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Your complete guide to avoiding dangerous online scams

22 January 2016, 09:00Lynn Butler

Getting scammed online is still a massive problem. The scammers come up with new ideas regularly and unwary people fall for it every day. To avoid fraudsters stealing your identity, your money and perhaps the ultimate worst, your pride, we’ve rounded up excellent tips to protect your goods.

Be wary of emails and messages encouraging you to:

-    Help the less fortunate
They pull at our heartstrings and ask us to donate our money to the underprivileged by depositing money into an account. Before you do so, make sure the organisation is legitimate. Do your research.

-    Buy expensive items for relatively cheap
Unless it’s from a reliable site, don’t click on it, don’t fall for it. If it's too good to be true, it is exactly that.

-    Do the ‘free’ trial
These services usually require you to give your bank details for ‘verification reasons’. Once the free trial expires they’ll start charging you for a monthly subscription – which is often non-refundable.

-    Watch out for emails congratulating you on winning money

You’ve received a SMS saying that your number just won R1 million - it’s not real and it’s not that simple. You haven’t won anything… Never reply to these messages, as they can take airtime from you either monthly or weekly. Unless you’ve entered a competition from a particular site you are being tricked. You will never, ever win money for simply having an email address.

How to avoid them:

-    Don’t click on hyperlinks in emails, unless you’ve signed up for it. Delete unsolicited emails - don’t even open them.

-    Watch out for spelling and grammatical errors in the message. 

-    Avoid emails or websites with too many pop-up ads. Clicking on them can spell disaster.

-    Always ensure that you are logged into a secure site – the website URL prefix must have an s at the end, i.e. it should appear as https://www.

-     Never make a big purchase like an apartment or computer without seeing it first. It could be a scam.

-     Download unroll.me on your phone. This app clears all junk mail and combines all your subscription mails into one ‘rollup’


- News24


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