Internet fraud has been an increasing concern for civilians and law-enforcement agencies. Because tracking hackers is difficult and almost next to impossible and catching Internet frauds is even more challenging, the best protection is to avoid fraud attempts. The first part of sidestepping identity theft, viruses and other intrusions is being able to identify frauds when you see it.
An Internet fraud is the use of Internet services or software with Internet access to defraud victims or to otherwise take advantage of them; for example, by stealing personal information, which can even lead to identity theft. Internet services can be used to present fraudulent solicitations to prospective victims, to conduct fraudulent transactions, or to transmit the proceeds of fraud to financial institutions or to others connected with the scheme. Research suggests that online scams can happen through social engineering and social influence. It can occur in chat rooms, social media, email, message boards, or on websites”
ONLINE FRAUDS AND IT’S TYPES:
#1 Identity theft
It’s easy to store and access personal information on the Internet. Unfortunately, that means it’s also easy for people to obtain this information illegally. This is identity theft. Stolen details such as names, addresses, birth dates, and account or card numbers all build up an identity that can be used to commit fraud. Because online trading isn’t face-to-face, it’s easy for someone to hide behind a stolen identity and make fraudulent purchases or requests.
In cases of identity theft, the bug will attempt to retrieve passwords, Social Security numbers, credit card information, home addresses and telephone numbers. Other bugs will embed themselves in the computer’s registry and damage system performance.
Spam is implicated in a common form of fraud, in which bulk emails are dispersed to millions of email addresses in an effort to corrupt people’s computers, steal identities or pull unknowing individuals into paying for fraudulent products or services. A spam message will offer any number of false dealings to recipients. Popular offerings including low-interest loans, free credit report checks, sweepstake winnings and relationships with “local” singles. These types of scams require people to open a message and click on a link. This opens up the computer to a virus, worm or other “bug” that will corrupt the computer.
#3 Computer hacking
Phishing emails are commonly used by scammers to trick you into giving them access to your computer. They ‘fish’ for your personal details by encouraging you to click on a link or attachment. If you click, malicious software will be installed and the hacker will have access to files and information stored on your computer.A phishing email often appears to come from an organisation that you know and trust, like a bank or financial institution, asking you to enter your account password on a fake copy of the site’s login page. If you provide your account details, the scammer can hack into your account and take control of your profile.
#4 Credit Card Fraud
This scam requests that a consumer registers or inputs credit card information on a fraudulent website. The site may sell products or services. When a reputable, trustworthy vendor asks for credit card information, it won’t save the data without user permission and will take steps to keep user information safe. Fraudulent sites will ask for the same information as does a reputable site, but will steal the information and make purchases using the data the credit card owner gave to the website.
#5 Advance fee scams
An advance fee scam is fairly easy to identify – you will be asked for money or goods upfront in return for giving you credit or money later. These advance fee scams can seem convincing and have taken in many people. One example of an advance fee scam plays out in online auctions. If a buyer sends you a check for much more than you asked, be suspicious. If you accept the check and refund the extra money to the buyer, you may find out later that the check was bad and that you’ve lost the whole amount.
#6 Click fraud
Click fraud occurs when websites that are affiliates of advertising networks that pay per view or per click use spyware to force views or clicks to ads on their own websites. The affiliate is then paid a commission on the cost-per-click that was artificially generated. With paid clicks costing as much as US$100 and an online advertising industry worth more than US$10 billion, this form of Internet fraud is on the increase.
Tips to steer clear being Scammed:
So perhaps you’re already familiar with all of these scams, Hurrah! But realize that every day brings a new scam. How can you stay safe? Don’t be greedy. If a stranger contacts you offering money, think twice.Be skeptical. If you get an email from a friend or stranger that strikes you as odd, ask some questions.
Educate yourself. Learn the basics of computer safety and online security. Can you tell a secure website from an unsecure one? Do you know what Verisign is? The more you know, the safer you’ll be.