KEY POINTS

  • Online scams attempt to fool people to get their money
  • There exists a variety of online scams, including those that ask people to donate to charity
  • There are simple ways to protect one's self from online scams

The internet is very helpful, but it's not a safe place – especially for those who don't know how to protect themselves. Various online scams exist, and all of them are meant to fool people in order to take money from them.

A quick look at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission's Consumer Information page reveals that online scams exist in many forms:

There are fake online jobs that ask applicants to pay before being given work. There are crowdfunding scams meant to get a lot of people to provide support for a fake project that sounds good. There are phishing scams that attempt to get people's passwords used to access bank accounts, among others. There area some fake charities that send emails asking people to donate to their noble causes.

These, and more such online scams, exist. Some of them, as per Cult of Mac, have been so successful that a lot of people have fallen victim. In fact, last year alone, Americans lost over $700,000 to email scams, as per security firm ADT. People have to learn how to stay safe and away from such scams.

Here's how netizens can stay safe and protect themselves from online scams:

  • Use Common Sense

Scammers often have this elaborate story about how they need money for a cause, or how they can make a little amount of money grow. When they start asking people for bank account numbers or some amount of cash needed, with the promise of huge (and often unbelievable) rewards, people shouldn't give in that easily.

Consumers should refuse to give any personal information, especially bank accounts, email addresses and passwords. People should also refuse to give in to the temptation to give with the hope of getting huge returns real quick. Ignore that email, delete it, and erase it from the recycle bin.

  • Use reliable password management tools

Aside from ignoring those emails and frequent messages, consumers should take extra care to make it hard for scammers to track them and even more difficult to get information from them.

Netizens should try to use reliable password managers like Dashlane, Cult of Mac suggested. This program will create and recall passwords that are hard to guess. Dashlane also alerts users if a website or service they use gets hacked so they can remove their details from the site. This program offers these features and more.

Woman In Online Scam A woman lost her life savings to a man she met online. Here, a man types on a computer keyboard in this photo illustration taken in Washington, DC, Nov. 21, 2016. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images