Internet is no longer a luxury. It has become part of our day to day life. With advent of social networks, it has more or less become our basic need. We almost share everything on internet that we usually used to do verbally with the friends next door only when they meet. Communication has become easy. Staying in touch just demands one smart phone.
This new era of web has given many businesses an access to the target audience. Internet brings the relevant consumers at the doorstep of the business products. But among ethical online business and websites there are tons of touts and cheaters who want to scam you. Touts are there in offline world too. But in case of online sphere, one should be extra careful. It is because they are showing what they want to show. You don't know what is behind the curtains. All the information available is not always true. Some sites are misleading and some are created to make fool out of you. Thanks to social networks, such sites spread too fast. WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) does not apply to internet world.
Recently I got my hands on bunch of resumes of few people whom I know. Under computer skills label, they had written "facebook". I too aback. I asked them how can they write that. I mean, Facebook is not some skill. They said that they know it and so they can write. Well no problem wit that concerning part is the way people think about internet. There are millions of people who use internet. But I think there are very less people who actually know what they are exactly doing on internet. Some people assume that everything on the internet is free. Some people believe that everything on internet is safe. They fundamentally and technically do not understand internet.
Why is it important to understand internet?
It is so just because you should know what that site is doing. I am not saying that you need to be a pro programmer and understand the code. But one should know certain basic things. For example, emails accounts usually gets compromised using phishing. But if one bother to see the url of the page each time they put in the password, this would not happen. Such small things can protect you from big attacks.
Here are the things that you should be aware about so that you can protect yourself from being fooled.
What you see is NOT always what you get.
Be little more careful when you come across some new site or service. If they are asking for your email Id and other personal details stay away from it unless you are sure it is safe. Get the review from the people who have already used that service.
We all want to make money and get rich. We all want a cash cow or a duck that lays golden egg. Many are too desperate for this and touts know this pretty well. They know this weakness and they also know how to use it for their advantage. They would throw at you very "cool" offer that you would take up instantly without giving second thought about it being legit. This happens because the way they present their scam and you just start dreaming about being rich, just to get poor.
Identifying the scam
That is easy. If someone promises something that is too good - it is a scam. Further, accept the fact that there is no easy money. Not online at least.
Your reputation and social networks.
Always be careful before you share anything on such networks. Remember that it is going to be seen by all your relatives and friends. If you click something that you don't know and something "dirty" gets shared you will really damage your reputation. I remember, once it happened with one of the person I know,there was a video on Facebook which said "dare to watch this". That person dared and many nasty stuff got shared in his name. So whenever someone encourages you to click on something, refrain from doing that.
Here is a short video I did few months back for my other blog which explains how spam gets spread in your name.
After seeing this video, you would know why you should not follow the instructions blindly without knowing what exactly is happening.
Downloads and related problems.
Almost every website is free to access. There are sites that provide quality information for free. But that does not mean that everything on the internet is free. There are many things that gets distributed for free on internet are actually being done illegally. If you are one of those who downloads movies, songs, games and software from internet for "free" you may find yourself in legal trouble. Because such things are not free, they are illegal distributed and you are part of that illegal and unethical acts.
Such downloads may also infect your computer and can lead to leakage of some personal information from your computer. So never do it.
Getting known to strangers
When you are online you may come across many people from around the globe. Most of them are good people and some are APPARENTLY good people. Be careful from latter ones. So before you share any personal detail with people online take sometime to know them. Who they are? What do they do? I do talk to many people whom I have never seen. But I am sure that they are not malicious. Never be friends to random people. Avoid using "chat with strangers" site. Even if you use it, never share any detail about yourself with them. Not even you name.
Mind your language
You do have a right to give voice to your thoughts. But some people may not like what you have say. They may sue you, harass you or sometimes even worse. Especially if you are hurting religious sentiments or doing any personal attack or if you are defaming some venerated personality, you can be in hot waters. If you are ready to face the consequences, move on. But know the depth of water first.
Recently two girls were arrested just because they updated their Facebook status which some people did not like. You may find the story here.
Health related sites can make you go to hospital
Always be careful with sites that give tips about your health. If you are not sure about the authority and qualification of the site owner, don't follow what it says. That advise can harm your health. There are so many weight loss site mushrooming out there. But all are not worth following. I personally believe that one should always consult doctor if needed rather than using internet.
Whenever you are using internet, don't be over casual. Be alert. You never know where the trap is and when you may fall in it.