Everyone that is on the internet is searching for something. You could be shopping, watching movies, researching subjects for school, looking for a new recipe or hoping for that new job opportunity. Websites provide information to you while collecting information about you. Almost every website asks for your email address to send you offers or give you access. Yes, even mine collects certain data so that we know what people are interested in learning about. Not all of them are malicious, certainly not mine. If it made you feel any better, I worked in the US government for 12 years before recently resigning.
Ways to Protect Your Privacy Online
Whenever you visit a website, make sure the URL is secure. And how will I know? Easy, the little padlock. Every secure site should have the padlock with https: and if it doesn’t, it’s unsecured,unsafe for your privacy. Scam websites are meant to look legit and convince you that it’s safe.
Be selective with the websites that you give your email address to. Email addresses get sold to third parties and you get a pile of spam emails with offers that are too good to be true. Delete emails from any source that you don’t know. Especially if it reads *You’re the winner* or “You’ve inherited $2 million*. They are phishing for your bank information. My mother-in-law fell for the inheritance one many years ago, she lost a few hundred dollars.
Read the terms and conditions before agreeing. I know this is time-consuming but so is having identity theft.
Understand what cookies are and what they do. Internet cookies are small text
files that are placed on your web browser or computer. A cookie is created when
you first visit a site that wants to store information such as a name, an
expiration date, a coded number, and the domain name of the visited site. The
cookie tells the site that a computer with code ABC has returned and records
your activities and preferences on your previous visits.
When you choose an app for your phone, tablet, laptop or PC, make sure the permissions as limiting. What does that mean? Some apps ask permission to access your camera, email, contacts, pictures and SMS. Do you really want to allow an app that is controlled by someone you don’t know that will record your conversations, open the camera and watch you, call your friends posing as you to get information? The battery life won’t be the only thing that gets drained from the app.
Check for bogus profiles on social media sites, selling platforms like Craigslist, and job sites to name a few, I’ll share my story later. It’s true there are lots of ways to make money and there’s lots of ways to lose it too. Poor grammar, celebrity photo, poor work history with a fancy degree, lack of social updates, offers that are too good to be true and photo shop pictures without content. You may see a profile that has no picture, just a name and maybe basic info. Stay away!
Send A Clear Message
Do your research and know how to stop thieves from getting your information, tell them “you have no power here”. They can only get to your bank account and more if you let them. Simply ignoring them is like closing your eyes during the fire and saying “you’re not here”. It is there and will destroy everything. Scams are everywhere, not just the internet. Online makes it easier for the criminals to hide and sometimes harder to find even for the government.
Most institutions, agencies, universities, and corporations have information open to the public regarding recent scams and how to handle the situation. Check the legit site of the company or call them to find out if they have been trying to get a hold of you for any reason. Emails that have links in them from an unknown source, delete. Those links give an all access pass to your information. Remember to check the spelling, it’s a simple give away clue. Set up your email to only accept people in your contacts and all others go to spam folders that get deleted after a few days.
I have been looking into freelance work and found myself almost scammed. I was interviewed by Fred Ehrsam for a customer service position with Coinbase, or so I thought. I was told that I would get a monthly salary allowance of $5k, a new apple laptop and mining equipment as I was going to be on the mining team as well. Sounds great, I thought. I don’t know a lot about digital currency but I know it is the future and if I’m getting trained and paid that well, it’s great, right?
It was great until I was asked to wire $500 cash to a “vendor” in another state for the training materials! What?! I can understand how this works with some companies but I didn’t really have it to spend since I had to pay my mortgage. I justified it in my brain that I would be making 5K a month and can get out of debt quick. I signed up for a money gram account online and got the information verified with Fred. My instincts were going crazy. You know those crazy bells that go off in your head or stomach about someone or something? Yeah those. Even though I had a strong feeling, I clicked send. I had a hard time sleeping that night knowing I risked my house for a “job”. Yes I can hear you call me a dumb ass.
Lucky me, money gram is used to scams and on top of them. The transaction was canceled, my account was closed, and I had every dime back in my account by dusk. Fred told me to go to Walmart and try again, what an idiot! I told him that I hope the Feds catch him. I blocked him and reported him to the site that I was using. The site is https://www.peopleperhour.com/. Lesson learned!
The real Fred Ehrsam is no longer the co-founder of Coinbase from the research I did. I did tweet him too to let him know. I found a site that reports frauds and this was on the radar. I realize that millions of people every year get scammed by crooks and it’s horrible. It’s up to us as consumers to educate ourselves. It’s a way to arm up against criminals, knowledge is power.
If you are looking for a legit site that will teach you everything you need to know about earning a passive income over time, check out my post about Wealthy Affiliate. If you found this article to be helpful, please leave a comment below.