Internet frauds and scams can occur at any time. Any internet user is a potential victim. Thus, it is significant to understand how internet frauds work so that online users, developers and site owners can protect their hard-earned money.
Alexander Peresunko, the Semalt Customer Success Manager, outlines in this article common frauds and scams that can be encountered both online and offline.
To start with, identity theft denotes the use of another person’s personal information such as social insurance number, maiden or mother’s name to commit crimes. Internet users should be aware that using other people’s identity is highly illegal as declared in January 2010.
Secondly, identity fraud refers to the use of another person’s identity (whether dead or living) or even using a fake identity by fraudsters. For instance, application of a visa card in the name of a deceased person. Internet fraudsters look up for personal info such as user names or passwords, date of birth, full address, social insurance number and full names for banking as well as credit card information, online services and signatures with intentions of committing internet crimes.
The third type of internet fraud concerns credit and debit cards. The debit card internet fraud occurs when a fraudster swipes the card information from its strip or barcode to duplicate the card. It is executed by the use of “skimming” machine that scans the back of a credit/debit card and captures important information (for example, account number and account names) and without making any contact with the card. In extreme cases, the same machine can read the pin of a particular card.
Next, phishing, also known as brand spoofing is an online fraud that entails fabrication of text messages, websites, and emails by internet criminals to look as if they come from a legit origin. The messages are used in collecting sensitive, personal and financial details of a user. The phasing text messages or emails are intended to trigger a reaction from an internet user. In this regard, the content can employ a tone that demands an urgent response, exciting or upsetting information or use of false statements or information. The phishing texts are often not personalized.
The advance fee fraud is an internet scam that some firms use in providing loans to individuals. The main targets are people with bad credit rating or who cannot qualify for institutions/banks loans. They use phrases like “Don’t have a credit rating?” or “Have a bad credit history?” Once an internet user is hooked, the fraudsters initiate fraud process by asking for lump sum cash upfront so as to access loan. After receiving the money, the scammers disappear.
Lottery (or prize pitch) refers to a mass marketing internet fraud where victims receive notifications by emails, phone or messages showing they have won money or prizes. Nevertheless, before collecting the prize or cash, the victim is required to pay tax or a fee in advance. Once the victim has remitted the money, the organizing disappears or even request for more money. In this regard, the public is put on notice that lotteries or prizes won in Canada are not subject to any fees or taxes. Additionally, as a precautionary measure, internet users are encouraged to keep track of lotteries, draws or contest they enter.