When attempting to reduce my risk of falling victim to scams, particularly scams on the internet, I find that taking all electronic devices in my house and throwing them into a dumpster is the most effective. Barring that as an option, there are certainly less drastic measures we can all take to help lower the risk of falling victim to a scam. I have tried to give helpful tips and tricks to my friends and family to allow them to see through scams and cybersecurity attacks.
Perhaps the most important piece of advice for this is, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!” For instance, I once fell victim to a scam online in which I wanted to purchase a calculator. I looked around for a deal and found one from a third party seller that was a full 40% off! The problem was, the sale was ending in about three hours. I rushed to buy it, not wanting this incredible opportunity to go to waste. Well, I ordered it, and before I knew it the delivery date came and went. As you might have guessed by now, there was no calculator. I had made a classic mistake when it comes to scams. I bought into something that was too good to be true.
The second mistake I made that I strongly caution everyone else to avoid was I didn’t look at the time frame. What I mean by this is that often scams come with a very fast deadline so that you have to, “ACT NOW! LIMITED TIME OFFER!” What this does is create a sense of urgency in the victim, much like the calculator scam did with me. Just because something has a deadline doesn’t mean that it is necessarily a scam. However, a super fast deadline, especially for purchases or decisions that normally would have a much longer time frame, is certainly a red flag to be aware of.
Of course there are many other red flags and warning signs to look out for, and the Better Business Bureau has compiled some extremely useful resources that can assist you in better protecting yourself. In general, it is important to remember to practice caution in all of your online dealings with people you have never met. If you want to go so far as throwing all of your electronics away, that’s certainly an option. However, if you can stay informed about current scams, you can absolutely protect yourself from the worst consequences.