking to reliable online shops is one of the best pieces of advice to avoid online scams. It is also recommended not to buy from random people on the internet unless you can meet in person and confirm that you are not paying for hoaxes.

6. Stay Away From Social Media

You would be better to stay away from social media. Oversharing online becomes a security problem. First of all, platforms like Facebook Instagram, TikTok are quite addictive, and you may find spending more time on them than you should.

In addition, you may accidentally share some personal details with others and have to pay for it later.

Finally, unsuspecting people who receive friend requests or direct messages from random users do not think of it as suspicious behavior and accept it without hesitation. A conversation may sound friendly, but you could end up losing money or getting scammed another way on social media if you are not careful.

7. Keep up With the Latest News

Keeping up with the latest news is an excellent way to make sure that you are aware of the latest scams and other potential dangers one might encounter on the internet.

Staying up to date means that you will know what to avoid and can immediately notice if something seems slightly suspicious.