Want to get rich quick? Learn online fraud.
That’s about the only way it can actually happen, but is it really worth doing the time?
It doesn’t often work out for these fraudulent framers who are trying to steal your life.
You can make sure you’re safe by being smart about how you use the internet, but sometimes fraudulent activity can creep into even the most careful user’s life.
Fraudsters harvest information, sell it, and steal identities. Every day.
Don’t worry! You’ll be prepared. Here are the most popular scams and how to avoid them.
1. Non-Delivery Scams
You know this one.
At one point, eBay was at risk of shutting it’s metaphorical internet doors, because so many people were trying to collect money for products that either weren’t anywhere close to how they were advertised or completely nonexistent.
It’s better now.
This doesn’t happen nearly as often now that almost everything is done with electronic funds that are easy to retrieve, but if you stray from the safe websites and try to score a deal from a random website you’ve never heard of, you need to do your research.
2. Fake Websites
We’ve already talked about this, but it’s worth restating.
There are still (yes, in 2017) fake websites out there that look totally legitimate, but don’t actually have any products. Watch out, because you can’t always get your money back.
Again, if you stay on the websites you know, this isn’t much of an issue.
At minimum, look for authentication badges (that actually link to an authentication at a reputable website).
Is it really worth saving an extra $20 on Ted’sTotallyTrustableTestosteroneBoosters.com when you could get a product you know on BodyBuilding.com? Probably not. (I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right, that apostrophe wouldn’t fly in a domain name… but grammar comes first.)
3. Identity Theft
This is the popular one right now. It has been for a while.
It’s likely starting to happen to people you know. Which makes you start to care, right?
Here’s the thing about identity theft: you can usually overcome it, because the major companies know it’s real. But it does take a lot of work and time if you become a victim.
Keep your sanity and get some identity theft protection. Even Dave Ramsey is recommending this now.
And something to keep in mind, if it’s free identity theft protection, it’s probably useless. I’m not trying to be a Negative Nancy, more of a Safe Sally. And yes, I’m a guy.
The fact is, most of the free ID theft protection doesn’t do much more than you can do on your own.
If you don’t have too many assets, you can get the cheapest plan, but you’ll need something if you want to protect yourself.
Viruses aren’t just there to piss you off. They have a purpose beyond showing you how good of a coder some random guy is, as he sits in his mom’s basement and harvests your personal information.
Yes, harvesting. That’s the practice of creating viruses to steal your information, and sell it or use it.
From fake “Your computer is at risk!” ads to random downloads that you don’t remembers clicking on, it’s all dangerous.
Once a virus creeps into your computer, any personal information you’ve shared could be at risk. They aren’t usually smart enough to get everything, but anything they get can be harmful.
There are some ways to protect yourself here, so stop freaking out.
Here’s are 3 tips that will protect you 99% of the time:
- Install antivirus software. Obvious, right? Well then why are you still using the junk software that came with your computer? If you want really protection, you need real antivirus software. You can get the good stuff for a few bucks, or at least get a good free one, like Avast. And yes, you actually need to do the updates. Keep all your systems up to date.
- Use strong passwords. If you use the same password for everything, stop. That’s so 1999. Now password hackers have gotten really good, and their tools to steal your passwords actually work. It’s not just some guy trying to take some guesses based on where you went to high school and your favorite animal. Use every different type of character you can (capital, lowercase, numbers, special characters). You can use a format with the same password, as long as you have a system to make it unique to each website. Example: Instead of “12345” for Amazon, use “A(12345)z!$” – the first and fourth letter of Amazon. That’s a start.
- Click intelligently. Stop looking at porn. There, that one tip will probably keep you virus-free for years to come. Sure, if you’re using a strong antivirus software, you can go to some questionable websites, but they won’t catch everything. Eventually, your computer will succumb to some sort of virus if you visit sketchy sites. Just stay away.
You can’t be too careful. A lot of
bad drivers internet scams out there.
If you use your computer intelligently, like an adult, you should be good.
We all make bad decisions, whether it’s a click or a purchase from a fake website.
Use these tips and watch your six.
Kalen Bruce is the founder of MoneyMiniBlog.com. He defies millennial laws by having no debt and four children.