Do’s and Don’ts to Minimize the Risk of Fraud
There are a number of things you can do to minimize the risk of being defrauded online. A little bit of vigilance and common sense can go a long way towards keeping you safe. Here are some dos and donts.
Do Protect Your Identity at All Costs
Shop only at reputable sites. Keep passwords secure. Change them regularly.
Dont Click on Links in Emails
Be especially vigilant if the email claims to come from your bank or a sender you don’t know. Many of these links will take you to a fraudulent site where they will try to get money from you. Or they might be phishing sites trying to steal your identity. They might also be spoof banking sites and PayPal to try to steal your username and password and thus gain access to the account.
Do Use Antivirus Software and Keep It Up to Date
These programs arent perfect, but they do offer a lot more protection than not having any installed at all.
Dont Store Credit Card Information at ECommerce Sites
One-click shopping can be very convenient, but with so many data breaches these days, the last thing you want to do is make it easy for cybercriminals to steal your financial data.
Do Be Vigilant about the Identities of Email Senders and Website Owners
It only takes a few minutes to check on whether or not the website or email contact information is legitimate. You can also go to Network Solutions WHOIS database to see who owns the site, how long it has been in business, and so on. https://www.networksolutions.com/whois/index.jsp
Dont Shop at Overseas Sites
US residents will get consumer protection shopping at a US-based site, but will have little to no recourse if you are scammed by an overseas site. Check the contact information and do a company search on Google as well.
Do Use a Credit Card to Pay, Not Debit Card or Check
A credit card will give you the greatest amount of protection from fraud. You have up to 30 days to report fraudulent activity, as compared with only 48 hours for debit cards. Issues with checks can take weeks to track down.
Dont Fall Prey to Fake Contest Scams
These scammers tell you that youve won a prize and will often ask for shipping and handling to get it. Then they have your financial information, address, and so on to do with as they wish.
Do Sign Up for Free Scam Alerts from the FTC
The Federal Trade Commission in the US keeps a watchful eye out for the latest scams, and posts them here: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/scam-alerts
Sign up for email alerts and check the page regularly to help keep you and your family safe.
Dont Get Scammed by Free Trial Offers
These can be used to steal your important information. They can also end up hitting your account with renewals each month if you are not careful. Check your PayPal account regarding autopayment settings and delete repeat payments as needed.
Do File a Police Report
Look up your precinct and file a non-urgent incident report. Having a record of going to see the police could help give you more protection if the fraud is extreme.
Do Report It to the FTC If You Are the Victim of a Scam
Go to https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1 and give full details of what happened. They rely on the public to help spot scams and stop them.
You can never be 100% safe online, but these guidelines will help minimize the risk of fraud.