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Online Scams – How to Avoid Them and Stay Save

At some point in our lives, we have all been told by our parents not to talk to strangers. Many years back, that simple instruction was enough to keep us safe, but in this new world of technology, talking to strangers has become almost unavoidable. So we can no longer rely on that rule to keep ourselves safe; instead, we must seek knowledge to better understand the concept of online scams and how to avoid them. 

When you meet a scammer in person, there is a high chance that you will ignore them and see the glaring signs of fraud around them. However, getting scammed online is a different ball game. It is very easy and far more dangerous because you will spend a lot of time alone with the scammer, and it’s easier to access your sensitive information online than when you meet a scammer in person.

So in this guide, you will learn the different types of online scams and how best to avoid them. 

Shopping Scams

Online Scams
Online Scams

This online scam is rampant, so it is pretty challenging to prevent, but you will not fall prey to it if you are careful enough. Shopping scams involve buying products online that never arrive or are of inferior quality. 

The scammers always offer expensive items at a lower price to entice people, and losing the money you sent to them may be too painful, but what is worse is paying with your credit card details which they can always access at will. 

 

How to Avoid This Scam

If you are buying products from an online store or vendor for the first time, ensure you are buying from a reputable marketplace like Jumia, or Konga. However, if it is an individual store, you must follow some simple rules to stay safe. 

It will be best to pay by transferring from your mobile banking app or using a USSD code rather than providing your card details. Another great option is to opt for the payment on-delivery method if it is available; just to be on the safer side. The second is usually my preferred option when buying from an individual store.

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In addition, you must ensure that the site is secure and that they have genuine reviews and satisfied clients. If possible, don’t hesitate to contact their previous customers to be sure. Lastly, start with small and cheap items to confirm the authenticity of the online store before buying larger quantities or expensive items. 

 

Cryptocurrency

Online Scams
Online Scams

Although cryptocurrency has been around for a while now, not everyone still fully understands the concept. As a result, some people jump on it without seeking prior knowledge of how the market works.

So this online scam involves paying for cryptocurrency online, but the person will refuse to send it as promised, or you may be asked to make an initial investment in a company or platform with the promise that you will be rewarded with some coins. Sometimes they keep bringing more conditions that you cannot meet until you give up on the investment, or the coins they will give you will be worthless. 

How to Avoid This Scam 

Buy cryptocurrency from only trusted platforms, and ensure you use a secure wallet to hold your coins. Do not invest in any unconfirmed company. Ask questions about the company and do your research; you will find the truth about them.

Also, do not log in to your wallet on public devices or other people’s devices; if you do, ensure you log out and delete all history. 

 

Fine Print Scams

Online Scams
Online Scams

Fine print scams are very dangerous and can cause many problems for people. We mostly ignore all online services’ terms and conditions because they are always too long to read, so we agree to them without knowing what it contains.

However, it turns out that less reputable platforms and companies have terms and conditions that allow them to take more money from you, and when you try to find out what happened, they simply show you the agreement.

For example, you paid for a subscription that lasts for a month, but the terms and conditions state that after the first week, you will be charged an additional fee for something else, which is usually exorbitant. 

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How to Avoid This Scam

The best way to avoid this fine print online scam is to better research the service provider or company and read through all terms, conditions, and policies before agreeing to them. Also, try to remove your card details after the payment has been deducted. 

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Digital Kidnapping

Online Scams
Online Scams

This might sound scary, but it does not involve actual kidnapping; digital kidnapping simply refers to a situation where online scammers will hijack your social media accounts and demand a ransom to return access to you. What makes this very bad is that they can make posts that will defame your character, and if you run a business online, this will directly affect your reputation. 

How to Avoid This Scam

Do not share your social media login details with anyone, even your closest friends. Also, remember that because some of us use the same password for everything, it is easier for scammers to find and use it against us. So try using different passwords for your social media accounts. To make your accounts more secure, you can also try adding 2-factor authentic, – this will ensure no one else can access your account without your consent. 

Finally, do not click suspicious links that require you to register for anything because you may likely use the same email and password you use for other essential things. 

 

Dating and Romance Scams

Online Scams
Online Scams

This is also a very common online scam that comes in different dimensions. Someone can make you fall in love with them online, and they will start a relationship with you. As time progresses, they will find reasons to ask for money, and your emotions will not allow you to say no. 

How to Avoid This Scam

Do not send large sums of money to online lovers, and if you start any relationship online, find a way to meet them as soon as possible before you completely trust them. Then, again, do not send money to people for them to visit you; if they are interested in the relationship as much as you are, they will make contributions too for it to work. 

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Lastly, do not send erotic pictures or nudes to your lover online; no matter how much they pressure you to do so, it is unsafe, and you do not know how long the relationship will last. 

 

False Surveys

Online Scams
Online Scams

If you frequent the internet, you must have encountered numerous surveys with the promise of payment upon completion. 

Surveys are used to collect information for research, and it has been around for ages; however, some of them are now used to collect sensitive information from people to scam them. 

How to Avoid This Scam 

Ensure you take only surveys that come directly from a company or organization, and avoid surveys that offer too many mouth-watering benefits upon completion; they are most likely fake. 

Do not give out personal details or sensitive information during a survey and it will be best to check their authenticity online before participating in any survey.

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Just like in the past when people believed not talking to strangers or suspicious people was enough to keep them safe, some people still think like that now. However, in today’s world, it is not so. 

Scams can find you from different angles, so now that you know the various online scams and how to avoid them, you must be extra careful to apply this knowledge to all your online activities.

In addition, it is best to teach your friends and loved ones about online scams because when enough people are enlightened, the rate of cyber crimes will drastically reduce. 

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