Ex-scammers guide to protect yourself from online scams in the January sales

The January sales are something that many people take advantage of, however while a deal might seem good, it could be a scam.

It’s because of this that we’ve worked with ex-scammers to create a guide on how to protect yourself from online scams in the January sales.

We partner with great security vendors that provide their customers with the best protection for their online purchases. However, there are many simple tips that you can follow to ensure your time on the internet remains as safe as possible, and a great guide to share with your customers.

Signs that will help protect you from online scams:

1. Look out for the padlock on websites.

The padlock symbol next to the website’s address is a clear indication that this website is secure, and you can trust that if you put your bank details in, they will be safe. If there isn’t a padlock on a site, don’t put your bank details in.

2. Fake online shops.

Fake online shops are common. The best thing to do is to look for online reviews of the site and if possible, find a contact number and give them a call. If there’s no number, it could be a sign that the site isn’t legitimate.

3. Fake emails.

There are loads of fake emails out there and most of the time, you can recognise them instantly. However, scammers are getting smarter and they’ll make the email look like it’s coming from a legitimate company called ‘spoofing’ by putting the company’s name in the email and branding to deceive the recipient into clicking on a link in the email.

The best thing to do in this situation is to find the help email on the genuine website and email asking if it’s from them. If it’s not, mark it as spam, block the sender and delete it.

4. Beware of auction sites.

On auction sites, like eBay, scammers will claim they’re selling something but in reality, they have nothing to sell and will just take your money. To prevent this, you should look at the seller’s reviews and see the feedback they’ve had. If they have poor or no feedback, avoid them.

5. Phishing emails.

Phishing emails will focus on tricking you into visiting fake websites and entering personal information or bank details. If an email comes in from an email address you don’t recognise, Google it and see if anyone else has had a similar email from them. If you don’t trust the email, don’t click on anything and just delete it and block them.

6. Check if the price looks too good to be true.

On many of these fake sites, there are products for sale at very cheap prices. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is! Compare the product price to prices on other websites and see if there’s any other really good deals for the product. If there’s not one and it’s not a company or site you’ve been on or heard of before, it’s best to just avoid it.

7. Cheap merchandise.

If there’s a designer product that’s selling cheap, it’s usually a fake. The way to avoid being scammed in this way is to use logic and think about whether a designer product would be selling that cheap and look through the reviews the product has received.

8. Social networking scams.

You wouldn’t usually expect to be scammed through a social network but it does happen, and regularly. They are usually done by ‘friends’ of friends who try to offer you incredible deals that are scams. Avoid all deals by people you do not personally know on social media sites.

9. Fake cashback rewards.

Scammers will send mass-emails and request that you complete a survey and, in return, you’ll receive a gift card. Once you’ve completed the survey, you’ll see a list of what you’ve won and all you have to do is enter credit card details to pay the small processing fee and your prizes are yours. Instead, they take your credit card details and empty your account. To make themselves appear more trustworthy, they’ll pose as big retailers so that you recognise the name and take part. The best thing to do if you see this email is report it and delete it.

10. Fake charities.

Around the New Year, many people feel more generous and want to give to a charity to help those less fortunate than them. However, there are scammers out there that will take advantage of your charitable nature.

To avoid these scams, Google around and see if the charity appears legitimate. To do this, check if there’s any media coverage on them, check their website, social media pages and the recommendations people give. If there’s a lot of information from different sources, you can probably trust them

The January sales mean that there are loads of bargains out there, especially online. However, this also means that at this time of year people will take advantage of this mentality of cheap deals in January.

“We partner with vendors who supply security services so that people can shop safely online, and these sales have increased recently due to an increasing awareness of online scams. Since seeing this increase, we decided to team up with ex-scammers to ensure people are staying safe online this year, hopefully it makes people more aware of the type of scams there are and how to avoid falling victim to them.
— Craig Joseph
intY CEO

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