5 Common Online Scams You're Likely to Encounter and How to Defend Against Them

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Given how much time an average individual spends online nowadays, keeping your personal data safe is more important than ever. Otherwise, you’re making it too easy for cybercriminals to steal it from you. As it so happens, online scams are some of the most common ways they can make it happen. But without knowing the basics of how they work and what you can expect, you’ll be stumbling in the dark, not knowing what to do.

So let’s address this right now:

1. Survey scams

There’s nothing wrong with surveys as such as long as they’re legitimate. But here’s the catch – there’s no way to know in advance. Some will promise lucrative rewards for completing them (such as gift cards), but when you finally manage to come to the end of one – nothing’s there. You realize you’ve wasted your time. Worse yet, there’s a possibility that malware is hiding somewhere inside, waiting for the first opportunity to find its way into your operating system. Are you willing to take that chance? In case the survey is asking for any sort of payment information, that’s another clear sign to run the other way.

2. Scammy betting sites

Sports betting is an industry where a lot of money is to be made. But before jumping into it and making your first bet, you should make sure it’s regulated and in compliance with the local laws and regulations. Since the questionable ones are often quite well-versed in imitating the legitimate betting sites, do yourself a favor and read the online reviews on an unbiased platform. Indeed, doing your due diligence is a big one here. Since winning big is hard enough even on legitimate sports betting platforms, at least make sure to entrust your hard-earned money to a reputable provider. That way, it’s unlikely there’ll be any issues when trying to cash out.

3. Spoofed websites

It’s no secret that not every website out there was built with your best interests in mind. In fact, some of them see no issue in trying to deceive you and make outrageous claims while doing it. Have you ever received a popup telling you that your computer is infected and conveniently offering you their antivirus solution? Don’t take them up on their offer. Chances are the scanner you’ll be installing is nothing more than malware in disguise. On another occasion, you’ll receive an email with legitimate-looking forms, asking for your login credentials, a credit card number, or something of that sort. Unless you have a solid reason to give them away, don’t even think about it. Type the website address directly into the URL bar of your browser or Google it instead – never click on a link in a suspicious email.

4. Fraudulent emails

Anyone who’s been around for long enough will recognize the infamous Nigerian prince scam email, the variants of which are still circulating around the web to this very day. The primary reason why so many people fall for it is the part that promises incredible riches to you, a long-lost family member if you do a little favor in return, of course. Whether it’s personal data they’re asking you for or a symbolic fee that you need to pay upfront for the transaction to go through, don’t be gullible enough to fall for it. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Just delete the email and move on.

5. Hitman threats

Taking the email scams to a whole new level are the blatant threats to your life. Pay up, or you’re a goner – it’s that simple. Or is it? In some cases, you’ll even be promised the details of the one who had hired the hitman. You’ll be offered to pay with Bitcoin, a way that doesn’t reveal the identity of the recipient. But it’s nothing more than a scam that’s preying on your naivete and fear. The solution? Forward it to the local authorities and go about your business like you normally would. Let them deal with it and don’t waste a minute sweating about these.

6. Empty crypto promises

 

Cryptocurrencies are still popular, and every kid on the block wants to create their own crypto coin, hoping it would become the next big thing. Selling it to you at a low price is how they lure you in, presenting the deal as an opportunity you wouldn’t want to miss out on. You are unlikely to hear it from their marketing campaigns, but a great number of them will gladly take your money and disappear overnight. Not to say that every cryptocurrency is a scam, but tread carefully with these and do your research before investing.

General tips on how to avoid online scams:

- Check who you’re doing business with when ordering stuff online.

- Know your IP and how to keep it out of sight (Google “what is my IP” for more information)

- Check if the URL of the website you’re visiting is legit.

- Avoid surveys.

- Never pay anyone over the phone before double-checking their identity.

- Ignore the ads that try to scare you into believing your computer is infected.

- Don’t let spam emails ruffle your feathers.

- Research before investing in any kind of cryptocurrency.

- Avoid websites that promise easy money-making opportunities.

Conclusion

Your online safety is your responsibility. So educate yourself and take it into your hands.

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