Wednesday, March 27, 2013

How to Tell You’re Getting Scammed on the Internet


It’s a fact that most people believe that they would never fall prey to an internet scam.  While we have all heard tales of people being scammed, most of us believe that it couldn’t happen to us.  Though many of the tricks of the trade for internet scam artists have gained a certain level of notoriety and seem easy enough to avoid, there are also other lesser known practices that keep the criminals in business.   It is important for all internet users to continue to be vigilant in protecting personal information.  Here are just a few tips that can help protect you from getting scammed.

Don’t just assume that your email inbox is fully protected from spam.  While most spam is now automatically filtered out of email, it is possible for some to break through. There are a few ways you can tell if something is not legit.  If you receive an email with hundreds of other email addresses in the recipient field, but with a message directed to just one person, it is likely to be a scam. 

As are emails with nonexistent or generic subject lines from an unknown sender.  It is best to leave these emails unopened.  Other tip offs that should cause you to take pause are emails where the only content in the body of the email is a link.  Likewise when a link is shortened and does not display the actual address.  If you are curious about the true content behind the link, you can use a link expander such as LongURL to view the actual content before you click.

The next group of tactics used by scam artists can be evaded with simple common sense, though it is worth reminding.  These types of things that should easily alert you to a scam email include messages written entirely in caps lock, strange requests, and mistakes in grammar and spelling.  Another tactic often used by scam is to try to get the reader to feel a sense of urgency.  An email claims that there is a life or death situation and the only solution is for you to immediately wire money.  These emails are best left in the junk pile.

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