6 Fundamental Rules for Avoiding Online Scams

avoiding online scamsWouldn’t you think that online scammers would run out of ways to fool us? Wouldn’t you think that they would get tired of running their scams? As you know, the answer to both questions is a resounding “No!” I’m afraid that scammers are here to stay and just a part of life as we know it. We have to accept scams as a fact of life, but that doesn’t mean that we just allow ourselves to be victimized by these criminals. To combat the multiplicity of scams and scammers, we must be vigilant in evading their tactics. Here are some basic rules for avoiding online scams and keeping you safe online.

1. Don’t ever give your personal information

Your personal information is very important. With it, a criminal can impersonate you in any number of ways, all with the intent to defraud you. Thus, you should always try to protect your personal information. When asked for it, verify that you are sharing it with a trustworthy source. If it isn’t for a process you initiated, there probably isn’t any good reason to share it.

2. Don’t ever click an unknown link

Scammers love to hide malware within a link and then tempt you to click it, unleashing unknown mayhem onto your computer and into your life. If you receive a vague email claiming a receipt, a report, an offer, or an invoice is waiting for you on the other end of a click, it may very likely be a scam. Investigate it thoroughly before taking the bait.

3. Use strong passwords

Everything requires a password these days so you probably have a lot of them to keep track of. Nevertheless, it is still important to make sure that your passwords are strong and secure. Utilizing password software can help you to keep track of the passwords for all your various accounts.

4. Keep your computer updated with security software

While your computer is often the vehicle that scammers use to try to defraud you, it can also help in protecting you. Installing anti-virus software can make sure your computer is fending off attacks that you aren’t even aware of. You can rely on this software as a first line of defense. Always be sure that you install updates regularly to ward off the latest schemes of online scammers.

5. Don’t be in a rush

You know the old saying “Haste makes waste.” It’s still true today. When you are in a hurry, you are more likely to make a mistake or do something unwise. Whenever you are working online with personal information or interacting with others virtually, make sure you slow down and don’t get in a hurry. In fact, if someone tries to make you rush to give an answer or make a decision, it may be a warning flag that they are trying to scam you.

6. When in doubt, ask for help

Sometimes we can forget that our experiences are usually not unique. Talking to a friend, family member, neighbor, or co-worker about a suspicious inquiry or situation can be helpful in identifying and avoiding threats. Remember that you are not alone; share your concerns with others who might have had similar experiences or who may be more knowledgeable about online scams.

It is impossible to avoid every single online threat, but following these rules for avoiding online scams is a good place to start in making you less vulnerable to those who work so hard to take advantage of you. At Federated Bank, we take your online security very seriously and we think you should too.

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