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Save Yourself From Online Scams and Hoaxes

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Save Yourself From Online Scams and Hoaxes
Guard your money and your sanity (Image: www.freeimages.com)
Sometimes, the Internet can be as fake as Donald Trump’s smile.
Wow. That's scary. (Image: www.cafe.com)
"Someone from Nigeria e-mailed me claiming that he was a rich fellow who was dying from cancer. He told me that I was his heir, and instructed me to fill in several online forms to claim his inheritance. I buat lah, ‘cause nak tolong, but then it got shady because he started asking for money."
Jun Li
"I ordered some merchandise but never got it back, even when I pestered them so many times. Their Twitter and FB pages still exist and I also have their bank account numbers."
Maddie
An obviously fake Whatsapp message you might get.
Whether it’s in the form of Airbnb scams that ruin your travel plans, Nigerian princes trying to steal your money, or a video about a snowfall in Indonesia, it feels like the Internet is always setting up a trap and waiting for you to fall into it.
Image: www.giphy.com

Here’s how you can spare yourself from the misery:

Ask yourself: Is this for real?

Aliens aren’t going to invade us any time soon, the weather isn’t going to drop -1°C in Kuala Lumpur, and plain water isn’t going to miraculously cure a disease.

Fact check (!)

Use verified news sources such as BBC, Al Jazeera and TIME to check for the latest updates.

Double fact check (!!)

OK, so even verified news agencies may trip on their stories—which is why when something breaks, take a pause and check another source for its authenticity.

Be wary of people you deal with online

Double check their profiles or Google their e-mail to see if anyone has lodged a complaint against them. If you’re buying something from overseas’ sellers, check with other buyers if they’re legit. It might be easier for you to lodge a complaint at the local police if they’re local, but it becomes complicated if you’re dealing with someone abroad.

Take a closer look at e-mail addresses

Imagine getting an e-mail about you winning a flight ticket to London by a prestigious flight like Emirates Airlines.
Yay! (Image: www.tumblr.com)

Sounds exciting, but it could all be a hoax especially if you didn't even register for any contest. Cross-check the sender’s e-mail with the one listed on the real company’s official website. There's also no harm in asking the company itself via their official Twitter or Facebook.

Even Iron Man wouldn't be pleased getting scammed. (Image: www.reactiongifs.com)

(Side note: Check on the e-mail content’s grammar if you can. If they’re making common errors or using netspeak, they’re probably scammers)

Read the comments section

The comment sections might be an ugly place where people are debating senselessly, but if a news or picture is fake, it’s highly likely that someone will point it out.

Find out their primary sources

Google is your best friend. If you find out news that is too good to be true, just type ‘[ARTICLE TITLE HERE] + fake/not true/rumour’ to see what pops up.

Check if the pictures are authentic

Sure, some pictures are so professionally Photoshop-ed that it’s difficult to tell their authenticity, but there are websites that allow you to check the website sources of the images:

TinEye
Google Image Search

Also, inspect the images and see if there are any extra limbs, broken pixels, or if there’s something wrong with the lighting.

 
 
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