With the proliferation of scams and cons circulating right now, the online world can seem like the Wild West. However, taking just a few simple steps can help keep you out of a scammer’s sights.
Create Hard-to-Crack Passwords
You’d be amazed at how many people still use easy-to-guess passwords - such as their spouse or kid’s name, or date of birth, and deploy exactly the same passwords across multiple online accounts. Taking steps to create secure passwords is one of the easiest things you can do to steer clear of scams and cons.
Use passwords that contain a mixture of lower and uppercase letters, numbers, and special symbols, and no whole words at all. And be sure to use a totally different password for each online account you hold. A password generator is an ideal tool to ensure that every password you create is hard to crack and random.
In addition to strong passwords, consider adopting two-factor authentication (2FA) for an extra layer of security. This involves receiving a unique code on your mobile device, further protecting your accounts from unauthorized access.
Consider Connecting via a VPN
Using a VPN (virtual private network) connection is a cost-effective and convenient way to avoid getting hacked or targeted by scammers. Basically, this type of connection works by hiding your device’s IP address, so no third parties (or even your ISP) can view, intercept, or generally mess with the information you send or receive online.
VPNs are particularly useful to stay safe when using a public Wi-Fi connection. And the best thing is, if your secure connection goes down or is interrupted, the kill switch activates, so there’s no risk of being online and unprotected for a moment. This kind of services are really worth exploring.
Moreover, explore the option of encrypted messaging services for sensitive communications. Apps like Signal or Telegram prioritize end-to-end encryption, ensuring your messages remain private and secure.
Take Care If Using Online Gaming Websites
More people than ever before are using online gaming websites, and it’s no surprise why. For exmple, online casinos are becoming more and more popular. They offer a fun way to enjoy a flutter or some exciting high-stakes gaming action from the comfort of our own homes. However, it’s vital to ensure that any online casino you’re considering using is legit to avoid getting caught up in a scam.
Ensure it’s licensed by a stringent regulator, such as the UK Gambling Commission or the Malta Gaming Authority. This information should be easily found on the casino’s website, and verified, if necessary, with the relevant authority. Check lots of online reviews, too, such as this DraftKings sportsbook review, to get the best idea about the levels of service you can expect.
As technology evolves, so do the security features implemented by gaming platforms. Look for platforms that use advanced encryption and secure payment gateways to safeguard your personal and financial information.
Remain Vigilant for Phishing Attacks
Phishing cons are becoming both more prevalent and more sophisticated. This scam takes many forms but typically involves the recipient being sent a message that appears to be legit - perhaps from a store they regularly patronize or their banking service. The message asks the recipient to click through a link to, for example, see the latest sale items or verify their password information.
However, doing so takes the victim to a clone website, where their personal and/or financial details will be harvested by the scammers. To avoid this, never follow links that appear in a message - especially an unsolicited one. Head directly to the company or service’s website instead if you need to.
In addition to traditional phishing awareness, consider using browser extensions that enhance security by identifying and blocking phishing attempts. These extensions can provide real-time alerts, adding an extra layer of protection against deceptive online practices.
If It’s Too Good to Be True…
And finally, the most basic step of all. If it’s too good to be true - especially online - it almost certainly is. Taking a moment to always bear in mind this basic adage is one of the very best ways to steer clear of everything from romance scams to crypto cons, and protect yourself from online outlaws of all descriptions.
Developing a keen sense of skepticism and honing your digital literacy skills are essential in identifying potentially fraudulent schemes. Stay informed about current online scams, and leverage reputable websites and cybersecurity blogs for regular updates on emerging threats.
Navigating it safely requires a proactive and informed approach. By integrating these expanded steps into your online practices, you not only enhance your personal security but contribute to a collective effort in building a safer online environment for all users. When considering any online service, it's highly beneficial to look into customer reviews.
Customer feedback provides valuable insights into the reliability and trustworthiness of a service. Platforms with a positive track record and satisfied users are more likely to offer a secure and dependable experience. By taking the time to research and consider the experiences of others, you contribute to a safer online community and fortify your defenses against potential scams.