Stay Safe Online
How do you spot and avoid getting scammed? My previous blog “Don’t make the same mistake I did” highlighted the story of how I got scammed in Canada, 1 month into being in the country. That story Of Course made me more vigilant and aware of what not to do and what to do in the future when it comes to this area. I want to share how I think you can avoid getting scammed, and what tips and strategies I would recommend.
Scammers are always on the lookout for their next victim, and it’s up to you to protect yourself from falling prey to their schemes. Unfortunately, scams come in many different forms and can be difficult to detect. From fake emails to phone calls and online ads, it’s important to be aware of the tactics scammers use to trick you. Here are some tips and strategies on how to avoid getting scammed.
- Be aware of the common types of scams
One of the best ways to avoid getting scammed is to familiarise yourself with the most common types of scams. These include phishing scams, lottery scams, investment scams, charity scams, and romance scams, to name a few. By knowing the types of scams that exist, you’ll be better equipped to recognize them when they come your way.
- Keep your personal information private.
This is probably one of the main ones because scammers are always looking for ways to obtain your personal information and use that to further their agendas, sometimes it is not all about getting money, but your identity, so it’s important to keep it private. Avoid sharing your personal information online or over the phone unless you’re sure you’re dealing with a reputable organization. This includes your Social Security number, bank account details, and credit card information.
- Use strong passwords and two-factor authentication.
We have seen numerous hacked social media accounts because of weak passwords and a lack of two-factor authentication. Using strong passwords and enabling two-factor authentication can help prevent scammers from accessing your accounts. Make sure to use unique passwords for each of your accounts and change them regularly. Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your accounts, requiring a code or verification from another device in addition to your password.
- Verify the legitimacy of organizations.
Before providing any personal information or making a payment, be sure to verify the legitimacy of the organization you’re dealing with. Check their website, search for reviews, and look for any red flags such as poor grammar in their offers or emails shared. Be especially cautious of unsolicited emails or phone calls that ask for personal information or immediate payment.
- Don’t fall for too-good-to-be-true offers.
Yes! Like I said in the previous blog, not everything that glitters is gold! If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Scammers often use offers of free money or quick returns on investments to lure victims into their traps. Be wary of promises of easy money and do your research before investing in anything. If you feel like it is, it doesn’t hurt to consult and get a second opinion when it comes to this.
- Trust your instincts
Finally, trust your instincts when it comes to dealing with suspicious offers or requests for personal information. I believe everyone can tell when something seems off or too good to be true, and at times that gut feeling is probably true. Take the time to research and verify the legitimacy of any offers before acting. Never be rushed to do something because of the timelines that they send you.
Staying vigilant and taking steps to protect your personal information can help you avoid falling victim to scams. By knowing the common types of scams, keeping your personal information private, verifying the legitimacy of organizations, avoiding too-good-to-be-true offers, and trusting your instincts, you can stay one step ahead of scammers and keep your finances and personal information safe.
Here is the Government of Canada’s take on avoiding scams. Scams that target Canadians.