Internet Safety Basics 

This is a very simple to read piece about security and safety on the net as a precaution when transacting or signing up for services, especially where there is an exchange of money.


When it comes to safety on the internet, we all know the phrase, “one can never be to safe”, and on the net, one needs to be extra cautious when it comes to surfing and making use of services and sites on the web. One very important aspect is the safety and security of one’s personal information including credit card details and passwords.

Websites

All sites are now required to be secure, meaning that they have to have a level of security that protects your privacy and your information. One can quickly see this in ones browser as a quick reference to check if the site is secure. It’s very important that you visit sites that are secure in order to protect your data.


On your mobile device, it will usually render in the form of a lock sign where the website is displayed. Always ensure this lock symbol is present when transacting.


Where this becomes extremely important is when you are in the process of passing on any personal information such as personal security numbers, email and most important of all, credit card details. Always ensure that the site is secure, if it’s not, you may be compromising on the privacy of your information.


Should the site not be secure, be very wary of the information you pass on through the site.

Quick Pointers:

  • Check that the site starts with https:// and not http.

  • On pages where you are passing personal information, do not enter any personal details where the site does not say “Secure”. See below image shots for examples. This will be located in the browser address box

  • On payment pages, ALWAYS ensure the site is secure. If it is not secure, shut down the page and contact the company immediately advising them that the site is not secure and ask them to investigate. Take screenshots if need be.

  • If you have passed on your details, especially credit card details, onto a site that was not secure, monitor your credit card statements extremely closely over the next month.

Emails

Millions of people fall victim to email scams, with mails having very compelling titles and look exactly like that of one you will receive from your bank or service provider. Below I detail the top four tricks these guys are using!

  • Your $12 Million inheritance from some Prince… If it’s too good to be true, it probably is

 


Let’s be realistic now, what random person from across the world is going to find you and say, “Hey, I want to dump all my inheritance in your bank account for safety purposes”. This is by far, one of the oldest silliest tricks in the book, yet people still seem to fall of this day in and day out, costing millions in dollars from fellow citizens.

  • “You need to approve this transaction” – Web wallet fraud


I admit, once I received a PayPal email, and was convinced that someone was using my account. The email stated something like, “we have picked up some fraud on your account and we require your immediate attention”. As I was about to click the hyperlink (text that is clickable to an external link), I looked at the email address from which it was sent someone@hotmail.com – firstly how tacky, second of all, screw you! Googled email address for PayPal fraud, and quick and simple there was an email that you could simply forward it to. If you ever have this problem its spoof@paypal.com


And this is not just PayPal. This can happen through various web wallets like Neteller, Poli or Skrill – always check the link you are clicking on – easier to view on your desktop or laptop though.

  • Bank account transactions

Another one that has become quite popular is banks and bank accounts falling victim to fraud. The email looks exactly like an automated email you will receive from your banking intuitions, only difference is, the links within the mailer are replaced with spammy links that will collect your data such as your login and the password. Never ever click on these links, before you know it, they have installed tracking information on your device that will collect every bit of personal information you are logging.


If you suspect something, forward to your bank fraud department immediately. If you have clicked on the link, change your passwords IMMEDIATELY.

  • Revenue Office

 

When it’s time to file taxes, these ones rear their ugly heads. Yes, the ones that say “Mr Victim, your Tax returns have been filed, we need to pay you $441,297 back” Most of the times, the amount is rather ridiculous, but still people fall victim to this, and mostly it’s for identity theft and tax fraud! Be careful, if you have clicked it, change passwords immediately.

SMS

Be very careful of the infomercials you receive on your cell phones, you know the ones that say “reply yes”, sometimes these are spammy SMS’s that you end up subscribing to content.


Be careful of competitions online and in banners where you need to submit your cell phone number to win an iPhone. I once ended up subscribing to some daily content junk that cost me something like 20 bucks a month, I was beyond irate!


In summary

  1. Visit sites that are https://, have an S after http…

  2. Always check that the site is secure when inserting personal information by looking for the lock symbol

  3. Nobody is going to give you inheritance over email, this is just ridiculous!

  4. Check the links you are clicking on in the email especially ones from banking or government institutions.

  5. Always check the from email address in the “from” field on an email, not just the name, the actual email address. No banking intuition is going to message you from a Gmail or Hotmail account

  6. Be careful of subscription text services, very few people actually are aware that they will be billed secretly and wonder why their mobile bills are sky high.


Be careful of where you insert your cell phone number, some of these subscription services automatically subscribe you to services you are not aware of.


I hope this short guide helps you the next time you making use of the net. If you liked this piece and found it informative, please share with your friends.

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