Given the recent scandals and social hoaxes– Lance Armstrong or Morgan Freeman RIP ringing any bells? – trust and integrity have been common themes in the media. Add in the puzzling story of Manti Te’o that has us all scratching our heads and you have to wonder, who – and what – you can trust online.
Below we have a few tips and tricks to help you stay in the clear on the web.
If it Looks Too Good to be True, it Probably is.
You know when you just happen to be the 500th visitor to a website in a day and you win an iPad? We hate to break it to you, but chances are that is just a scam. Bring out your inner New Yorker and don’t be susceptible, or you’ll wind up looking like the woman in this popular State Farm commercial.
Pay Attention to Details.
Are there any asterisks in the copy of the deal, web page, or email? This indicates that somewhere there will be fine print. Find it and read it! Most likely there is some sort of catch, such as black-out dates or minimum purchases that makes the deal almost invalid. Also, when you get an email, mouse over all of the links before you click on them. This will show the true destination of the link.
Recently I got an email that looked like it was from LinkedIn – the template was what I was used to seeing from LinkedIn and the “From” field showed that it was from LinkedIn. However, when I hovered my mouse over the links, it showed that they were from disreputable sources. The moral here is not to blindly trust that links will be safe, always double check before clicking.
Look for Verification.
Make sure your facts or even advice are coming from verified sources. Review the background of the individual who is providing the information by visiting LinkedIn and checking their profile. Continue by Googling for other sources. Does everything line up? How far back does the information go? This can help you validate the credibility of the person you are reading.
Know What (and Whom) You’re Giving Permission To.
By putting your information online, you are giving permission to certain audiences to access or use your information. Double check your privacy settings on all your social media accounts to ensure that only people who you have approved may access your information. When you fill out online forms, beware that including your email address often means that you will be put on a mailing list. While you will be able to unsubscribe to these emails, they’re often seen as a nuisance.
These are just a few hints to help keep you out of trouble on the web. Do you have any tried and true tricks of your own? Let us know. We’d love to hear from you!