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Sponsored Post: How to Spot Scams and Stay Safe Online

posted on: Feb 28, 2022

In the internet age, unfortunately we are surrounded by scams. From fishing emails and unsecure sites to data breaches, chances are we all have contacted countless scams online. While firewalls, antivirus software and other built-in security measures help to combat the most devious of these threats, most scams happen because of the same thing—human error.

Thus, it’s important to stay vigilant online so that you don’t fall victim to any scams online. Here we’ll run down 6 key ways to greatly reduce your risk of being scammed online.

Emails: Check the Sender’s Address

Email phishing scams are among the most common type of scam you will find online. The reason for this is simple: they’re easy to set up. All you need to do so is a list of email addresses and a device to send emails from.

Phishing emails will often be caught and put into your junk folder, but occasionally some will slip through into your regular inbox.

For those knowing what to look for, phishing emails are easy to spot. They usually claim to come from reputed sites like Netflix, Amazon, Apple, Google, McAfee or virtually any other well-known company.

The immediate way to spot whether these emails are scams is to check the sender’s email address. You can then check this email against the company’s official email address found online to verify if the email is correct.

For extra safety we recommend that even if you trust the email, you should not click on links directly. Instead log into the corresponding account mentioned into the email through that service’s own website. This simply acts as another layer of protection.

Websites: Check for an https Certificate.

You’ve probably noticed that website URLs all major start with “https://”. There’s a good reason for this as these letters stand for “hypertext transfer protocol secure”, an extension of internet security which essentially means your connection is secure.

As a rule of thumb, only visit and trust sites which have an https certificate. 

Most modern browsers also have a padlock icon in the search bar, which verifies that this connection is secure.

Transactions: Know Who You’re Paying

Most scams want one thing: your money.

Thus, a simple way to ensure they don’t get it is to ask one question before every purchase online—who is my money going to? 

If the payment is not going through a trusted retailer (Apple, Microsoft, Zara) or a trusted third party (eBay, Etsy) or a trusted payment portal (Klarna, Paypal), there is a chance that your payment is a scam.

Of course, that is not to say that every payment made outside these means is a scam. However, if you cannot immediately answer the question of “who are you paying”, then it’s worth double and triple checking a site or payment portal is legitimate.

Downloads: Don’t Download Anything You Don’t Trust

Viruses and other malware have a limited number of ways to get onto your machine, but the most direct is by a user downloading them manually.

Of course, none of us are going to download a file named “virus”, but we may download other files from sketchy sites which contain viruses. 

Thus, it’s worth never downloading files from sites that you do not trust. And if you do need to download these files, you should scan them with antivirus software before opening or using them. Especially if they are executable files (.exe).

Information: Keep Your Personal Details Secure

In the age of information, information is power. That’s why every site is after your data. Because of this, it’s up to you to keep your data secure.

This means keeping usernames, passwords, codes and other sensitive data under wraps. As a rule of thumb these pieces of data should never be stored on your computer or in files which are accessible online.

A simple work around is to use a password manager, which can keep all your username and passwords safe and secure through local encoding. 

Games: Only Use Reputed Sites for Sales

Gaming can be a weak point when it comes to cyber security. After all, when offered that item you’ve been pining after for only a fraction of its value, of course you want to secure that trade.

But because of this, gamers can become victims of vicious scams. These scams can result in players losing in-game goods or, worse, real-world money.

Thus, it’s paramount to keep gaming transactions within reputed sites. Whether that be purchasing game keys or trading in-game items.

Being at constant risk of online scams can be a scary thing, and, worse, falling victim to one can feel crushing. However, educating yourself about the ways in which you can avoid scams online will not only ensure you have a smaller chance of being a victim of one in the future, but it can also help you stay confident online.

Please note that this post was paid for by a third-party and does not necessarily reflect the views of Arab America or its employees. These posts help allow Arab America to produce our wonderful original content, thanks for your understanding.

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