Anyone who gets a new email address will quickly find out about online scams. Unfortunately, some scam emails are convincing and appear to be legitimate. They may look like official communications from your bank, from an online service, or from social networks like Google™ and Facebook. When you follow the links emailed to you (which appear to go to the company’s official site), you may end up on a scam website that is designed to get your username and password. Afterward, you may notice unauthorized charges to your credit card, or find that your social media account has been hijacked, and someone posing as you is trying to scam your friends for money.
As a public service to our customers, here is a list of Web.com Scam Prevention Tips:
- If you get an email notifying you that your bank account has been closed, contact your bank directly, not through the link or phone number in the email.
- Avoid following links in suspicious emails, even if they promise interesting information. You may be taken to a site that installs viruses or spyware on your computer.
- When you input sensitive information online, make sure the site is secure. Usually there will be an icon in your browser that looks like a lock, and the address of the site will show “https://” instead of the usual “http://,” with the “s” indicating a secure page. If your browser says that the security certificate is not valid, avoid adding information.
- Although emails claiming you have won a lottery prize are not as common as they used to be, you should not reply to scam artists who send them to you.
- Avoid replying to scam emails sent to you, even if they offer a link to remove your email address. In many cases, scammers will create a new list from people who actually read the email, and then send more offers.
- Be careful about answering appeals for charities and disaster relief. Many scam companies will only send a fraction (or none) of your money to its intended recipient. It is usually best to give to established, known organizations.
- Be wary of scam offers for “free” medication, weight loss pills, or vitamins. In many cases, the first shipment is free, but you may end up making high monthly payments for recurring shipments.
If you believe that you’ve been the victim of a scam, it is important that you immediately contact your bank, credit card company, or any organization that a scammer can use against you. Change your passwords and notify anyone who may find themselves dealing with a person who is posing as you. For instance, if you have a social media account that’s compromised, you want to make sure your friends and relatives don’t send money to someone claiming to be you. You may also want to report scams to the Federal Trade Commission or your local authorities.
For more tips, the Better Business Bureau publishes a list of common attempts to defraud consumers.