…It usually is. Always use that general rule when you are shopping online or looking for work.
If someone has found you to offer you thousands of dollars a month for a job that will take a few hours or you find a piece of software for 90% the original asking price, you need to start asking questions.
Things like this are big signs that something is a scam.
Phishing scams are all around. You may get something that looks like your bank or something from PayPal, Amazon or even a strange deal that looks too good to pass up.
Before you click any links, you need to make sure it is from the website you expect. If you are in doubt, you can contact your bank or the website directly by typing the expected URL into the address bar.
Got an email about a tax rebate? Delete it immediately. It may sound like money you’re owed but the tax man doesn’t send out emails.
If you wait, you may end up with a second or third email all stating different amounts! If you’re due a rebate, the tax man will write to you and address a letter directly to you.
If you come across a new website, check the reviews from previous customers.
Watch out for websites that only have good reviews – this could be a sign that the scammers have created fake good reviews to entice people. The more research you do, the less likely you are to fall into a scam.
Don’t type in your credit card details or login details without making sure the website is secure.
Always look in the bottom right-hand corner for a locked padlock or the address bar for https:// instead of http://
. These are signs that the details will be encrypted when you hit send so it is harder for scammers and hackers to get the details.
If you click an email or find a search result, check the URL to make sure it’s something you expect. For example, most will be www.[companyname].com or something similar.
Scammers are creating websites that look very similar to the originals just to get your details.
If you’re looking for online work opportunities, never pay for them upfront.
These include paid surveys, access to job boards and opportunities to write. The legitimate options will never ask for payment upfront; only scammers.