Internet Fraud

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Internet Fraud (or Online Fraud) refers to any type of Fraud scheme that may use email, web sites, chat rooms or message boards to present fraudulent solicitations to prospective victims; it also includes the conduct of fraudulent transactions and to transmit the proceeds of fraud to financial institutions or to others connected with the scheme.

Types of Internet Fraud

Although there are countless types and categories of Internet Fraud, some common ones include:


See main article: Spam


Phishing is a technique used to gain personal information for the purpose of identity theft.

See main article: Phishing

Identity Theft

Identity Theft is basically the theft and use of personal identifying information of an actual person, as opposed to the use of a fictitious identity. This can include the theft and use of identifying personal information of persons either living or dead. [1]

See main article: Identity Theft

Internet Banking Fraud

Internet Banking Fraud is a Fraud or theft committed using online technology to illegally remove money from a bank account and/or transfer money to an account in a different bank. Internet Banking Fraud is a form of Identity Theft and is usually made possible through techniques such as Phishing.

How to Protect Yourself from Falling Victim to Internet Fraud [2]

  • Know who you’re dealing with. If the company or seller or charity is unfamiliar with yourself and/or others, check with your state or local consumer protection agency and the Better Business Bureau. Some Web sites have feedback forums, which can provide useful information about other people’s experiences with particular sellers. Get the physical address and phone number in case there is a problem with your order later.

  • Look for information about how complaints are handled. It can be difficult to resolve complaints, especially if the seller or charity is located in another country (This may be an early sign of a fraudulent company). Look on the Web site for information about programs the company or organization participates in that require it to meet standards for reliability and help to handle disputes.

  • Be aware that no complaints is no guarantee. Fraudulent operators open and close quickly, so the fact that no one has made a complaint yet doesn’t meant that the seller or charity is legitimate; it may just mean that no one has been able to complain about the company's practices. You should still look for other danger signs of fraud.

  • Don’t believe promises of easy money or "Get rick quick scams". If someone claims that you can earn money quickly with little or no work, get a loan or credit card even if you have bad credit, or make money on an investment with little or no risk, it’s most probably a scam.

  • Understand the offer. A legitimate seller will give you all the details about the products or services, the total price (including the sneaky shipping/processing and handling fees), the delivery time, the refund and cancellation policies, and the terms of any warranty.

  • Resist pressure. Legitimate companies and charities will be happy to give you time to make a decision. It’s probably a scam if they demand that the offer ends soon and you must act immediately or just won’t take “No” for an answer.

  • Be cautious about unsolicited emails. These types of emails are often fraudulent. If you are familiar with the company, business or charity that sent you the email and you don’t want to receive further messages, send a reply asking to be removed from the email list. However, be careful because responding to unknown senders may simply verify that yours is a working email address and result in even more unwanted messages from strangers. The best approach may simply be to delete the email.

  • Guard your personal information. Don’t provide your credit card or bank account number unless you are actually paying for something. Your social security number should not be necessary unless you are applying for credit. Be especially suspicious if someone claiming to be from a company with whom you have an account asks for information that the business already has.

  • Pay the safest way. Credit cards are the safest way to pay for online purchases because you can dispute the charges if you never get the goods or services or the offer was misrepresented. Federal law limits your liability to $50 if someone makes unauthorized charges to your account, and most credit card issuers will remove them completely if you report the problem promptly. There are new technologies, such as “substitute” credit card numbers and password programs, that can offer extra measures of protection from someone else using your credit card. Also, if you are paying online, make sure you have a secure connection (look for the HTTPS by the URL) and make sure there is some form of trusted encryption (for example, SSL, Secure Socket Layer)

Consumer Advice (How To Avoid Being Scammed)