This week, a relative of mine was scammed out of an awful lot of money. I can’t imagine that people aren’t aware of the scams that occur online, but I guess it bears repeating. So here are my best tips.
Staying Safe Online (and Scam Free)
- DO NOT click links in an email. Mouse over them, copy and paste them, if they look suspicious – I’ve never come across an .ru email that wasn’t a scam – don’t visit the link. Period. Even if it seems to come from someone you trust. Don’t do it. Send the person an email, to an email address that you know belongs to them, or better yet, call them and ask if they sent you this link and where they got it.
- Don’t give out your personal information to strangers.
- Your bank/utility company/service provider of any kind, will never ask you for your password. Period.
- Your friend is not stranded in a third world country. They do not need money to get home. Your friends aren’t that interesting, neither are mine.
- If you’re already friends with someone on Facebook and you get a friend request from them, from a different account, check with them through the first account, that this new account, is in fact, theirs. Again, better yet, do it over the phone
- Use secure passwords. “Let Me In” is not secure, mix it up, use numbers, upper case, lower case, punctuation marks, etc.
- Your relative that you never heard of did not leave you a million dollars
- That woman is not dying of cancer and will not transfer her money to you to use philanthropically
- The Prince who needs to escape from his country and is relying on you to split his money with him, once he gets out?
He has no money except yours.
He doesn’t exist.
- To be really safe, don’t do those Facebook quizzes (I don’t take my own advice with this one, but they’re not secure, you should know that).
- Be careful about what you grant access to with third party apps
- If you get to a screen that says, “You have been infected, click here to remove (fill in the blank)”, DO NOT click anything Force quit (on a mac), Ctrl+Alt+Delete to end task on a PC – relaunch the browser, clear your cache and reboot your machine completely
There you go! Use your judgement. If something sounds too good to be true, it is. No one that you’ve never heard of before wants to give you money. You did not win a lottery that you didn’t know about, etc.
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