Little-Known Ways to Protect Yourself Online

Boy holding banner "The end of scamming"
Image by Peng Boris

Be Alert Online as much as you are offline.

Your security and that of the things you love matter everywhere, whether connected or disconnected. Meanwhile, let's focus a little bit on your vulnerability on the web.

Protect yourself from scams and Frauds!

Scammers are increasingly agile and are getting more people trapped on the net in their attempts to get your money or personal details. You may believe you do not have enough to interest this assailant, but it is imperative you know how invaluable you are. All the resources you have are important, especially online. Browse swiftly and be prudent enough to decipher their attacks, avoid them and take the appropriate measures where need be.

1. Everyone is prone to the threat

Firstly, it is important to know that whoever you may be, you are or can be a potential victim. People of all ages, backgrounds, gender and income levels across the world are not exempted. There are no peculiarities as to who can or cannot be scammed, all of us may be vulnerable to a scam at some time. What makes this threat work is your perception of the whole thing, believing what they tell you, what seems or what they drive you to realize.

So, it all starts with what you know, then believe and finally what you do about it which determines whether you fall victim or not. Scams succeed because they look like the real thing and catch you off guard when you’re not expecting it. Scammers are getting smarter and taking advantage of new technology, new products or services and major events to create believable stories that will convince you to give them your money or personal details.

Aside: How to determine the real name of a website?

paypal real vs fake domain

As seen above you should be extremely cautious when the website tries to make offers like send and receive money for free, fill in card information and win a prize e.t.c. using the prestigious Paypal Name.

Why? Because the real name of this website is and has nothing to do with Paypal except otherwise stated on the official PayPal website or verified source.

The website is legitimate because it belongs to the famous

2. Be vigilant!

Be aware of the existence of scams and frauds. Watch out for the people you deal with like contacts from individuals or businesses whether it's over the phone, by mail, email, in person or on a social networking site. Always consider the possibility that the approach may be a scam. Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Know who to trust, even minimally. Do not be too excited, naïve or go ahead of yourself too fast. If you've only ever met someone online or are unsure of the legitimacy of a business, take some time to do a bit more research. Test the authenticity of this party, by asking pertinent questions like:

Do you have a website? ( Check how professional the website is )

Are you on social media? ( Check what people are saying about the business or person )

Can you show me your Identity document on a Video call?

Moreover, Google search or search the internet for others who may have had dealings with them. If a message or email comes from a friend and it seems unusual or out of character for them, contact your friend directly to check that it was really them that sent it.

Enter the following text in google search to see reviews ( Replace "Business Name" with the name of the business or company. ):

“Business Name” Legit

“Business Name” Scam

“Business Name” Trustpilot

Do not open suspicious texts, pop-up windows or click on links or attachments in emails – delete them: If unsure, verify the identity of the contact through an independent source such as a phone book or online search. Don't use the contact details provided in the message sent to you especially when you doubt its source. Do not be quick to give out your contact details to people you just met online, Not everything is what it seems. Don't respond to phone calls about your computer asking for remote access – hang up – even if they mention a well-known company such as Amazon.

Scammers will often ask you to turn on your computer to fix a problem or install a free upgrade, which is actually a virus that will give them your passwords and personal details or simply click a Link to win free prizes or share to have more chances, these are a simple manoeuvre to get to you and of course your money or information.

This is a quite easy example:

http vs https

Do you know the contrast between http and https? (It would be ideal if you pursued this to the end...)

The fundamental contrast between http:// and https:// is all approximately keeping you secure. HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol The S stands for "Secure". If you visit a website or web page and see the address within the web browser and it starts with the taking hereafter: "http://" This implies that the site is talking to your browser utilizing the normal unsecured dialect. In other words, it is conceivable for somebody to "listen in" on your computer's discussion with the Site. In the event that you fill out a frame on the site, somebody might see the data you send to that location. This is why you should never ever enter your credit card number in an HTTP site! But in case the internet address starts with "https://", which means your computer is talking to the site in a Secure code that no one can have access to.

Furthermore, for those who post free web information, free this and free that. Let me instruct you on a few essential ICT; Any Interface that begins with "http" is most likely a phishing interface. Phishing is more than often intended ( expecting to urge someone ) to get their personal information like date of birth, location, Bank Account Number etc. This is how Scammers and unethical programmers take your personality and use them to Trick.

Please Use Caution And Take Note!

  • Avoid irregular joins to groups or any platforms by simply clicking on untamed or unverified links.
  • Avoid all these invalid Free Data links,
  • No one is sharing free data connections especially by asking to forward links! The Government, MTN, CAMTEL etc aren't sharing Cash by means of WhatsApp or other media.
  • Check online to ensure that Google, Amazon, Traleor are celebrating an anniversary or giving away goodies before clicking on a link that promises you they are.

Guard your virtuality as much as it is a reality, don't let yourself be tricked. Now, keep your data safe by:

  • Being shrewd and overlook those joins for your Claim Good.
  • Stop sending out phishing links as gotten without legitimate confirmation since you might put someone's data or money in danger.
  • There is no such thing as a free resource, there is always a price to pay. Preserve your data, save your money!

3. Tips to keep your personal details secure

> Be very careful about how much personal information you share on social media sites. Scammers can use your information and pictures to create a fake identity or to target you with a scam.

> Keep your passwords and pin numbers in a safe place.

> Put a lock on your mailbox and rip off your bills and other important documents before throwing them out.

> Keep your mobile devices and computers secure. Always use password protection, don’t share access with others (including remotely), update security software and backup content.

> Protect your WiFi network with a password and avoid using public computers or WiFi hotspots to access online banking or provide personal information.

> Choose your passwords carefully. Choose passwords that would be difficult for others to guess and update them regularly. A strong password should include a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Don’t use the same password for every account/profile, and don’t share your passwords with anyone.

> Review your privacy and security settings on social media. If you use social networking sites, such as Facebook, be careful who you connect with and learn how to use your privacy and security settings to ensure you stay safe. If you recognise suspicious behaviour, clicked on spam or have been scammed online, take steps to secure your account and be sure to report it.

> Don't agree to transfer money or goods for someone else: money laundering is a criminal offence: Beware of any requests for your details or money. Never send money or give credit card details, online account details or copies of personal documents to anyone you don’t know or trust.

> Be wary of unusual payment requests. Scammers will often ask you to use an unusual payment method, including preloaded debit cards, gift cards, iTunes cards or virtual currency such as Bitcoin.

> Be careful when shopping online. Beware of offers that seem too good to be true, and always use an online shopping service that you know and trust such as Traleor [hyperlink]. Think twice before using virtual currencies (like Bitcoin) - they do not have the same protections as other transaction methods, which means you can’t get your money back once you send it.


How to know it is fake?

  1. Hints to spot a fake email
    Scammers can easily fake an official-looking email, using the same logo and design as the real company. Often your guard is down when you receive an email from a company you've dealt with before, such as CRTV news or an online shopping site you use. If you're not expecting an email, always be alert to a fake before clicking on any links or opening any attachments.
  2. Hints to know when a document is fake
    Documents are easily faked. Some will look just like the real thing but others might have warning signs, such as:
    - Generic rather than personal greeting names of organisations that don't exist
    - Poorer quality grammar and spelling overly official or forced language: Documents such as flight itineraries and bank statements have simple, uncomplicated layouts even when they are legitimate because such businesses allow their customers to print online statements.
    - Poorer quality presentation: This means that scammers can easily create fake documents by using information available online such as company logos and graphics from websites.
  3. Clues for spotting a fake dating profile
    When looking at a new dating profile, note anything unusual about their choice of photo location interests language skills matched to the background. Scammers often use fake photos they’ve found online.

Tip: Do an image search of your admirer to help determine if they really are who they say they are. You can use image search services such as Google or TinEye.

Follow-up scams

Scammers will often try to take advantage when you’re feeling vulnerable and try to extract more money from you through a follow-up scam. Some common follow up scams include:

  • Offers from a law enforcement agency to investigate your scam and retrieve your money for a fee. Law enforcement agencies do not charge for their services.
  • A doctor calling you to alert you that the scammer urgently needs medical bills to be paid or they might die.
  • A woman contacting you to explain she is the scammer’s wife and wants to escape him but needs money to do so.

These are only a few of the follow-up approaches scammers may use to try to get more money from you. New approaches could be quite different from the original scam and could come quickly or sometime later. Scammers may have passed your details to other scammers who use entirely different methods and the new approach may seem totally unrelated to the original scam.

It all begins and ends in your mind. What you give power to has power over you, if you allow it.

– Lean Brown

You set the pace for it, thus you can put an end to it too. Do not let yourself be deceived to fall into these petty scams and lose your valuable assets. The most important part of you is who you are, do not give out your info and give these thugs the power to hurt you.

Watch Out!

Scamming is real, for as your money disappears virtually... so does it physically.

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