Practice Survival Sense Online

Recently I heard a short interview with Diana Grove, author of a book called Dot.Conned on the topic of computer scams and how she fought back with deviousness of her own. She outconned the online cons. I admire that and applaud her. More about her book later.

Grove warned people who might be tempted by their e-mails that there isn’t really money waiting for you in a bank in Nigeria, and you didn’t really win the Irish lottery. The reason these scams go on is because they’re successful. And that baffles me. How do people get suckered in?

I hasten to add that I believe I have savvy readers who generally don’t need to be reminded about this sort of thing. So I don’t mean to sound condescending.

What’s this got to do with preparedness and survival anyway? Follow me and see if you think there might just be a connection.

There are plenty of people looking for your weak points and mine. It means we have to be on our guard all the time.

You’ve probably seen the stories about some senior citizen getting bilked out of big bucks because they thought their grandson or granddaughter needed money to get out of whatever foreign country they were allegedly stranded in. Usually that particular scam is done by phone and the voice sounds real enough to the elderly victim. But the principle is the same, whether it’s a phone scam or on the Web.

A friend forwarded me an e-mail from his Internet provider and asked me if it was legitimate. It was, though my ISP doesn’t send out e-mails like that, and they make it a point to let their customers know that. My friend did the right thing by sending the e-mail my way for a look.

We should all get a second opinion on anything that looks just a little out of the ordinary. You sniff milk that’s been in the refrigerator a little too long to be sure it’s safe. You may have someone else sniff it, too, just to be sure. So it is with online scams. Don’t worry about looking ignorant or foolish. If it’s legit, there’s no problem, right?

I should say, in all fairness, that I was taken in a number of years back by a vacuum cleaner salesman. Yes, I’m embarrassed to admit it. It was a pretty cool multipurpose machine, but it cost way too much.

Fortunately, buyer’s remorse and common sense took hold within 24 hours, and, thanks to consumer protection laws, we were able to break the contract before 72 hours had gone by. The salesman’s supervisor was not happy, I’ll tell you. After all, I was stealing bread out of the salesman’s kids’ mouths. The state attorney general didn’t see it that way.

I say all that to simply say you can’t be too careful these days. Animals have sense enough to avoid danger. We should be at least as smart.

When it comes to preparedness and survival, study things out carefully. Look into the products you buy with deliberation. Don’t spend more money than you have to—which probably goes without saying these days—but don’t cut corners either. Think survival. Your life and those of your loved ones are at stake.

If you’re out of work, don’t yield to the temptations of get rich quick schemes. A lot of people are turning to online business opportunities these days. There are indeed legitimate opportunities out there, but, like so many things, there’s a learning curve, and rewards may not come as fast as you’d like. At least that’s been my experience, and I know others who will tell you the same thing.

Here’s a Web site that specializes in ferreting out work-at-home scams.

Also, be sure to keep your computer up to date with antivirus and antispyware software. Run these programs regularly. I know it’s a headache, but it really is important to minimize troubles with your computer. Your experience online will be smoother, too.

If you use spam filters on your computer, or if your e-mail provider(s) use them, monitor what should and shouldn’t be spam. I’ve seen a lot of things go into spam filters that shouldn’t have and things that made it through that shouldn’t have. It’s a hassle.

When it comes to hackers and spammers, the old line from some Western comes to mind. “Hangin’s too good fer ‘em!”

It’s refreshing to see Diana Grove fight back and tell us about it. To order your copy, click on the linked title of the book–Dot.Conned–wherever you see it in this post. That takes you to the page where it’s featured, and you can order from there.

You know what to do now. Stay alert. Practice common sense. Put your survival mindset to work online as well as off line, and stay safe.


Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.

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