The internet has created a whole new world of opportunities and changed how people conduct business, communicate and socialize. However, as the internet permeates into more aspects of our lives, crooks have sharpened their skills and you can easily fall victim to a scam. Scams are not limited to social media networks. Scammers are now big on e-commerce platforms and they are routinely fleecing people of their hard-earned cash.
Online platforms are continually improving online security for their users. However, you also need to look out for scammers and stay safe on the internet. Here is how:
Use strong passwords
Whenever you sign up on any website, you are required to set a password that you can easily remember and one that is as unique as possible. Passwords such as ‘born1982’ are pretty simple to crack for people who are tech-savvy.
You will need to set a password that uses a strong mixture of letters, numbers and characters such as * in order to stay ahead of scammers. Use a password like pI20*&gi16ame. The point is, mix up characters to make it hard for scammers to follow through with characters and crack your password. Make sure you also change your passwords on a regular basis and do not use the same password for multiple accounts and websites.
Read site safe use tips
Most trustworthy websites, particularly those that deal with transactions, have safety tips for their users. These tips are developed using best practices for each site and help users avoid being victims of scammers. For example, pigiame.co.ke, a leading e-commerce website, has a stay safe portal that guides users on how to best use the site to avoid being a victim of fraudsters. Take time to read such statements as they also act as legal bindings for users. Additionally, the tips will help you know what kind of scammers you might encounter and how to identify them.
Do not click on fishy popups and messages
Imagine you are reading something on your favourite website and a popup with the words “Congratulations! You are the tenth user and lucky winner of $50,000. Click here to claim your prize!”, appears on your screen. Tempting, right? Do not click on such messages and popups. They are usually attractive and have strong calls to action, Or you receive an email from a person you do not know and it has several prompts. Delete such emails immediately.
These are usually phishing schemes that link you to questionable websites which collect your personal data and use it you spy on you or get access to sensitive information. They can also download malware on your machine and be used to hack you. Do not fall victim to hackers who can cripple your life using your personal data.
Be careful when buying goods and services online
Online shopping is the “in” thing. All major companies give users a chance to order and pay for goods online. But, this has also created hay for hackers. Be careful when shopping online. Ensure that the website you are using is original and not a duplicate created by scammers to benefit from an online shopping platform. Do not share personal information if you do not trust a website. Additionally, scrutinize the contact information. Scammers usually have scanty information that does not reveal much about the company.
It is also advisable to use credit cards as opposed to debit cards. This is because credit card companies can usually refund fraudulent charges and you get a chance to get your money back. But of course, it is easier to avoid getting into such a mess in the first place by being careful.
Backup your data
Keep a safe backup of your phone and computer data so that in the event of a theft, you can retrieve this information and safeguard it. Hackers also steal gadgets and retrieve your information and this can be used to steal from you. So stay safe by backing up your data on a regular basis.
Use social media wisely
Social media has definitely made the world more open but with it comes the risk of exposing yourself to dangerous people. Do not post extremely personal information such as contact details and your weekend plans. These can and will expose you to danger as such information can be used to track you down and harm you. So use social media networks sparingly and keep personal information, personal.
While using social media, be careful with those you interact with. Avoid setting up meetings with strangers and sharing personal information. Scrutinize everyone who reaches out to you and ensure that they are legitimate. Do not share your phone number, address, location, and family details with people on social media. Keep your interactions minimal and basic.
Install firewalls and anti-spyware programmes on your gadgets
Windows comes with a pre-installed firewall but you can also install your own like McAfee, which is free. Firewalls ensure that unauthorized people do not gain access to your gadget.
On the other hand, anti-spywares take care of programmes such as Trojans which have the ability to scrutinize how you use your gadgets and pick out passwords and logins. Stay safe by installing a programme which will keep you protected.
While the internet has definitely made communication and business a lot simpler, there are some risks that lurk on this wonderful resource. Some threaten your identity and business transactions while others may pose a danger to your life. While companies have gone to great lengths to keep us safe on the interwebs, we must also do our part to stay safe on the internet.