Protect Yourself from Internet Scams
Internet fraud costs Americans billions of dollars a year; with hundreds of complaints reported daily to the FBI. These scams prey on internet users’ fear, greed, and even good intentions. While scams can never be fully avoided and are constantly evolving, we can learn about them to protect our personal and business information.
Listed are a few reliable resources to prevent common scams and frauds.
- AARP.org: This beloved non-profit has a free helpline if you or a loved one suspect a scam (877-908-3360), ”Watchdog Alert” email newsletter, and a scam tracking map for viewing and reposting local fraud.
- USA.gov: Includes a variety of common scam sources in addition to resources for secure reporting and much more.
- FTC Consumer Information: The Federal Trade Commissions’ latest info on scams, conveniently sorted by category.
Common Internet Security Attacks & Phishing Scams
Just like the activity we know as “fishing” where people cast a line to catch trout or other fish for sport, “phishing” is a digital attempt to reel in a sucker. Avoid taking the bait: whenever something seems too good to be true, stop and get a second opinion.
Email from a Nigerian Prince
This commonly known scam is also one of the most obvious: an opportunity to profit by making a small advance payment sounds too good to be true…and that’s because it is! Never reveal private information or provide payment in advance for products or services.
Social Media Imposters
Many people have received a social media message from a friend or business with the same name and profile image as someone they know, only to realize it wasn’t actually their friend, but an impersonator! This is known as “spoofing”. Thankfully, social media platforms make it easy to report these fake users. If you receive a strange message from someone you haven’t seen in a while, don’t follow any suspicious links and check for doubles.
This is another spoofing-style attack where a fake website is created with a similarly named URL or a re-direct from the real URL. This fake website may be combined with compromised emails that appear to arrive from legitimate individuals from within a company but are only clever copies. If you suspect a website has been falsely duplicated, contact the business directly or report it to your local internet provider to prevent future issues.