What Are The Worst Mistakes You Can Make Online?

What Are The Worst Mistakes You Can Make Online?

The internet is great, but it’s complex and it can be easy to make some dumb mistakes even when you’re smart enough to catch them most of the time. We want to know what common but mistakes you’ve made, have seen others make or worry about making.

The title photo, which was too weird not to use, was created by Voronin76 (Shutterstock).

Chances are most of the stupid things we all do online pertain to privacy and security issues, but they don’t have to. Maybe you fell for a phishing scam or fed a troll. Perhaps there’s just something a lot of people do online that seems pretty stupid to you. Please share your dumb online mistakes — or the mistakes of others you know — in the comments. But let’s not let things get too negative or hostile, and rather focus on common online mistakes we all can be prone to make and have possible solutions.


  • Downloading any old application without really making sure it is from a trusted developer/publisher. My wife does this all the time and I always cringe when I see her do it. It’s her laptop but it does connect wirelessly to the network, so I don’t want anything too harmful on there. She doesn’t even think about those kind of consequences when she downloads applications. She also doesn’t read the installation prompts, so ends up installing all those toolbars and what-not… took me months to get her to stop using Internet Explorer..

    A simple Google (or Bing if you’re anti-Google) search can usually find out if a particular application or website where you’re downloading from has had a track record with providing dodgy software.

  • -friends clicking popups that say “you have a virus, click here to clean it’…they don’t even understand it’s a webpage popup, they actually think it is their antivirus program working properly and alerting them – then they blame “computers’ and “the internet” for “letting it happen”
    -friends clicking on ‘free upgrades’ to programs…how many times do you need to tell people that no ones knocks on your door to give you free stuff!
    -back to old school, and i still stick by this – don’t EVER give your real name on the internet, end of story! now we live in a world where not only do people use real names, they use first and last names (thanks Twit/Face) and let people know exactly where they will be or are…nice!

  • The worst mistake anyone can do is to make a mistake, then you get all the grammar Nazi’s and trolls come out of the woodwork and slam you for it even if you admit to the mistake.

  • Believing an e-mail that says you are getting sh!tloads of money for doing nothing.

    Have you every received free money at all in your life ever up until this point? So why are you getting money now, especially from Nigeria?

  • My uncle almost believing that the program claiming to be Microsoft Security Essentials on XP was a legitimate antivirus, even though it kept trying to make him pay $60 for it and it claimed task manager and all web browsers were viruses.

  • Trusting Google Suggestion to what you were really searching for and your Boss walks into your cubical as the results fill your screen… Was looking for High School Pron (not porn)

  • Don’t meet someone you met online alone unless it’s in a public space. Extra points for not telling anyone where you’re going or what you’re doing.

    Don’t draw attention to yourself on sites like 4chan. It’s just not a good idea.

    Don’t give out any financial or personal information unless you’re 100% sure the site or email is legit.

    Not checking the credibility of an ebay seller before you buy.

    Believing something you read online from only one source. This is a bit more abstract, but while you’ve got the internet in front of you, you might as well do a quick source/fact check if it’s important.

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