Have you had a friend who fell prey to online fraud, and wondered how to prevent online fraud from happening to you? You are not alone, online frauds have been the order of the day. In fact, there has been a rise in the number of online frauds. In some instances, people have even lost their entire life savings to the hands of online fraudsters.
What are online frauds?
Online frauds are schemes that are designed to deceive unsuspecting victims to part with their money or other valuables. Online fraudsters normally operate in cyberspace, using the internet as a medium for their operations.
Also Read: Tips to Avoid Credit Card Fraud
The menace of online fraud has become so rampant that many have even sworn never to use computers or go online again because of online fraud.
How to Prevent Online Fraud?
However, there are many ways to prevent yourself from being a victim of online fraud. The tips in this article will help you know how to prevent online fraud, and save your money for a rainy day or a real emergency.
1. Never click on links or attachments in emails from unfamiliar senders
Emails should never be clicked on right away, especially if they ask for personal information such as passwords and credit card information. These emails can appear to come from your bank, credit card company, or even a friend and therefore may seem like legitimate emails. However, these emails can be easily faked and contain malware that will infect your computer.
Also Read: How to Successfully Make Money Online?
Another way scammers try to steal information is through phishing websites where they imitate real websites such as banks and ask for personal information.
2. Hover over URLs before clicking on them
The authenticity of a website can be determined by seeing where it directs you when you click on the link. Hovering over the link before clicking it will show where the link actually goes (example: if you click on a link in an email and your browser goes to ” example.com/login,” but hovering over the link shows it goes to ” example.com/advertise,” then you know that the email is fake).
3. Use antivirus software, firewalls, and anti-phishing tools
All of these can be critical in determining if a website is fake or not, as well as detecting malware and viruses. This software should be updated regularly to ensure that it contains the latest protections. Firewalls will protect against those trying to sneak into your network from another location. Anti-phishing tools will tell you if a link is fraudulent, phishing, or untrustworthy.
4. Do not share personal information with unknown correspondents
At no time should you ever give out any of your personal information to an unknown sender? If they ask for this information it is because they plan on scamming you somehow in the future. Any requests that seem suspicious should be reported immediately so that they may be investigated.
5. Look for tell-tale signs of phishing emails
Phishing emails will often contain grammatical errors and misspelt words, as well as any information that is not completely necessary to the conversation or email (such as ” please enter your name”).
Also Read: How to Stop Phishing Emails
Another common sign of a phishing email is if the sender requests that you send money or provide your email address to an outside source.
6. Do not log into any accounts from unknown devices
To avoid malware and other attacks, it is important to ensure that only trusted devices can access your personal information and accounts. Using a computer at a coffee shop or other public place puts your information at risk for anyone with malicious intent to access it. Also, check that your computer’s firewall is enabled before the username and password are entered into any login pages.
7. Make sure you know who has physical possession of your device
If you lend out your phone, tablet, or laptop to another person it is important to ensure that they are safe while using the device. Never let someone have physical possession of your device if they have not been thoroughly checked for viruses and other malicious software.
8. Remove any third-party applications you don’t remember installing yourself
This can be a very effective way to detect malware, especially if you are not sure who installed the program. Sometimes hackers will install keystroke loggers or other tools that can record anything typed into the device.
These should be removed immediately because even after the third-party app has been removed there could still be leftovers on your computer.
9. Change all of your passwords and security questions
This is the most important step if you think someone has obtained your information. Create new passwords and change all of your security questions with any service that may have been compromised (example: email password). To make it more difficult for hackers to access accounts, use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters.
10. Update your operating system and download the latest updates
It is important that you never take any chances by using an outdated version of the software. Hackers are always finding ways to exploit older versions of software, so make sure that all of your devices are updated with the latest operating systems.
Also Read: FAQs of Identity Verification
If there are any available updates for your software it is also important that you download these to ensure that your device is protected against future vulnerabilities.
11. Only visit websites that are trusted
Using Google can help you find reputable websites where you can enter secure information into. Make sure all websites start with HTTPS:// rather than just HTTP:// to ensure that they are using an encrypted connection for your protection. If a website does not have these protocols set up it may be possible for others to view the information sent between sites, so it is important that you only enter information onto websites that have HTTPS:// as part of their address.
12. Use two-factor authentication when possible
Two-factor authentication offers another level of security for your accounts by requiring you to enter a secondary code after the original password has been entered. This is usually sent via text or through an authenticator app on your mobile device, where it can be used only once before being reset.
There you have it, 12 tips on how to prevent online fraud. These steps are not guaranteed to protect you from every hack, but they will help you to identify suspicious activity on your accounts and devices.
Keeping these tips in mind will help you to keep your information protected when browsing the web or using any other device that is connected to the internet.