Everyone knows the internet is full of scams. Although Nigerian princes and international lottery emails scream scam from the start, there are many other schemes not so easily recognized. Here are some ways the internet thieves take advantage of people.
While using your computer, you get a message that a virus infected your device. These messages look official but are hackers in disguise. If you click on the message, the computer goes to a site that requests money to fix the problem. Don’t fall for this! This scam only encourages you to give your personal information and credit card number and in return loads malware onto your computer. The thief gets your identification information, you lose your identity.
If the message is not from the preinstalled security program or from software that you installed, don’t click on it. Close the window and run your antivirus program manually. The scan will tell you if the message is legitimate or not.
Many game apps say, “free to play.” That is only partially true. For example, take the game Pokemon Go. Once you get involved in the game you realize to advance quickly or earn rewards you must pay. These extras usually cost around a dollar but, once you start buying, stopping is hard. You keep hitting the “OK” button and buy more until it totals quite a bit.
The best advice is never start buying rewards. You can still play the game, although it goes a little slower. Or, try stimulating your mind in other ways, write an email, call your mother, or read a book. You can even change the goal from winning to an alternative goal. Pokemon Go players might use the game like a pedometer, the more you play, the more you walk.
Even Celebrities Get Caught
To catfish someone means to falsely portray yourself to gain money or access to a celebrity. Brad Paisley and his wife exchanged emails and phone calls with a girl they thought was dying. Turns out a healthy 30-year-old woman from Wyoming pretended to be the girl. Although the country music star did not lose any money, the trick embarrassed both he and his wife as the news spread across the internet. Many other celebrities are victims of these type of scams.
Don’t Give Out Information
Dating sites are notorious for tricking people. Not only does your date turn out different than you thought, but also the person might ask you to give them money for an emergency. Not only do you not get your money back, but you never hear from the scammer again.
No one is immune from scam attempts. As technology advances and more people use smartphones and computers, more people fall prey to scammers. The best way to avoid temptation is to check it out first, give yourself time to investigate. And, never give your personal information to strangers or send money to people you don’t know. Beware of Nigerian princes or international lotteries that promise you millions but instead steal thousands.