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3 Steps to Stop Scams and Virus Problems

How to prevent online scams and virus problems.

It’s Not the Internet’s “Fault”

Watching how the media covers the latest virus or scam would make one think we are all innocent victims. But instead, it is the “evil Internet” at work once again.

The media’s point of view and how they choose to portray these occurrences always make me chuckle. As if the Internet has a mind of its own…

Knowledge is… Knowledge

Partly at issue is that there has been very little progress regarding onliners wanting to acquire just enough information. The knowledge to know how to protect themselves.

They throw their hands up, claiming, “I’m not a techi!” while they proceed to want to participate in “techi-nology.” The truth is these issues are part and parcel of participation.

Many have issues because they do not keep their virus software updated. Stop now, and double-check your virus software to make sure you have it set to auto-update just to be sure.

Then, there are those that fall for some of the most gratuitously ridiculous offers. Free, cheap, and easy sells, right? As long as those “offers” insinuate easy riches with little effort or expense, they jump to click through.

And don’t forget the phishing attempts to try and get usernames and passwords (Please tell me you don’t use password for your password!) To that end, that is your weakest link—the propensity to believe misinformation that caters to one’s inner desires — or fears.

When did plain old common sense go out the window? Why do the natural rules of trust, common sense, and due diligence, for some reason, not seem to apply online? Unfortunately, I don’t have a clear answer to that.

Off-line, if these tactics were used, most would probably laugh the salesperson right out of the building. But online, we enter the surreal world of possibilities. Combined with the perception that some of the most critical issues are ours to ignore or disregard if we please.

When it comes to impeding scams and viruses, there are three simple solutions:

1. For Scams:

Simply don’t believe it; none of it. If it comes in an email you didn’t request — just hit delete.

If it’s on a website, do your due diligence to confirm claims and ask for recommendations and proof. Investigate how long the site has been online. Read their terms and conditions.

Email them with every question you may have before giving them one red cent of your hard-earned dollars. Only proceed if you receive timely and concise answers.

Not willing to make these efforts? Then plan on getting ripped off, and you deserve it. Buyer beware? More like buyer be informed!

2. For Viruses:

Put updates on autopilot or update your virus software every time you log on. Simple.

Most virus software has an automatic scheduler so that the software can update and scan at specified times. Once this is set up, you will no longer have to update manually.

Then, keep your update subscription current. Remember, your computer doesn’t know what to protect you from without these updates!

3. Do Not Click On Email Links:

Don’t click on any links within emails that you are not expecting. When unasked for emails with deals, offers, and alerts or requesting login or personal credentials land in your inbox, do not click on any links.

You may be surprised if you mouse over those links to see the displayed domain is not the site being portrayed. Worse, it leads to a site waiting to infect your browser or compromise your security.

Be Smart: Double and Triple Check

Make an effort to understand the tools and resources available to you to help you participate in a thoughtful and informed manner. You can check anything out online by searching Google to find reviews, warnings, or even accolades and recommendations.

Taking the time to use and absorb the information available to you. This effort is part of participating in *information* technology.

If we all follow the above three steps, those who create viruses wouldn’t have a leg to stand on. In addition, the scammers would not be in business by taking advantage of what folks don’t want to take the time to understand or verify.

As long as Netizens do not try to be informed, someone will be willing to take advantage of them. So don’t blame technology; don’t blame scammers and hackers.

The blame should be placed on those who can easily avoid these situations but choose not to be informed enough to do so.

Choice of attention – to pay attention to this and ignore that – is to the inner life what choice of action is to the outer. In both cases, a man is responsible for his choice and must accept the consequences, whatever they may be.
W. H. Auden
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