How do I protect myself from internet scams?

Internet scams come in different ways these days. So how do you protect yourself from this? In this article you will read about the different forms of internet scams and tips what to do to protect yourself against them. Unfortunately, have you already been scammed? Then you can also read about the best thing to do in that case.

What is an internet scam?

Internet scams mean, among other things, that you have given details and/or paid online, but then receive nothing.

Suppose you think you are buying a truck from a seller, but after payment you don’t hear from that seller. In that case, you have probably been scammed. This could be because the internet scammer is impersonating another party. This is why internet scams are also known as ‘phishing’. This is the English word for fishing and means that internet scammers approach you in the hope that you will ‘bite’.

In what ways do Internet scams happen?

You can become a victim of Internet scams in many ways. It can occur in:

  • Websites
  • E-mails
  • WhatsApp

Phishing on websites
Conspirators display a website that looks exactly like the website of a company or institution. In most cases, this form of phishing is used to obtain account details for other websites. When you fill in forms on a phishing website, these are sent to the scammer. In this way, the scammers find out your login details or other sensitive information.

Phishing in e-mails
In this case, scammers send an e-mail that appears to come from a company. With this e-mail, scammers want to mislead you. You will get one of the following requests in most cases:

  • Transfer money
  • Send sensitive information
  • Click a link
  • Open a file

In all cases, you don’t know you are communicating with a scammer. Sometimes attachments in these e-mails contain viruses, which end up on your computer when you open the file.

Communication via e-mail is very susceptible to Internet scams because the security of e-mail messages depends on both the sender and the recipient. So there are chances that scammers can read along with your e-mail messages. Like traditional mail, e-mail messages can be intercepted in several ways, namely through:

  • Insecure computer passwords
  • Insecure passwords to log into the email programme
  • Use of insecure Wi-Fi networks (e.g. at a campsite)
  • Unencrypted e-mail messages (in combination with insecure networks)
  • Human error (watching or writing down passwords)
  • Viruses/malware
  • Fraud by company employees

All these points apply to both the sender and the recipient of the email.

Phishing via WhatsApp
Also via WhatsApp, a scammer can pretend to be another party and use this way to ask you to transfer money or leave details.

What can I do to prevent Internet scams?

We’ll give you tips to prevent Internet scams on websites and in e-mails. You will also get some general tips against Internet scams. Furthermore, you can also become a victim of Internet scams as a seller, which is why we will also give you tips on how to sell safely.

Also, you can become a victim of Internet scams as a seller.

On websites

  • Check the availability of the seller
    Do they answer the phone? Do they answer their emails? Are the address details correct and can you possibly visit this address? Does the person you spoke to actually work there?
  • First sign contract, then pay
    Make sure you have the sales contract in writing. And check that all the details on the selling party’s contract are correct. Also, if you have the opportunity, it is best to see the vehicle/machine/part in real life first.
  • Check name and IBAN number
    Contact the seller by phone using the number given on their website. Then ask if the bank account number you received from them is correct.
  • Is the offer real?
    Is the offer too good to be true? Then it usually is. Therefore, check the prices of similar vehicles/machines/parts.

From emails

  • Encrypt your emails
    Encrypting your emails means securing your emails. You protect your house from burglars by locking the doors. When encrypting your emails, you ‘lock your mail’ to protect it from scammers. This encryption is done via ‘TLS’ (Transport Layer Security). If an encrypted e-mail is intercepted, it is unreadable to the fraudsters.To encrypt an e-mail, both the sender’s and the recipient’s mail programme must have this encryption function. This is because the recipient’s mail programme must have ‘the key’ to ‘open’ the lock that the sender has put on it. If the recipient does not have this key, the e-mail is still not encrypted and therefore sent unsecured.

    Are you not sure whether you are using an encryption function? Then check with your e-mail programme. If your e-mail programme is managed by Tnl Business, you can use this secure transmission. Please contact our support department for more information.

  • Check the domain of the sender
    The ‘domain’ is the name of the organisation sending you an email. The domain name is after the ‘@’ sign. In our case, our domain name is: ‘’. Before this domain name are usually our departments from where the mail was sent or the person such as: ‘’ or suppose we have an employee named Piet Janssen, then it becomes’.A scammer can make it appear that the email was sent from Tnl Business. An example is: our e-mail address is, the scammer’s e-mail address is The difference is that the letter ‘l’ has been replaced by the number ‘1’. So pay close attention.

    Domain names are often secured. This security ensures that there are only a few locations from which e-mails can be sent. Your e-mail programme can usually recognise whether these locations are correct. Are these locations not correct? Then the mail will be seen as spam. Unfortunately, your mail programme cannot always pick out scammers, so stay alert.

  • Go safe with email responses
    An email may have been sent safely, but when you reply to it, it does not mean that this response is also sent safely. Do not always trust that the content and attachments actually originate from the sender. When making payments, always check the account number. You can do this by comparing it with that of previous payments, via the receiving party’s website or by phone.
  • Please check the AVG legislation
    The AVG (General Data Protection Regulation) legislation is about handling personal data lawfully. Companies will not simply ask you for personal data via e-mail, as this is not allowed under the AVG law.Do you still receive an e-mail in which the sender asks for your data? Then always contact this company. Do not do this via email, but contact the company by phone.

General tips against internet scams

  • Use secure passwords*
  • Protect your Wi-Fi network with a password and change it regularly
  • Regularly change the password you use to log into your email programme
  • Install a virus scanner, it will check your online safety
  • Do not write down your passwords
  • Lock your computer when you leave your workplace

* Safe passwords:

  • The more characters, the safer. 8 characters is on the short side. A password with 12 characters or more is much stronger. In fact, a password of 12 instead of 8 characters makes the password up to 80 million times stronger.
  • Numbers, capital letters and special characters (&, ?, #, !, %, etc.) strengthen the password.
  • Or use a passphrase, which is easier to remember. Example: IHave100BicyclePumps.
  • Use passphrases of at least 4 words. Don’t use a proverb or familiar phrase, but it doesn’t have to be very complicated. Another example is 131KilometresIsTeSpeed. Unfortunately, too-long passphrases don’t always work. Many websites have a maximum password length of between 10 and 20 characters.
  • The password should not contain easily guessable personal information such as a name, date of birth or address.
  • Use different passwords for each website. A programme such as ‘LastPass’ that remembers passwords or memorisation tips will help.
  • Adjust passwords at least once a year.

Tips to sell securely

  • Let the buyer check your account number
    Mind the buyer that he should always check your account number when he receives the invoice. If this account number is on your website, you can refer to it. Otherwise, you can ask the buyer to check your account number by looking at previous payments or by contacting you by phone.
  • Secure your computers and network
    Internet scams often occur because computers or Wi-Fi networks are poorly secured. Get an IT specialist to look into this and make sure you secure them properly.
  • Inform employees about digital security
    Everyone in your company should be aware of the security rules, so that something cannot go wrong unexpectedly anyway. Draw up these rules and make them available via your company’s intranet, for example, and make sure every new employee reads them.

Help, I’ve been scammed, what now?

Should you still be a victim of scams despite the measures taken, you can do the following to prevent or resolve (worse) damage:

  • Report the scam via the police
  • Update passwords of email programs
  • Update network passwords