Protect Yourself From Internet Fraud

Edited by Debbie, Clownz, Rebecca M., Maria Quinney


William, a retired teacher in the U.S.A., got an email that he thought was from his internet service provider. It stated that his billing information had been lost. He filled out the attached form and mailed it back to them. He didn't know it, but his personal information went to a criminal in Queens, New York. The offender used his credit card number to buy a photo ID printer on the internet. This email that he received was one of 100,000 that was sent out. Investigators reported that about 100 people responded and were fooled.

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Sadly, internet fraud is common. These threats continue costing consumers billions in damage. The number of virus attacks have increased since last year. Many households are reporting numerous problems. Many fraudulent contacts on the internet take place through the email. Some are called phishing emails. Like baiting a fish, they lure the person to give his password, credit card information, or bank account to a real looking but fake web site. Con men may get your email address by using a computer program called an email extractor. Some phishing emails can accomplish what they intend even if you do not enter your information. When you act to open up an email they can insert malware. These programs can record your computer activity. Some of them log keystrokes in order to steal your passwords and personal information. Others will direct you to a fraud site. What can you do to protect yourself?

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Watch for suspicious links in your emails. A Trojan horse,(virus) can provide backdoor access to your computer system, which may allow scammers to get your private information. Pornographic sites, websites offering software from an a source you do not know, and social networking sites are also places where con men get to personal data and plant malware programs to steal information. Stay away from emails that promise money that is too good to be true! If you are looking for a job on the internet, be careful. Con People will use fake online sites to take registration fees and even personal financial information. Thieves are now smart enough to get into the databases of companies or financial institutions and steal data. In the year 2007, criminals hacked the computer systems of a department store chain in the U.S., and got information from millions of people's records, including credit cards. In Nigeria, criminals got into the data of many banks and got away with stealing 1.5 million personal identification numbers to withdraw money from ATM machines.

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1. Make sure your computer firewall is always turned on and your operating system, applications, and virus protectors are updated on a regular basis.

2. Regularly back up your files, and store the copies safely away. 3. Use Common Sense. Do not be in a hurry to trust information on the internet.

4. Don't Be Greedy Look out for free offers that sell products at very low prices.

5. Beware of unsolicited emails or instant messages, especially when they contain links or ask for personal information such as a password.

6. Pick passwords that are hard for others to guess. Change them every 3 months, and do not use the same one for different accounts.

7. Give your credit card or banking information only to trustworthy and secure websites.

8. Be sure to type web addresses correctly, especially for financial institutions. A spelling mistake could take you to a site that is a fraud.

9. Use encrypted connections to send out sensitive data, such as credit card details, and be sure to log off the site when you are done.

10. Go over transactions on your credit card and bank statements carefully and often. As soon as you see something that does not look familiar to you, contact the company right away.

11. Be cautious when using unsecured wireless connections, as information can be stolen, and you can be directed to fake sites.

12. Remember this password? Say NO to this question. Trojan programs can produce your stored passwords.

Tips Tricks & Warnings

  • Help your children to see how dangerous it is to give out their pictures or personal information on the computer.
  • Make sure you install software that will protect you and your family.
  • If anything looks to good to be true, it probably will be.

If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


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Article Info

Categories : Travel & Leisure

Recent edits by: Rebecca M., Clownz, Debbie

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