General Internet Safety Tips:
The internet is a great resource for everyone. Whether used for business purposes, in schools or in our homes, the internet provides us with some excellent resources and for many it has become an invaluable tool. It has changed how information is collected and distributed.
There are also many risks involved when accessing the internet. Many users access the internet for the same reasons as you and I do, for practical and legitimate purposes.
Some use the internet to gain access to the personal information of others.
The risks are many; Phishing attempts to get your account information by pretending to be from your financial institution or the IRS. There are scams asking you to send money in order to receive “your inheritance” or other monetary reward. There are fake emails pretending to be from a social networking site, asking the recipient to reset their password for security purposes using a provided link.
There are scammers pretending to be someone you know on a social networking site, asking if you can help out with money because of an emergency.
Some scammers use tragedies such as the Haiti Earthquake pretending to be a not for profit organization, or use events such as March Madness or The Olympics to make users click on certain links.
Other risks can come from downloading free products promising to provide internet security or software updates for your system.
Some scams are easier to recognize as fake than others:
As in the examples below, the first 2 are fairly obvious, but for the “paypal” related email, it is harder to tell at first glance that this may not be legitimate.
When receiving any such email, please remember that financial institutions do not ask for your account information and/or password via email. Neither does the IRS.
By using scare tactics that your account is put on hold unless you contact them, the scammers try to intimidate the recipient into providing this information, promising that this will make the user's account "safe".
Another clue is if an email or web site contains “typos” or bad grammar. These are all indications that the information is not what it claims to be.
"My Dear Good Friend
My name is Mr.Hamilton J. Williams. I work with well known reputable bank in Ghana as a Audit Account clerk in the Ashanti Region of Ghana.
As an audit account clerk in the bank, I have access to a lot of documents because I handle some of the bank's sensitive files. On my course of duty recently I discovered $7.820 Million United States Dollars in our bank's escrow call account with no beneficiary. That means my bank has lost record of its owner. I can give you information of the account and put in your name in the account details as the beneficiary/next-of-kin of the account. So you can contact them and tell them you are the beneficiary of the money so they should transfer it to your country's account.
My bank will believe you because your proof is your ability to know the account details and with your name already in the bank's record as a beneficiary they will transfer this amount without questioning.
After you get the money, we will share in the ratio 60% to me and 40% to you simple. It is a straight forward deal. Meanwhile I demand that you keep this transaction very Private and confidential in view of our personal
involvement. Full details of the processes for the claim will be provided as soon as I receive your response and
acceptance to be part of this transaction. I expect the immediate indication of your interest by emailing my private address above e-mail
Thanks for your understanding and co-operation.
I remain Respectfully yours,
Mr. Hamilton J. Williams."
"Your kind Attention: Call me at for more information. My Name Is Mr. Uche Hansome. I Am The 2010 Appointed Pay Master General Of Central Bank Of Nigeria. This Is To Notify You That Your Over Due Inheritance Funds worth US$10.5M Has Been Gazzeted To Be Released To You Via The Foreign Remmitance Department Of Our Bank. Meanwhile, A Woman Came To My Office Few Days Ago With A Letter, Claiming To Be Your Representative And Sent By You. If she is not your reprsentative or sent by you, kindly respond immediately reconfirming to me the following details to avoid any mistake. Full name; Full residential contact address; Direct telephone number number; Age and current occupation; Copy of your identification if available.However, We Shall Proceed To Issue All Payments Details To The Said Mrs.Barbara Kleihans If We Do Not Hear From You Within The Next Three Working Days From Today. Await for your prompt response You. Regards,Mr. Uche Hansome"
"Hello (name erased),
As part of our security measures, we regularly screen activity in the PayPal
system. We recently contacted you after noticing an issue on your account.
We requested information from you for the following reason:
A recent review of your account determined that we require some additional
information from you in order to provide you with secure service.
Case ID Number: PP-955-365-537
This is a second reminder to log in to PayPal as soon as possible. Once you log
in, you will be provided with steps to restore your account access.
Be sure to log in securely by using the following link:
Click here to login and restore your account access
Once you log in, you will be provided with steps to restore your
account access. We appreciate your understanding as we work to ensure account
In accordance with PayPal's User Agreement, your account access will remain
limited until the issue has been resolved. Unfortunately, if access to your
account remains limited for an extended period of time, it may result in further
limitations or eventual account closure. We encourage you to log in to your
PayPal account as soon as possible to help avoid this.
To review your account and some or all of the information that PayPal used to
make its decision to limit your account access, please visit the Resolution
Center. If, after reviewing your account information, you seek further
clarification regarding your account access, please contact PayPal by visiting
the Help Center and clicking "Contact Us".
We thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. Please understand that
this is a security measure intended to help protect you and your account. We
apologize for any inconvenience.
PayPal Account Review Department
Please do not reply to this email. This mailbox is not monitored and you
will not receive a response. For assistance, log in to your PayPal account
and click the Help link in the top right corner of any PayPal page.
Copyright © 1999-2010 PayPal. All rights reserved.
PayPal Email ID PP522"
If something does not seem right, proceed with caution. If you are not sure about the legitimacy of a certain email or website, don't click the link. Look up the domain in question and see where it's really registered and to whom. Does the information point to this being a legitimate site or sender?
If you receive any kind of offer via email or notification of reward, search for the name of this sender or product. Many times this will very quickly give you some idea of who the sender is.
If concerned about a certain web site, it is always good to see what is known about this web site.
If no information is found and the sender claims to be a legitimate organization, this also tells us something. If you receive an email and you are not sure if this is legitimate, do not click on any links.
Go directly to the legitimate web site, log in and use the trusted company contact information to verify whether they sent such information or not and if there truly is an issue with the account. Another option is to pick up the telephone and call the legit company directly to verify.
It is important to use common sense and critical thinking when using the internet. Whether reviewing personal email, or accessing websites while searching for information, be careful.