The online world can be an incredible place to share information and ideas. It has brought humanity closer together than any other time in history, and for the most part, without consequence.

Unfortunately, when there is opportunity to exploit, victims can be found. And in the darkest crevasses of the internet, some have made it their sole purpose to extract from others.

In the US, one in ten adults will be the victim of a scam every year. And for those approached by scammers on social media, 91% engaged, and 53% lost money. 

So in order to avoid the increasing efforts of fraudsters to get their hands on our hard-earned money – we must be diligent. And preemptively avoid the scams to preserve our sanity.

1. If It’s To Good Too Be True…

You must have heard the saying ‘if it’s too good to be true’?

Well, in the case of online safety, it probably is.

Don’t get me wrong, there are totally legitimate ways to make money online. In fact, recently I have had much success selling stock photos online. The earnings aren’t huge, but the payouts are real.

The point is, there are so many people looking to make a fast buck on the web that the potential to be scammed is huge. All it needs is a savvy online marketers to pull on your emotions and draw you in.

This can be avoided though by showing extreme due diligence during your online activities. If the promise of big easy money is dangled in front of you, then be sceptical. Walk away and turn your attention elsewhere.

Money can be made, but it’s almost never easy and certainly not for huge amounts.

2. Research, Research, Research

The web may be full of scammers and fraudsters but it is also a community of likeminded good people. There are a plethora of places you can go to research different services, products, promotions, websites and schemes in order to verify their validity.

Trustpilot is an incredible resource to determine the trustworthiness of a website or business. If you come across somewhere that you feel slightly uneasy about, do a quick check.

There will almost certainly be loads of reviews that will quickly give you an insight. And heres a great tip. If you can’t find any information during your research, that should be alarm bells in of itself.

Therefore stop what you’re doing and move on. Better to be safe than sorry.

3. Get Technical

Unfortunately the scammer out there have got pretty proficient at taking our money without us even knowing. If you have seen the TV series ‘mr Robot’ then you will know what I mean.

So does that mean they can just hack you whenever you’re online?

Well, yes and no.

Although some of the greatest hackers and fraudsters do have the ability to rip us off just because we are connected, doesn’t mean we need to make it easy for them.

There are a number of critical steps you can take to ensure your hardware is in the best shape to defend against attacks. And to protect your personal information.

Just think of your computer much like your home and the way burglars operate. In most circumstances they could quite easily attempt to break into any home of their choosing.

But on a street of 10 houses with 9 having an alarm system, which one do you think they would pick?

You need to take measures to ensure your computer is a fortress, and this is not as technologically challenging as it may seem. You can read this fantastic post from Norton security which outlines 10 exact steps you need to help protect yourself online.

The stress induced by falling victim to these criminals can be mitigated and outright avoided if you plan, prepare and implement.

Your sanity and safety online is important.

Take the necessary measures, and stay protected.