Fake news is just the tip of the iceberg. The truth is, the internet is full of lies and you need a keen eye to segregate the bogus from the bona fide
Fraudulent job emails usually don’t have detailed information about the role, company and package. Also, if an offer asks you to pay for an appointment or interview, it’s fake. No employer asks for money in the name of security deposits in advance.
Social media influencers often grumble about fake profiles. But they are not difficult to identify — a fake profile will have a stock image or no image, not many friends, lack of activity in the platform and too many or too few followers. Then there are bot accounts that are fake voters with loud opinions or obsessive re-tweeters.
Do you know one among four products in your shopping wishlist at an e-commerce site can be counterfeit? Irrespective of what you intend to buy, compare the product with the one listed on the brand’s official website, and look for the assurance tag on the product to ensure it’s genuine.
Also, avoid products offering heavy discounts.
Fake reviews are nothing new on hotel, restaurant, book and e-commerce sites. But they can be damaging. Unlike genuine reviews that contain words specifically relating to the place or product in question, the fake ones are vague and include repeated use of same words or marketing terms. Questionable grammar and the use of superlatives are also signs of suspicious reviews.
Fake mobile apps mimic the look of legitimate applications to trick you to install them. Once installed, they tend to perform malicious actions. Such apps are usually hosted on thirdparty app stores. If you come across apps in the App Store and Play Store that are crowded with ads, then stay away. You should also check all app permissions carefully.
Unlike malware or spyware, scareware pretends to be real security protection and then tricks you into paying to clean up infections it claims to have detected. To avoid falling into the trap, install a decent anti-virus, avoid visiting dubious web locations, and if a fake ransom demand popup refuses to leave your screen, call its bluff by killing the browser using Task Manager.
We are all introduced to fake or phishing emails where the sender is ‘fishing’ for our personal information. And they are not difficult to identify as well — just ‘report spam’ if you receive an email with impersonal greetings like ‘Dear user’ or ‘Dear [your email address]’, or if the email asks you to click on links that take you to a fake website, contains unknown attachments or conveys a false sense of urgency.
The internet has hundreds of legitimate survey sites. Then there are the fake ones that invite people to take surveys. If a site offers outrageous incentives such as free vacations, expensive products or a lot of cash, it’s fake. Stay away from platforms that ask for your family or bank details, or asks you to download software. And never share your frequently used email IDs.
Tech giant takes steps to curb scam ads
There has been a rise in misleading ad experiences from third-party tech support providers recently. In a bid to crack down on scam ads, Google will roll out a verification program in the coming months. Last year, the company took down over 3.2 billion ads that violated its advertising policies.