Paying online with credit card

3 ways to avoid online scams

No one wants to be scammed, but it can happen to anyone. As online scams continue to grow more sophisticated, here are three ways to help you avoid them.

1. Look carefully
While it’s not always obvious, there can be signs that give away many scammers. Look at a website address or email address and make sure the spelling is correct. If it looks unprofessional, say riddled with typos or has a blurry corporate logo, it’s best not to engage. On websites, look for store and company policies, contact information, and an https or padlock symbol in the address bar. Remember, the government will never ask you for personal information in an email, text or voicemail.

2. Confirm another way
Instead of replying or going ahead when you receive an unusual message from someone you think you know – say a text from your grandchild asking for emergency money or an email from your boss asking you to purchase gift cards – you should try to confirm the request using a totally different method of communication. Phone the person directly to see if they really mean to do that or if it was a scammer. The grandparent and gift card scams are common.

 3. Get more digitally literate
Scams are always evolving, and the more comfortable you get using technology, the better you might get at recognizing when something’s suspicious. There are lots of reputable sources to help you become more tech savvy, including ABC Life Literacy Canada, a non-profit organization that has free courses and tools to boost your digital know-how.

Ultimately, it’s best to trust your gut and stay safe rather than sorry. You can find more reliable tips and free resources to help you stay safe online at