The Internet is full of opportunity, but it does have its dangers on the flipside. A magnet for fraudsters, there are countless ways cybercriminals will try to trick us out of our money – or worse.
If you go out in the rain without an umbrella, you should not be surprised if you get wet. In the same way, every time you go online you are at risk from online fraud. So it would help if you used protection.
WHO IS THE BADDY?
Rogue traders can advertise goods that don’t exist, tell lies about what they sell, and send different items to the ones you have bought. They can even sell you dangerous items, or fail to deliver anything.
But there are many other types of cybercriminals out there. Think about it. Anyone can pretend to be whomever they please online and it isn’t easy to check they are genuine, especially when you think they are someone you know or trust.
Fraudsters will try to persuade you to download malicious software or viruses, steal your identity or lure you into a bewildering number of email scams. Their techniques are cheap to build and easy to repeat countless times. They rely on the fact that if they try often enough, sooner or later they will get lucky. So, it would help if you were on your guard all the time.
Remember, it is not always your money that the fraudsters are after. Your personal information, such as bank details or credit card numbers, is even more valuable. These details allow them to steal from you or others.
These cybercrimes are generally difficult to trace and Internet fraudsters difficult to prosecute.
THINK BEFORE YOU CLICK
With so many people using the Internet as part of their daily lives it is not surprising that online fraud is on the rise. But you can still enjoy the many benefits of the Internet if you use protection. Follow these simple rules to stay safe online.
• Behave online in the same way you would when shopping on the high street. Use your common sense at the computer keyboard.
Even if the price is slightly higher, always try to purchase goods and services from reputable online businesses. • Investigate any person or company you are thinking of doing business with online, and be especially cautious if they are overseas. You should always pay by credit card, which offers protection against unauthorised transactions.
• Protect your identity and never divulge any personal information carelessly. Be sure that a website is secure before filling out any online forms that ask for personal information.
• Do not fall for hard luck stories; online fraudsters are very good at tugging on the heartstrings. Watch out for loved ones who may be more vulnerable; older adults are often easy targets for scams. Please encourage them to seek your advice before making significant online purchases or investments.
• Make sure your gadgets are protected against viruses and other types of malicious software. Install a trusted Internet security software solution such as Kaspersky Internet Security – Multi-Device.
DO NOT GET HOOKED
Phishing is a spam scam designed with one purpose in mind – the online fraudster sends you unwelcome emails to tempt you to look at fake websites. These sites try to trick you into supplying personal and financial information. If you enter these details, they will defraud you or steal your identity.
Almost all online frauds start with some form of phishing attack. It is not sufficient defence against all online threats, but if you successfully ignore and avoid phishing emails you have a greater chance of avoiding online fraud.
IF IN DOUBT, LEAVE IT OUT
It is probably a scam if you are asked to act too quickly. A genuine company would give you a reasonable amount of time to make any decision or purchase. So, it is best not to give in to pressure.
Never allow your desire to buy something overrule your good judgment. As the old saying goes, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.