internet fraud

How to Protect Yourself From Internet Fraud

Desperate? You’re Ripe for Internet Fraud

The internet…it’s a wonderful utility, but it can also be a place of Nightmare. Fraudsters have short memories, and a room full of similarly-aged victims is a dime a dozen. So what are your odds?

To the rest of us, 21st century fraudsters are mostly after our money, but in their search for an easy buck, are going after just about anyone who’s got the red hot poker face. It’s hard to be besieged by criminals when you have a wallet or a credit card, but every victim who has both is fair game.

So what can you do about these Internet Fraudsters? Here are some guidelines to follow when you receive an email seeking your personal information.

  1. Don’t reply.

If this is in an email forwarded to you from a “missionary” ask yourself; did the person who forwarded it to you really need to email you? Did you really need to click on a link to go to this site? More red flags should go up if you’ve been hacked.

  1. Don’t click on the link.

This is the biggest mistake you can make. If you’re sent a link, don’t go to it. Many of these scams already have your bank, ISP, or PayPal involved. Once you click on the link, it’s off to the next site where you’re going to be asked to provide even more information. And all to your credit, if you do fall for this, at least you’re going to the right place.

  1. Don’t reply.

Just because someone emails you with a request to disclose your personal information, doesn’t mean you have to reply. Unfortunately, there will be some who feel the need to respond to these emails, because they “want to help.” Please do not. Many times the people who send these scams have spent so much time setting up this email that they forget to shut it off. The only thing they will get is your own personal information, which is buried deep and hard to find.

  1. Don’t reply.

Keep in mind this is the policy of most real businesses, and most honest people. If someone wants your account information or you’ve just lost a bid to someone else, it would be best to ignore this. Moreover, if you are receiving unsolicited email, reporting it to the Federal Trade Commission or the Anti-Spyware and Spyware Act (previous) should be your first priority.

  1. Don’t open the attachment.

When in doubt, open the email first and then click on any links that come attached. Many malicious viruses will try to make links with your name in the body of the email, so by simply opening the email first, you can see if it’s really from whom it says it is from.

  1. Delete it.

When in doubt, delete it. The only person who will ever know about an opportunity you may have had, is the person who blocked you, and that is supposedly why you got the message.

  1. Let the company know via email when you are no longer interested.

I had a friend who had a new software product offer that was just too good to be true. She was sending me emails about it, and I finally decided that it was time to stop. You are not going to get anywhere with a stranger, and you will definitely not keep money from him when you never even met.

When you have a friend like me who has been this victimized, you will want to warn other people about this company. This problem came up when I was searching through eBay to sell off our items. They had close to 500 auctions each with the same pose. Each buyer was bidding on the same product, and they were all very excited when they won the auction. It was hard to understand why people were so excited about this product. It was obvious they had seen it on TV. The first two times it happened, the third time was different. The last time was different.

My mother always told me not to talk to strangers, and the same rule applies. Do not trust people who send you email requesting personal information or to stop by. They already know what is best for you. The best thing you can do is to put this to work for you. Put in the effort to find out why someone is after your information, and if you cannot then please do not share that information with anyone else.

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