Protect Your Privacy — 6 Signs of Online Computer Scams
With all the privacy scares presented in the news lately, you must do your part to protect yourself. Look for signs of scams while you use social network sites, send and receive e-mails, and download content from sites.
Signs of suspicious activity on sites and in e-mail include the following:
E-mails not addressed specifically to you – Some exceptions do apply. However, if a site specifically tells you that they address you by first and last name, watch out. If you receive a message that supposedly is from the same site and doesn’t include your first and last name, don’t reply to it. Forward a copy of it and report it to the website security support team. It could be a phishing scam, especially if you are told to click on a link.
- URL doesn’t appear to be valid – Perhaps, a real URL was redirected to a fake page. If a page of a site you are on doesn’t appear as you remember, then consider reporting it. You can never be too careful. First you might want to find out from the website owner if it is a real link on their site if you don’t know. Confirmation that it’s a real link could save you.
- Design of page not quite the same – Look for any signs the page you are on is different than normal. If you haven’t heard of any site changes lately, consider this a sign of danger. It could be a fake page trying to mimic a real one.
- An unfamiliar e-mail address – One way to recognize an unfamiliar e-mail address is to create a whitelist of preferred senders. This will help you distinguish between those and any unmarked message you might receive from an address you have never seen before.
- Mass e-mail sent to you and other familiar addresses – If you receive a message in your inbox and it’s from an unknown sender who put quite a few similar addresses in the “to:” field, that’s a sign of fraud. At the very least, it’s a terrible attempt to spam people. Either way, just watch out.
- An almost too good of an offer to be true – If you feel excited by an offer but yet are not sure how it could be possible, maybe it’s a scam. Don’t fall for it. You may want to do some research before you make a purchase. Read reviews, watch forum threads, and view news videos. Make sure what you are about to sign on to is true.
Other Protection Advice
Make sure you erase your browser history frequently. You can also use an alert system that lets you know if a site is malicious. It also helps to clean up your computer registry as often as possible. Run your virus scanner as often as possible, too.
When in doubt, bypass any opportunity you think is suspicious. If it seems like a legitimate service but you still aren’t sure, contact the site owner about it before you place an order.
- Photo provided by: Guest blogging community
By Erin Walsh
Erin Walsh regularly alerts people of common computer issues and teaches them how to nurse their machines back to health. You can find her on the PC HealthBoot Blog.
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