Types of online fraud include:
Through the use of fraudulent emails, internet thieves attempt to "phish" for your confidential information. They attempt to steal this information from you by means of "pop-ups" or emails with internet links to deceive you into disclosing sensitive information (such as bank account numbers and Social Security numbers).
Often the email appears to be from a trusted source (such as your financial institution) and directs you to a "spoof" website that requests you to divulge sensitive information or even ask you to call a phone number and provide account information. But the Website is a fake.
Malware, short for "malicious software," includes viruses, spyware and trojans that are designed to infiltrate or damage a computer system. Malware is often used to steal personal information and commit fraud. There are several easy ways to minimize the risk of malware:
Vishing is the criminal practice of using social engineering over the telephone system, most often using features facilitated by Voice over IP (VoIP), to gain access to private personal and financial information from the public for the purpose of financial reward.
Money mules are unsuspecting victims who become middlemen for criminals trying to launder stolen funds or merchandise. This type of online scam preys on victims who are unaware that the money or merchandise they are transferring is stolen. In these scams, the stolen money or merchandise is transferred from the victim's country to the scam operator's country.
The internet has provided consumers with more transaction and business offerings than ever before. An individual can bid on a luxury item and a business owner can advertise to a global market at a click of the button. As a consumer you must be aware that internet scams are as varied and abundant as the legitimate offerings on the internet.
Some of the most common internet scams are Auction Frauds (misrepresentation or non-delivery of an advertised product through an internet auction site), Email Fraud/SPAM (unsolicited offers with the objective of gathering personal information that can be used to steal your money and/or your identity), Lottery or Sweepstakes Scam (tricking consumers into believing they have won large sums of cash through foreign lotteries), Overpayment Scam (a so-called buyer comes up with a reason for writing you a check for more than the purchase price, and asks you to wire back the difference).
- Learn to detect fake emails and websites requesting your personal information.
- Review your credit report at least twice a year. Check for unauthorized changes and new accounts in your name. Remember, consumers can obtain free copies of their credit reports once each year from the credit reporting companies.
- Use virus protection software
- Make sure your password is complex and memorized. Change your Password regularly.
- Verify the security certificate of any website you're going to input sensitive information into.
- Check for the yellow lock icon in the status bar of your browser. This means that the website uses encryption to protect your information. Make sure the yellow lock icon is closed, indicating that the encryption is on. Double-click it to display the security certificate. The security certificate information should match the name of the site you intended to be on.
- Do not share any confidential information through suspicious emails, websites, social media networks, text messages or phone calls.
- If you receive a suspicious email, do not click on any links or reply to it. Simply delete it.
- Avoid using a public or shared computer for personal and financial transactions. Only conduct Online Banking and financial transactions using a trusted computer
- Avoid downloads from file sharing and social networking sites, which can be distribution points for malware.
- If your computer is infected with a virus, run anti-virus software to remove the infection and change passwords on all your financial and personal accounts including your email using a secure device.
- Make sure the computer(s) you use have current software security patches and anti-virus software. Anti-virus software requires frequent updates to guard against new viruses.
- Wireless access should be secured with strong password encryption. Be cautious when using public hotspots and consider your Wi-Fi auto-connect settings.
- Use common sense. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.