As e-commerce sites and online transactions have become more popular the opportunities for fraud and scams have also increased. Just like any other type of fraud, online scams look for vulnerabilities or weak points and exploit them to walk off with your hard earned cash. Due to the nature of these scams it’s usually too late to try and claim your money back and you have to suffer the loss with little or no repercussion.
There are ways to stay safe though, so simply keep the following in mind:
When creating an online user account a password can be your first line of defense against fraudulent activity. Make sure all your passwords are different and contain a capital letter, symbol and number wherever possible. Change your passwords regularly for the best protection and ensure that they are not related to your identity such as your birth date or address.
Any site that accepts payment or confidential user details must be encrypted by an SSL certificate or similar digital security encryption. It’s easy to spot a site with SSL, simply look for the picture of the unbroken key or closed lock in your browser window, or identify the site URL as starting https:// as opposed to http://.
If you are making an online payment only do so through a recognized channel, utilizing a reliable service provider. For example, an iPhone casino site will only accept reputable credit cards or online voucher services to ensure that their players always receive their cash outs promptly and that all deposits are conducted via a secure channel.
Do not download suspect software or apps unless you are certain they relate to your payment facility. A quick call to your service providers contact centre can establish whether a download is necessary before transacting. Similarly, avoid opening emails or clicking on links from supposed service providers. These may execute a virus onto your computer that you have no knowledge of and your data may be compromised. Phishing emails and smishing smses are common ploys for criminals to try and gain access to your identity or banking account information.
Always be alert and aware
Regardless of how you transact online always be aware that there are criminals who will stop at nothing to get to your data. Protect yourself as much as possible by being informed and aware.
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