Imagine going online and seeing a link to win a free cruise. The link, website, and entry form look and feel legitimate. The form asks you for your name, address, and contact information, which is a common request and one we may be comfortable providing. Then the site asks for a credit card in order to enter your name. What should be your next action? This is an internet scam and just one of many different ways criminals are infiltrating you and your loved one’s lives.
It can be difficult to differentiate between a legitimate website and a fake one but there are several steps you can take to protect yourself from internet scams. Anyone can be a victim of an internet scam but older adults are common targets because they may not be as confident or as knowledgeable as those who grew up with the internet. Use the suggested tips below to educate and protect you and your loved one from internet scams.
4 Tips to Protect Against Internet Scams
Update the computer’s anti-virus and security software. Take the time to update your loved one’s computer protection software. There are many programs out there so take your time researching the best product (if you don’t already have one). This will help to prevent viruses from stealing any private information. Remember, only download programs from websites you know and trust.
When making online purchases look for the padlock. When entering your credit card information to make purchases, only do so through a secure network. This is commonly identified by the padlock symbol in the web browser followed by https://. If you don’t see this symbol, think twice about entering in your information and research the company to make sure it is real.
Avoid online entry forms that ask for your information. Criminals will use what look like contest or free giveaway entry forms to draw in potential victims. You should only provide your credit card or bank account number if you are actually purchasing something from a company that you trust.
Be on the look out for unsolicited emails. Don’t open or respond to the email that requests you to send money immediately to someone you may or may not know. No matter how convincing the email may appear, it is a fake and is pulling at your emotions to help. Delete these emails immediately and mark the sender as spam or junk.
Remember, the best way to protect you or your loved one from internet scams is to remain vigilant. You can help your loved one by staying involved. Talk to them about internet scams and review the tips above as ways to prevent them.