Online fraud (also known as Internet fraud), refers to schemes designed to swindle cash, personal information, or financial information from unsuspecting online consumers and investors. Online criminals are adept at creating fraudulent emails, offers and websites that look almost exactly the same as legitimate ones.
Typical online scams include phishing emails, online retail and auction schemes, work-at-home and get-rich-quick offers, and theft of financial information, such as credit card and debit card fraud.
Fortunately, there are a number of easy ways that you can protect yourself from becoming a victim of Internet fraud and prevent identity theft. If you know what to look for, you can protect yourself, your family members, and your bank account!
Online fraud, telephone fraud, credit and debit card fraud – it seems that there are so many ways for unscrupulous minds to take advantage of your personal and financial information. However, you can mitigate the risk by remembering a few basic rules:
•Keep your credit card numbers private. Never give your credit card number to anyone – not even someone claiming to be from a charity! – over the phone.
•Don’t fall for scams claiming big rewards for a donation of money. For example, don’t believe anyone who says they will give you a cruise if you donate $100 dollars to their charity.
•Only buy from secure online shopping sites.
•Use online bill payment services when you shop online to avoid having to enter in your credit card information. When you checkout using a service like eBillme, you pay for your purchases through online bill pay, and completely remove the need to share personal or financial information online.
•Be wary of work-from-home scams. Remember, you should be paid for doing a job; you shouldn’t have to pay to get one.
Online fraud is an unfortunate reality, but being forewarned is being forearmed. With a little information, you can easily detect scams and prevent yourself and those you know from being made victims.
You can help yourself prevent Internet fraud by being careful who you do business with. It’s always a good idea to check on a company’s track record with the Better Business Bureau. The presence of a current HackerSafe logo is also a good indication that the company is concerned with preventing Internet fraud.
Here is a list of the top ten Internet fraud scams as reported by the National Fraud Information Center for the period of January to December, 2005:
•Auctions: Goods are never delivered. 42% of complaints
•General Merchandise: Goods are not delivered. 32% of complaints
•Nigerian Money Offer Scam: 8% of complaints
•Fake Checks: 6% of complaints
•Lotteries: Request for payment to claim. 4% of complaints
•Advance Fee Loans: False promises. 1% of complaints
•Information/Adult Services: 1% of complaints
•Work-At-Home Plans: 1% of complaints
•Internet Access Services: 1% of complaints
•Phishing: Fake emails requesting information. 2% of complaints
What can you do protect yourself from online fraud? By using an online bill payment service such as Paypall, to make online purchases, you eliminate the need to divulge sensitive personal and financial information.
If retailers have responded to the increase in the amount of shopping done on Black Friday, you can bet that the fraudsters and scammers have too.
On a day when shopping traffic online increases exponentially, statistically the chances of you becoming the victim of fraud may increase as well.
Don’t become a victim of an identity theft or online fraud.
Shop safe online, and do not enter any financial information, password, PINs, etc.
Find out more about why is the safest payment option online.