In the United States, criminal activities that involve perpetration of a fraud through the use of the Internet or computer may take many forms. One common form of Internet fraud includes “hacking” where the perpetrator uses sophisticated technological tools to remotely access a secure network or computer location. The next common criminal activity involves the illegal interception of an electronic transmission. It includes the interception of private information such as credit card information, passwords and other types of identity theft.
The federal laws definition of computer fraud is the use of a computer to create a deceitful misrepresentation of information. In the attempt to persuade another to do or refrain from doing something that results in a loss. Individuals may create fraudulent misrepresentation in a variety of ways. They may modify computer input in an unauthorized way. In addition, they may embezzle company funds by modifying input data. Secondly, criminals can alter or even delete stored data. Some criminals are capable of rewriting software codes which are uploaded into a bank’s mainframe. As a result, the bank provides identifiable information of an individual to the cyber criminal. The criminals may use the obtained information to make unauthorized credit card purchases.
How to Detect Internet Fraud
Internet based fraud is a multimillion dollar enterprise that illegally cons individuals of their life saving, personal property and even private data that is stolen off computer hard drives. Internet scam can be found though malicious websites and emails. Individuals should always take precautions whenever anyone requests private information such as bank account number or passwords. In detecting fraud via the web, individuals should be observant and diligent.
- Individuals should pay attention to the sending address of any emails they receive. If the email address contains gibberish or connects with a website that does not match who the email claims to be from, it is likely that the email is fraudulent.
- In placing your mouse over links on a website, the bottom of your browser will indicate the email address the message will be sent to. If the destination link contains random sequences of letters and numbers or directs you to a different site containing a different link, it is more likely to be a part of a scam. In clicking on the link, it may cause malwares to be downloaded on your computer.
- Look out for emails that request your bank account number or passwords. Typically banks never request your personal information through emails and neither does legitimate businesses. If a website is asking for your personal information, it is recommended to verify the web address and email address the request is coming from. If the email is legit you may respond to the email. In order to verify the email address, it is required for an individual to contact the company. In contacting them, they will be able to validate the email.
- Normally websites that contain spelling error or grammatical mistakes are fraudulent sites. It is required for individuals to be cautious of such sites.
- Individuals should contact their bank or the actual business over the phone. In obtaining the phone number from phone book or other legitimate source, it will avoid individuals from calling a fraudulent number. In calling the company, you are capable of inquiring about the validity of the website or email address in question.
How to Avoid Fraud via Internet
In cyberspace, it is important for individuals to be careful when doing business. Many scams that are done through snail mail or over the phone can be found online. The following information will outline how individuals can avoid web based fraud.
- When making online purchases, it is recommended that individuals buy from companies they are familiar with.
- The web should be used to research the history of a company. In researching the company, you will know if they are legitimate.
- Before making an online purchase, ensure that you look at consumer’s reviews and ratings of the company.
- When provided your personal information such as credit card number, ensure it is used for making purchases only and not for verifying your identity.
- Individuals should not provide their Social Security Number (SSN) online unless they are applying for employment or credit.
- It is recommended that individuals utilize their credit card or prepaid cards online. In using a credit card, they may be able to report internet fraud and dispute charges with the financial institution in the event of a fraud. In addition, in using a prepaid card there is only limited funds tied to the card and can be loaded when the individual intends to make an online purchase.
How to Report Internet Fraud
In today’s society web based fraud and computer scams occur on a daily basis. In the United States, many individuals fall prey to computer fraud and web scams. It costs both the government and citizens millions of dollars each year. Individuals can help by filing complaints when they have been victimized or approached with a web based scam.
When reporting a web based fraud, it is required that you provide the web address, phone number and email address of the fraudulent company or individual. In addition, you should provide any other information relating to the individual or company you are complaining about. Depending on the nature of the crime and complaint, there are various entities that an individual can report the incident to. Once the report is submitted, the relevant entity will take the necessary actions.