Internet – The Good, The Bad & The Wise.

The Internet has taken the world by storm. Like every technology, it has tremendous implications for every field of life. While most of them are good but some are bad & need serious care to avoid trouble.

On the positive side, education, healthcare, sports, cooking or many more areas get a helping hand. All the information is available at the push of a button. Every student has a guru somewhere. The Internet has nullified any distance between the guru & shishya. Whether they are far apart in space or time.

On the negative side, there are fake, spam, phishing & fraudulent websites. WhatsApp has become a breeding ground for much such content. Many times we forward such websites unknowingly. We do so with good intentions but our action ends up putting our own friends on the paths of danger.

Fake sites

These are just meant to garner more clicks. They have many ads loaded on them. Nowadays they even put automatic redirections to multiple fake sites. These can be identified by their domain names. Most commonly these sites use a misspelt word of famous websites. For example googol, yawhoo, tvitter etc…

To avoid becoming victim to such sites, we must type cautiously. Double check the spelling of the web address we type before pushing the enter button. Such sites usually don’t have a proper neat we address. Like, they don’t start with www & they don’t end with any standard .com or .org or .in.

There are many sites which provide free or almost free host ids. Anyone can create a replica of a famous website & host it on such addresses. So, whenever you see a message in circulation which is trying to catch your attention for a fabulous offer, make sure you check its address before even opening the site yourself. Further, if you want to play a nice Samaritan, give your friends a heads up to stop forwarding such messages & break the forwarding chain at your point.

Phishing websites

These are a shade darker than the fake websites. The fake ones might keep redirecting you to different links, thus using your bandwidth. At worst they may install a certain virus in your computer to further aid this process.

The phishing websites ask your financial details. Account numbers, otp passwords, pin numbers & other such details which can let them draw your money for themselves.

While filling your bank details, always, ALWAYS ensure the web address is accurate & belongs to the bank you are operating. Also make sure the address bar shows a lock icon followed by https:// before the web address.

If you find any of the above details missing, there’s a fair enough reason to be alarmed. A thief might be waiting on the other side ready to use your details for unfair means.

Spam

I have won millions of dollars in the lottery so many times. People from abroad keep contacting me to accept all their property. They say someone in their family wants to kill them for their property. He promised to weigh me in gold if I keep it safe till he manages his escape to India.

I am sure you too must’ve received many such emails. Of course, they are spam. Nothing in this world comes for free. The sooner we understand the better. Such messages are called spam. The spammers collect emails in thousands or lakhs of numbers & send them such messages trying to lure them. The people who can’t control their greed get trapped in these.

Then starts the problems. Customs duty, courier charge, transportation costs, tax. They persuade us to deposit amount in a bank with the promise that you’ll get all that amount for yourself soon after. But, the extortion doesn’t end. Each time you pay them, they ask more amount with further reasoning.

So, if ever you get an offer too good to be true, it is not true. Even in Kaun Banega Crorepati, you’ll have to answer some questions to get the check signed by Amitabh Bachchan.

Online Shopping

The world has become such a small & accessible place. We often do shopping online & there are not just great products which we can’t buy offline in shops but also such great offers on them with free delivery as well. Well established sites like Amazon, Flipkart or Snap deal are ok (even though time & again even these have been found to play around with the MRP to show off greater discounts.)

While searching on Google many times we find deals which seem much better than these standard websites. But before you hand them your cash, there’s a need to check certain things.

First check for the “contact us” page. Does it have proper contact numbers & email? Many fake sites just offer a form to fill out. The company should also have a location where the business is operated from. If none of this information is available, then they likely just want your credit card info.

Another way to confirm is the language used. Fake sites don’t hire professional writers to write their content. Their writings will be filled with silly grammatical & even spelling mistakes. Even a person who has just an average level of English can easily make it out.

Every website selling a product on the internet will have a shipping & return policy listed on their site. It will tell you how & where to return the product if it’s defective. It will tell you the time needed for the product to arrive. If they have no return address and a vague shipping policy, do not shop at that website.

When in doubt use Reviews 

Type the website’s domain name, followed by “reviews”, into a search engine. There are many victims out there with a good heart who want to save you from their fate. Check for the rating. If there are many negative reviews, better avoid it.

Being a victim of a scam is never a pleasant experience. Follow these simple guidelines to protect yourself online and create the best possible shopping experience. If the site you’re viewing feels suspicious, take a moment to research and investigate it before making a purchasing decision.

Use your time wisely

Finally, the internet is an infinite source of knowledge as well as entertainment. You are bound to get addicted to it. Many times it must’ve happened to you that you open up your computer to look for a small information, but you end up spending hours browsing every other thing that can wait.

It is always a good idea to keep a pen & paper by your side. Thankfully, Windows takes its own time to start up. So in this time, jot down why you are Starting your computer & how much time you want to spend over it. Set an alarm as well if there’s a need. This will help you bring your focus back to what needs to be done & stop you from wandering off to uncharted territories.

Everything in this world has its merits as well as demerits. The Internet has lots & lots more of both. True wisdom lies in using any stuff to fulfil a purpose that can help us improve ourselves & be better than what we were. With the right guards up your sleeves, you should be able to maintain your online presence without losing your offline sanity.

Happy surfing.

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