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Scam Alert: How To Detect Scams Online, 5 Experts Say


Scam Alert: How To Detect Scams Online, Experts Say

The internet has been around for a while, long enough for hackers to have gathered a lot of information about how people use it. They know that when you’re searching for something online, if they can produce the right content, you’ll be more likely to click on it. This is why so many scam alerts are popping up all over the web – especially those in your search engine’s sponsored ads or right after one of your Google searches. How can you tell the difference between what’s real and what’s fake? The following guidelines will help to detect an online scam alert and offer prevention tips.

The Anatomy of a Scam

Scams come in many forms and in a variety of forms. One of the most common types involves a thief pretending to be someone they’re not. This is called identity theft, and they might do it for a number of reasons, such as to steal money from your bank account or pretend to be someone who needs your help, such as a debt collector or a charity. To get you to click on their ads and call them for help, they’ll pretend to be a debt collector, a friend or even a law enforcement officer. Next on the list of common scams is the so-called sweepstakes scam, which is the scam that always seems to appear around the same time every year and tempts people to enter online contests, winning them lots of prizes, including a dream vacation or a car.

How to Detect an Online Scam

Here’s the deal. No matter how popular a website is, it’s ultimately not worth it to rely on it. Many websites run scams. The real stuff is only available to subscribers or those that pay for it. What makes it even worse is that search engines or people will pass your information on to the next scammer. Even if it’s a website that has a secure connection, you can’t tell if the website is legitimate based on the URL alone. They can change it to an easily identifiable URL – and so will the internet search engine. What you should look for is that your browser asks you if you want to give them permission to search your computer for you. If you don’t want them to search, don’t enter your computer. How do you determine whether you are typing into the search engine for Google or Bing?

Identifying Fake News (for those who are unaware)

If you see something in a news article that seems unbelievable, it might be fake news. Look to see whether or not it has been reproduced on multiple news sites. If there is one site that posts the story and others point it out as fake, that’s a sign that the news is fake. Some websites will post a link to a news story and give the website’s address and name of the reporter. These sites are more likely to be the scam sites than others. Another giveaway is when you see a post asking for comments. Comments sections are often used to receive criticism, and if you see a group of comments asking for others to comment as to why they did not click the link, it might be fake news.

Prevention Tips for Online Scams

“You’ve seen these Facebook ads, right?” – Matt Cutts, head of Google If you run into an advertisement that looks like it came from a reputable organization, you can be pretty sure it’s fake. It might even have the correct URL, but there’s no actual organization behind it. By the time you realize something is wrong, you’re already deep into a scam. Here are some tips to help you protect yourself:

✔Only click on the ad that pops up in the feed.

✔Read the description carefully and take it in context.

✔Scammers often take out a generic ad, and then create a second that is more convincing.

When in doubt, it’s always better to check a legitimate source than to believe everything you see online. A quick web search should answer all of your questions about any supposed deal.

Be careful with clicking on links

To prevent your information from being exposed, make sure you don’t click on the wrong links. If you’re not careful, it’s not uncommon for bad actors to use web algorithms to put hyperlinks within legitimate websites in order to trick you. This gives them the potential to become one of the more advanced web scammers out there. In a nutshell, once you click on a hyperlink, you can’t always tell if the page you’re on is fake. Some websites have been known to use javascript to fool you into thinking you’ve clicked on a real website, when in reality you’ve accidentally viewed another link, one that contains malicious code.

scam alert imageUse caution when giving your personal information

Many people are receiving online scams or warnings about scams based on their search history. For example, if you’re searching for a new home or apartment on a website with a name like Zillow, Redfin, or Trulia, you can be looking at scammers. “Fraudsters set up multiple fake Zillow sites, making it appear to consumers that they are looking for a home when in reality they’re sending out notices of mortgage and sale fraud,” says Nick Outlaw, founder of CIG, a California-based commercial insurance brokerage. Whenever you are searching for something online, look for the red flags: Find out if the company or person in question is real: If a company or person isn’t legitimate, you should know. Look for patterns: are they asking for private information or bank details that they should not be?

Keep your device updated and secured

Updating your device is one of the best things you can do to make sure it doesn’t get infected by a virus. However, keeping it updated doesn’t mean you need to install anything that someone could use to infect your phone and ruin your day. Instead, make sure you have an Android device (though this does require having a Google account and being able to log in) and use the Google Safety Center to check the most recent security patches. Once you’re connected to the internet, Google will notify you when you have an update and you can install it straight from your phone. Password security The modern world has made passwords hard to remember, so it’s always a good idea to keep your devices and computer’s password secure.

Know how to use privacy settings

Here’s one of the most important steps in the protection of your personal information online: know how to use privacy settings on social media platforms, search engines, and any other apps you use. If you click on a scam ad, and it has an embedded link to a compromised website, chances are that it’s going to take you to a page with your personal information up for grabs. Check out the page’s permissions, for example if the company collecting your data requires your phone number. Only install apps from official app stores. Change your passwords frequently. Think twice before giving out your email address.

Section 5 Conclusion

This blog post is intended as a general overview of the scam alert site landscape. Scam alerts are displayed to let you know when someone is trying to manipulate your experience or your finances online. They can appear anywhere on the web: in the very next section, right after you finish your search query, or in a featured snippet. In this section, you will find various scams as well as the websites that are working to warn you of them. The symptoms are subtle and easy to miss, but they’re there. The key is to understand the different indicators that a scam alert site has. Aspirational phrases Aspirational phrases are used in order to convince the visitor that the site is the only place to find this answer. Not all of these words are dangerous, but some might be.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


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Michealzjunior A.K.A Mjay is the CEO of mjblog, he is a soldier, graphics designer, web developer and also a blogger he loves sharing his thought on daily updates through his blog

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