The internet is a breeding ground for scammers. It is possible to use the internet safely, as long as you are a “savvy surfer”. These are a few steps you can take to stay safe online.
Be careful on Facebook: No, clicking on that link probably won’t win you a free iPad. Facebook is a great place for scammers who want to spread spam – and viruses! If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t click on anything that offers you money for very little work or a chance to win a huge prize for answering a few questions.
Don’t respond to emails for your password: I occasionally get an email that’s alledgedly from PayPal asking for my account information. I also get ones from banks where I don’t even have an account! These emails will often send you to a website to collect your personal inforation. Your best bet is to delete them without clicking on the link. If you think it may be legitimate, call your financial institution (using the number you know is valid, not one provided in the email).
Don’t give to every charity: This may seem “uncharitable” coming from a blog that’s focused on nonprofits, but disasters are an especially great time for fake charities. If you’re drawn to an email or online appeal from a charity you’ve never heard of, do a little research. Check with GuideStar or the IRS to verify the organization.