While the internet has a lot of information and does a lot of good, there are also risks involved whenever you go online. Unfortunately, you may not know just how much danger you face. Every time you go onto your preferred web browser there is danger out there. Keep reading for six ways to keep yourself safe online.
Do Not Give Your Personal Information To People You Do Not Know
This might sound obvious, but if you do not know who you are talking to, do not give them your personal information. Especially if you just met them in a chat room. Personal information includes your real name, your date of birth, your social security number, and anything related to those things. This information is not safe online.
If someone gets a hold of one of these things, they can commit identity theft. Identity theft is where they steal everything that identifies you as a person in the eyes of society. Once you have had your identity stolen, you will be playing hell trying to get it back. In some cases, people have had to get entirely new driver’s licenses, social security cards, you name it. That is something you do not want to go through if you can help it.
Another thing that can happen, if you are dealing with someone who is good at tracking a person down. If they want to harm you, they might be able to track you down with enough personal information. Since you are probably the type of person who does not want to have their safety compromised. You need to be careful about what you allow a stranger to find out about you when you are chatting with them.
If a Site is Not Secure, Do Not Continue to the Site to Stay Safe Online
There will be times when you will encounter a warning that the site you are trying to go to is not secure. Especially if you are on public Wi-Fi or something similar that is not always the best when it comes to network security. When security is not at its best online, that lack of security can lead to hackers being able to get in and mess up your device. They can also get into your own network if you are browsing the web at home. You can always take the risk of continuing to the site, but it is not advised.
Install Ad Blockers
There are a lot of things online that can get tiring after a while, and one of those is the amount of ads that you will see while you are browsing. Fortunately, if you are sick of being tempted to purchase or watch certain things while you are just trying to scroll through social media, you can always install ad blockers. Ad blockers vary in levels of effectiveness, but the whole idea is to make it where hackers cannot get to you. You do not click on a pop-up ad that is nothing but beautifully decorated spam.
Do Not Click Attachments From Unknown Senders
One of the quickest ways that people can hack others is through their email inboxes. If you ever received an attachment from someone that you do not recognize, do not open that attachment. If you are not expecting an email, there is a good chance that you are being scammed. That attachment has code that is dangerous and could lead someone to hack you and steal your information. Be on the lookout for emails that have a lot of random letters or numbers in them. If they do not seem to come from a legitimate email address, or claim they are from a government agency. If you click the attachment, and you notice your computer acting strangely after the fact, act quickly. Immediately log out of everything on that device and change all of your passwords on a new device so the hacker cannot get into your accounts.
Only Visit Sites Appropriate For Your Age to Stay Safe Online
If you are not of the age to visit a specific website, do not go to that website. Usually, those sites have a security measure in place where they will ask either your date of birth or ask you if you are over the age required to visit that site. Though the temptation might be there to be dishonest and pretend that you are older than you really are, this can lead to a lot of trouble. For example, if there are graphic images or videos that you should not be viewing, or if someone is showing interest in you because you are lying about your age. You could get someone sent to prison because you lied and perpetrated that lie. No site is worth you ruining your life or someone else’s.
Do Not Fall For Email Scams
One of the most popular ways to scam people is through email. Email scammers have only gotten more creative with their stories. If you are not paying attention, you could easily get swept up in a scam yourself and cease to be safe online. Here are some situations that you should watch out for when you are looking at the emails in your inbox:
People claiming to be from government agencies.
- In this case, most scammers are going to pretend to be from the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) or from the Social Security Administration. Usually, the ruse is that you either owe a lot of money in taxes or that you social security number is going to be suspended. If you get an email like this, it is not real. Any government agency, specifically the IRS and SSA, will initiate communication by mail, not by call or email. The IRS will never call or email you, and the SSA will only call you if you have set up a scheduled call with them.
People with wild stories asking for money.
- Another common ruse that scammers like to use time and again is pretending to be someone with a fantastical story. Usually involving trouble and the fact that they need money, or involving an impossibly wonderful investment opportunity. The person they pretend to be can range from spouses of iconic figures to members of royalty. They may go so far as to forge driver’s licenses to make their stories more credible. Regardless of what they might say, if it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. Especially if they are pressuring you for personal information such as a bank account number. Even if it does sound legitimate, make sure you do your research. For instance, if you get an email from the spouse of someone who they say is in failing health. A quick search tells you that the spouse is actually dead, you are getting scammed.
Anyone asking for money in strange forms.
- Most email scammers will try to have you purchase gift cards, prepaid debit cards, or another method of nonrefundable currency that is hard to trace. They also might have you send money via a service like Western Union. If they are doing this, do not send them anything.
It can be exhausting to stay vigilant online, but it is worth it for your safety and the safety of others. Keep this article in mind, and make sure to take any precaution you can when surfing the web.