5 Common Internet Scams & How To Avoid Them - The Smiling Heart

5 Common Internet Scams & How To Avoid Them

The internet can be an incredibly dangerous place filled with cybercriminals, scammers, viruses and more. It is for this reason why every user must educate themselves and know how to use the internet safely so that they can avoid falling victim to a cyber threat which could result in very serious consequences. Unfortunately, these cybercriminals are constantly finding new ways to infiltrate people’s computers, which means that you must also be aware of the latest scams and how you can protect yourself. Read on to find out what the main threats are when using the internet and the steps that you can take to protect yourself.

Advanced Fee Fraud/419 Fraud

One which many people are aware of but still fall victim to is the 419 fraud. It involves an emotive email from someone claiming to be a wealthy family member, businessman or government member that promises to pay you a large sum of money for paying small fees for legal papers to help retrieve a large sum of money owed to them by the bank, or something similar. However, falling victim to this can easily be avoided by being wary of any unsolicited email from an individual asking for you to make any sized payment in order to help them.

Hijacked Social Media Scam

There are many benefits to social media, but it is another area that is now targeted by cybercriminals. One of the biggest scams used is where they will hijack somebody’s profile and message their contacts and ask for money and your personal details in some way. Due to the platform, they will attempt to make it seem genuine by including information in the conversation such as where you went to school. It is a dangerous scam as it can seem genuine, but always be wary of messages from contacts that ask for money and if they use language that is different to normal. You should also contact the individual by phone or in person to verify and to warn them that their account has been hacked.


Phishing is a scam designed to steal credit card and personal information by convincing a user that they are entering a valid eCommerce or banking website, but in reality, it is a fake website set up by cybercriminals. These can often look very legitimate which can make it challenging to discern what is a real website and what is not. To avoid this common scam, always be wary of emails that are encouraging you to visit a website to enter your details. Always carefully look at the sender’s address and see if it matches the domain and hover the mouse over the link to check the address. Never open an attachment and always carefully look at the email for typos.

Greeting Card Scam

Always be wary of any greeting card that you receive around the holidays that comes from a supposed friend or family member as the attachment may contain malicious software that will install itself on the operating system in the form of malware. This software will harvest your personal information and send it to cybercriminals. You can avoid this nasty scam by never opening an attachment from someone that you do not know and also by installing high-quality internet security software which will safeguard you against email scams, secure your privacy on social media and protect you from ransomware. Doing so will protect you against all kinds of other scams and is an important investment for any computer user.

Fake Antivirus

One of the current most common scams is to trick people into believing that their system is infected with a popup which will contain a link to purchase “antivirus software.” However, this will be a virus itself, and you will become infected with some form of malicious software. These can be convincing as they will use “IP numbers” and claim to be from Microsoft/Apple. Avoid this scam by closing the popup instead of clicking on it and always check for updates on your current antivirus software and only every install any software from verified websites.

There are many great aspects to the internet, but it is also an incredibly dangerous place to be with many advanced scams which are constantly evolving. As a computer user, it is important that you are aware of what these are and you are cautious about unsolicited emails asking for your details or with suspicious attachments. It is also vital that you have high-quality antivirus software installed that is always running and constantly up to date. This will allow you to navigate the internet with confidence and avoid dangerous scams.