The Internet, as well as being a marvelous resource, is also a playground for rogues. Unfortunately, opportunists of many different forms find prey online, and it's important that you don't get caught out. With identity theft on the increase, and the perpetual fraud issue, it's never been more important to take care of your details.
One of the most common frauds circulating the Internet today comprise of what is known as 'phishing'. Phishing is where you are sent an email from an online payment merchant or other similar company, asking you to verify your card details or personal information. The problem with these emails is that they look very authentic, and can be very difficult to spot. And as soon as you enter your payment information, the crooks can get access to your money. To avoid getting caught out by one of these scams, bear in mind that it is very unlikely that any reputable service would ask you to divulge personal information after you have signed up. If you are at all suspicious, it's a good idea to email the company involved and enquire as to whether this is a genuine request. If you find an email asking for this information, send it to the company involved, to help others from falling for the same scam in the future.
Another prominent scam is the lottery scam. Amenable both to online and offline environments, the lottery scam involves an unsolicited communication of some large- scale win. At this point, alarm bells should certainly be ringing, given that these emails suggest people have won lotteries they never even entered. However, they say, a deposit of money is required upfront to release the funds. Of course, after sending the money to the scam, the lottery winnings never come through. This scam has been popular for decades, and is leaving many people out of pocket. Again, remember, if you haven't entered any competition, you can win it, and you certainly shouldn't have to pay upfront for your prize.
It is also a good idea to watch out for get rich quick schemes, which are increasingly widespread on the Internet. Remember that anything which promises the world for very little input isn't likely to prove profitable.
Overall, it's a good idea to approach everything you come across online with a view of skepticism. By taking everything with a pinch of salt, and remaining prudent, you should minimize the risk of falling foul to one of the many scams around.