With the way technology has advanced over the last decade, it’s become all too common for people to be affected by scammers, criminals, stalkers, and imposters. Here are some easy tips to ensure you’re being safe while using the Internet.
WHEN IT COMES TO SOCIAL MEDIA…
In an era when fake news and malware runs wild via links on your favorite social media outlets, you should be aware of what you are clicking on in your feed. To avoid clicking malicious links or being taken to a fake news outlet, you can do the following:
- Take note of the headline, then open up a search engine to investigate the source it appears to be coming from. Personally, I am partial to the search engine website DuckDuckGo because it doesn’t track you, which is super important nowadays, seeing as a law was recently passed to allow Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to sell your browsing history.
Be safety-savvy on Facebook (and other media outlets) by doing the following:
- Be careful who you share private information with. It’s hard to tell sometimes if the person on the other end of the line is scamming you. So trust your gut. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Watch out for those catfishes, vina!
- Lock down your privacy settings so the general public, or maybe just certain people, cannot access some of your more sensitive information, such as birthdates, names/info about family members, photos of your children and home possessions.
- When you’re on vacation, don’t post photos or trip details until after you’ve returned. I’ve heard horror stories from friends who were broken into while on vacation, and the culprit ended up being a random Facebook friend. Don’t put yourself in that position—your posts can wait!
WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR WALLET…
If you love to shop online, make sure you’re purchasing from trusted vendors. If you see something on a unique online boutique, browse for a PayPal option or use a major credit card.
In the event of a scam, often times PayPal or major credit cards will cover your losses and help you rectify the situation. Be sure to speak with card services or PayPal support immediately should you become the victim of fraud.
Do not click on ads. Even if it appears to be from a trusted vendor or source, some ad links can infect your system with malware or spyware. You’re safest if you just don’t engage. If you see a killer deal on an ad, take note of the vendor, and pop open DuckDuckGo to search for the actual website. Sure, it takes *slightly* longer, but it’s nice knowing your device isn’t going to get a virus because of your impulse to click on the first deal you see.
Do not, under any circumstances, open a link from an untrusted source! A good rule of thumb I follow is this: If it looks shady, lady, it probably is! If I don’t know the sender, I won’t click the link. And neither should you!