Considering that almost everyone uses the internet these days, it’s no wonder there’s a wide variety of scams aimed at exploiting vulnerable people in most services, applications and platforms. Chances are you receive messages with files or strange links that might eventually have you downloading viruses to your device, malwares or scams that try to mine your personal information. Keeping all this in mind, we decided to organize a special list with ways for you to avoid falling on internet scams, on WhatsApp, Facebook and even e-mail. Check it all down below!
Index of this article
1. Try not to click on random links
This tip may even be obvious to a lot of people, but there are still those who go around clicking on any link they receive out there. The simple fact that you click on the link can already open a security breach for someone who wants to break into your device or get your information, or simply trying to scam you in whatever platform or application you are on.
It can also initiate unwanted downloads or even crash your browser on your PC or smartphone. Linked messages can be sent on any platform or social network, so you need to be aware of what you are clicking on.
In general, internet scams that involve links usually do so with exclusive deals, discounts, unique opportunities or even threats that you will lose something if you don’t click. It is also common for scammers to impersonate certain companies such as Facebook, PayPal or even banks to force you to click on something.
If you receive any such message, check who sent the message. If it is from something that looks like a real company, research it to find out if the message is common or if it is a known scam.
2. Don’t pay attention to chains
This is another obvious but important tip. Chains can be a very efficient way to spread scams without the people doing it even knowing it. This is true for chain messages, mails and letters.
A good example is messages that say that you will get something if you click on a link and share the message with your contacts. Companies only do this type of promotion on their official websites or social networks and not through private messages.
So don’t go out sharing chains like that, even if the promised prize looks pretty good. Another good tip is to warn those who have already shared the message of this risk, after all, their information may be in danger of being misused.
3. Don’t download untrustworthy files
It’s also possible that you’ll see messages mentioning a new and unique app, which you can only get from a link sent by the person. Even if it’s a paid game or app that’s being offered for free, don’t download anything that’s randomly offered like that.
You will only be close to installing malware on your smartphone if you do so. So, avoid anything like that if you don’t want to fall for classic internet scams. These are very common on WhatsApp, social networks and even e-mail.
4. Don’t believe in “exclusive deals”
Another common tactic involves messages that promise special, exclusive deals for you. This can happen on any platform and usually asks you to download something or click on a link.
Nowadays, no company does this kind of thing outside of its official communications channels. Just go to the company’s social network or website to find out if the deal is fake.
5. Get in touch with the company responsible
The previous topic brings us to a very important point. If you are in doubt whether a company promotion, opportunity or message is real or not, just get in touch with them.
It is currently very easy to do this on the official social networks of these companies and they tend to respond quickly. It’s better to waste a few minutes on this than to believe any message you receive.
6. Don’t divulge personal information
Another important factor is that you should avoid giving out personal information via social media. This applies a lot to other cases we’ve already mentioned, such as scams promising special deals or discount coupons.
Other than that, it is common to see people mentioning their full names, where they work, where they live and much more to mere strangers. Pay attention and be as discreet as possible when talking to someone you don’t know very well. Constantly divulging personal information like that makes you a prime target for internet scams.
7. Don’t reply to strangers
It is common to receive messages from completely unknown people through any social network. This doesn’t mean you should answer them, especially if the person doesn’t identify themselves right away. Also, since the way to add contacts on WhatsApp involves the phone number, it’s not uncommon for someone to simply try to contact you by mistake. Even so, never doubt the possibility of malicious motives.
If you receive files, photos or videos from a number you don’t know, we also suggest that you don’t click on anything. It’s common to see people posing as acquaintances this way too, so always be suspicious when dealing with strangers on WhatsApp.
8. ALWAYS check who is sending the messages
No matter the situation, application or platform, you should always check who is sending you messages or files. This is one of the simplest and most surefire ways to avoid scams, especially on e-mail.
Most companies will never contact you through social networks privately, for example. Companies also do not send messages asking you to submit data or confirm information, which is common in email scams.
Other than that, companies will always have an official email address, so it’s easy to research and find out if the sender is fake or real. This is true even if the email looks legitimate, as many people buy domains specifically to mimic real addresses. To avoid internet scams entirely, it is very important to pay attention to these small but significant details.
9. Hover the mouse cursor over the link
Another valuable tip if you are in doubt whether a link is safe or not is to hover your mouse cursor over that link. In many cases, you will be able to see more link details in the lower left part of your browser this way.
With this simple act, you can see if the URL is different from what appears in the link or if it really seems to lead to the website that it promises. Even if everything looks ok, avoid clicking if the context in which you received the link is more suspicious.
10. Check security warnings
Some email providers can detect when you receive suspicious messages. Therefore, you will even see security warnings about a connection that is not secure or private, for example.
If you see any warnings in your emails, please do not ignore them. As much as possible, avoid clicking on something that trusted sources say is suspicious and you’ll have better chances of avoiding internet scams.
Did you like these tips to avoid falling for internet scams?
Lots of malicious people out there trying to get the better of you. Was this any helpful to you in avoiding internet scams? Do you know anyone that fell for them? Leave us a comment down below, let us know!