Nov – 16: CONSUMER TIPS
Protect yourself from online scamsÂ Â Â Â Â
Online scams are schemes to con you out of your money using your computer and the internet, either through fake websites, emails or social media.
- Donâ€™t be pressured into making a decision. Scammers promise high returns and quick money in investment scams and try to create a sense of urgency through short deadlines.
- Guard your personal information. Be suspicious of emails about inheritance, Nigerian scams and government or bank loan opportunities that request personal or financial information. This may also occur in the case of lotteries, travel prizes, scratchies or gift cards.
- Be wary of charity emails, mobile premium services like ringtones and games, false billing scams from businesses or fake trading websites.Â
- Be suspicious of requests for money. In dating and romance scams, scammers create fake profiles and spend months establishing a relationship with victims. Then they ask for money or help in money laundering. Donâ€™t send money to someone you meet online. Cease contact with the person.
- Donâ€™t overshare on social media websites such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. Never share intimate photos or videos with online contacts. You could be blackmailed.Â
- Verify the identity of the contact. Watch out for convincing imitations of banks, credit card companies, charities and government agencies. Go to the companyâ€™s site to check if the email is legitimate or check through other reliable sources.
- Stay up-to-date. Install anti-virus software on your computer and keep it updated. Use the latest version of your web browser and install software updates regularly.
- Make hacking difficult. Use long, unique and hard-to-guess passwords with a mix of random numbers and upper and lower case letters. Make sure a site is secure i.e. it has a web address beginning with https not http. Donâ€™t open suspicious emails, attachments, texts or pop-up messages.
- Limit your virtual friend list. Restrict yourself to family and friends you know in the real world, especially if you are new to social media use.
- If you fall prey to a scam, report it. Contact the authorities. The more people who report such crimes, the more criminals are arrested.