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Tips on Avoiding Internet Scams

by Linda D. Yelverton

There is no question that the Internet has made a great impact on the economy. Individuals, small businesses, and large corporations are using this media to better their business, expand their operations, and reach more people. For the most part, people are using the Internet for specific purposes such as order processing, researching information, shopping, socializing, entertainment, and more. What the Internet brings to the economy, however, is not only change and opportunity but also numerous opportunities for fraud.

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Because the Internet provides an avenue for con artists to thrive, small business owners are constantly learning about how to avoid becoming victims of internet scammers. If you think that you may be a victim of internet scams, here are a few steps you can take to protect yourself from fraud.

Never respond to emails or faxes from email addresses that are not listed. When you receive an email from someone you do not recognize, send it to an automatic reply that shows that you are an automated reply. This makes it easier for you to find out if the person is not listed as a legitimate sender.

Look at the domain names that are used by internet con artists. You can check your spam folder or look in your junk mail folder. Any suspicious email addresses will usually have some clue that their messages are being forwarded to your address book by someone else, and you can follow up with that person.

Always change email addresses when you change your name. Scammers know that once they have your original email address, it is easy to get a new one. When you sign up for something, look over the terms and conditions of that offer.

Look over sites that encourage you to respond to email with personal details. Look for names that may have been similar to yours. When the scammer gets your reply, ask yourself if you would respond to an email address that used the same name as yours.

If you purchase online, make sure that you check the site where you are going to purchase your product. Look for testimonials from satisfied customers. Pay attention to any major problems they have had. When you buy from a site that has a bad track record, you should not choose that site.

Send money orders in writing and in secured mail. Do not use any form of software or a fake fax machine to send money orders. It may sound harmless, but the fact is that most scammers use either a fax machine or software to send fraudulent money orders.

Websites that claim to offer “free” tools or services often do not have what they offer for free. Check to see if the website has any kind of security. If they do not provide details, do not go there.

Many scam email programs can be designed to look like legitimate email programs, but they will not do any good. They will get your information and send it out to other scammer websites. You must exercise caution when you receive email from these sites.

Remember that it is always best to not give out your address or any contact information when you sign up for a free internet service. If you are unfamiliar with the subject of the website, this may seem like a good idea, but once you start signing up, you should consider the possibility that you will be giving out information. Always check for domains of reputable email providers before signing up.

The Internet can be a good place to meet people and learn a lot about a variety of topics, but it is not to be used as a means to commit internet scams. The key to protecting yourself is to take some simple steps to prevent the occurrence of these scams. If you wish to have an internet connection without worrying about scams, you should enroll in an internet service that offers protection for a monthly fee.

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