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15 Online Behaviors That Make You Vulnerable to Scams

It seems like there's a new Internet scam or security breach happening every week, but truth be told, there are many typical online behaviors that can make you more vulnerable to scams.

An American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) survey found 15 specific behaviors that could open you up to Internet trickery. The survey found that one in five Americans engage in at least seven of the 15 online behaviors.

Here are the 15 online behaviors you should look out for:

  1. Clicking on pop-ups.
  2. Opening email from unknown senders.
  3. Selling products on online auction sites.
  4. Downloading apps.
  5. Signing up for free-limited-time-trial offers.
  6. Purchasing through an online payment transfer site.
  7. Visiting a website that requires a reading of a privacy policy.
  8. Visiting websites that require a reading of terms of agreement statements.
  9. Being impulsive.
  10. Feeling isolated or lonely.
  11. Negative change in financial status.
  12. Loss of a job.
  13. Being concerned about debt.
  14. Being unaware that banks don't send emails to customers asking for personal information or to click a link to verify personal information.
  15. Being unaware that a privacy policy doesn't mean the website won't share their information with other companies.

How to Protect Yourself

One of the most common ploys in the world of Internet scams is when the fraudsters sound like they're sending information from an "official" source. When monitoring your risky online behavior, it's important to remember that government officials will never contact you by phone or email to request personal or banking information or to tell you that you're in trouble with the law.

For example, a recent nationwide email scam had recipients believing that they were summoned to appear in court. The email would either contain attachments that had viruses or told the reader to pay money for overdue fines.

Getting scammed online isn't limited to middle-aged persons. Young people are vulnerable too, so exercise caution when you're engaging in these online behaviors.

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