The internet has made it easy for us to make a transaction anytime from anywhere in just a few clicks. It only takes one wrong click to land you in big financial trouble. 

Here are 4 ways you could be scammed:

1. Scammers pretend to be from an organization you know.

Scammers often pretend to be contacting you on behalf of the government. They might use a real name, like the Social Security Administration, or make up a name that sounds official. Some pretend to be from a business you know, like a utility company, a tech company, or even a charity asking for donations.

Sometimes, they use technology to change the phone number that appears on your caller ID. So the name and number you see might not be real.

2. Scammers say there’s a serious problem or a prize.

They might say you’re in trouble with the government, or you owe money, or someone in your family has an emergency, or even that there’s a virus on your computer.

Some scammers say there’s a problem with one of your accounts and that you need to verify some information.

Others will lie and say you won money in a lottery or sweepstakes, and they need your bank details to transfer the money to your account.

3. Scammers pressure you to act immediately.

Scammers want you to act before you have time to think. If you’re on the phone, they might tell you not to hang up so you can’t check out their story.

They might threaten to arrest you, sue you, take away your driver’s or business license, or deport you. They might say your computer is about to be corrupted.

4. Scammers tell you to pay in a specific way.

They often insist that you pay by sending money through a money transfer company or by putting money on a gift card and then giving them the number on the back.

Some will send you a check (which later turns out to be fake), tell you to deposit it, and then send them money.

Whether you are regular with online banking or feel skeptical about it, some safety measures while making a digital transaction are a must.

Basic awareness about online scams can help you avert a financial tragedy. Here are the seven most effective ways to protect yourself from online fraud and safeguard your digital identity.

1. Use verified apps only

Mobile apps have changed the way we shop and transact. Every time you install an app on your device, make sure you are using a verified app. Whether it’s a financial app or a new game, download only from official sources like Google Play Store, Windows App Store, or Apple App Store.

2. Browse on authorized websites only

Beware of imposter websites that may look professional or carry the same domain name as the original one in the URL. Look for the “HTTPS” in the URL and the lock icon on the address bar of your browser.

3. Use secure connections only

The urge to use free WiFi at cafes, hotel lounges, or airports can increase the chances of a cyberattack or scam.

Avoid using public hotspots, especially for making financial transactions. Public networks are more prone to the risk of data theft since their encryption can be cracked easily to access your account’s crucial information.

But if you really need to use the WiFi in public spaces, then make sure to use a good VPN, like Surfshark or NordVPN.

4. Be alert when making card payments

There are dozens of incidents of cards being cloned by skimmers since the card was out of sight while the transaction was done. Always make a card payment in front of your eyes. Be sure that the POS(Point-Of-Service) machine is 100% genuine. 

If you notice that purchases have been made with your bank card but without your approval, you must quickly block the card either from the bank’s app or by calling the bank directly, allowing you to limit the extent of your financial loss. Don’t let anyone steal your hard-earned money because of your negligence.

5. Do not compromise on security software for devices

Everyone wants their payments to be secure, but how many of you pay attention to your mobile and computer’s security software, web browser, and operating system? Most of us tend to postpone critical security patches until later, which could be disastrous.

Here are a few tips you can take to improve your device’s security:

  • Update your desktop and mobile security to prevent scams and cyberattacks. 
  • Also, always set up strong passwords with a combination of special characters, letters, numbers, uppercase, and lowercase. 
  • Don’t forget to change the passwords on a regular basis. 
  • And most importantly, set up two-factor authentication.

6. Do not share personal information with anyone

Never share your personal information online or offline, unless you are absolutely sure about the authenticity of the representative. 

There can be a possible scammer hiding behind a stranger or any third party posing as an executive from a bank or financial institution. Always verify the identity of the person asking for your financial details. Bank authorities never ask for sensitive information like an OTP(One-Time Password) or CVV(The number behind your bank card) on calls. 

Also, this should go without saying: sharing important financial details like bank name, branch, account number, etc on social media is a big NO.

7. Never click on suspicious links on SMS or emails

Link baiting, spurious emails, and SMS are the most common forms of trapping people into fraud. These links may seem genuine and attract your attention with claims of a lottery or a job overseas. Do not follow any such links, as they may lead you to a phishing site and rob you of your mobile’s security features. It’s better to hang up in case you receive an unsolicited call.

In case your debit or credit card is lost or stolen, informing the bank immediately and getting it blocked is the first step to avoiding a financial loss. Timely blocking the card can save your financial security from being compromised.

Every year, thousands of people fall prey to banking scams with scammers finding more innovative ways of grabbing your attention and trust to get to your money. These simple measures can help you protect yourself from becoming a victim of online fraud.

8. Be aware of imitation websites. 

Sometimes it may happen some people with malicious intentions try to imitate a website, a brand, or a service inducing people into error. This is usually done to steal customers from legitimate service providers and even to defraud them into disclosing sensitive information.

Make sure to check the URL when you see the links in blog posts and social media. For example, lowcostwebagency.com must have .com at the end of the URL and no other extensions(.ca, .org, .eu).