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Learning to properly detect online scams helps protect you against fraud. Read on for tips to help you spot potential fraudulent activity.
Common Warning Signs of Online Scams:
- Unexpected requests for money in return for delivery of a package, often with a sense of urgency.
- Requests for personal and/or financial information.
- Links to misspelled or slightly altered website addresses (fedx.com, fed-ex.com, etc.) Spelling and grammatical errors or excessive use of capitalization and exclamation points.
- Claims that you have won a large sum of money in a lottery or settlement.
- Certificate errors or lack of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) for sensitive activities.
Types of Fraud
Credit Card Fraud
Credit card fraud is a form of identity theft. It is committed when someone uses your card over the internet without your permission. Even though the law protects you against such activities, here are some common warning signs of credit card fraud that can help you protect yourself:
- Wrong charges on your bank statements.
- Mistakes on your credit report.
- Your bank places a temporary hold on your card or account.
Fraudulent emails are the most common avenue of online scams. Such emails attempt to trick you by pretending to come from a reputable source. They try to get you to share sensitive personal, account information or send payment.
Instant Messaging (IM) Attack
Similar to email attacks, links are delivered via Instant Messaging versus email. They work much like email attacks, where malware is launched when you click on a hyperlink that then links through to a malicious website. The malware can be spread through your IM chat sessions.
Phishing is an email fraud method where the perpetrator sends you a legitimate looking email in an attempt to gather your personal and financial information. Typically, the messages appear to come from well-known and trustworthy web sites.
Search Engine Phishing
Some phishing scams involve search engines where you are directed to product sites that may offer low cost products or services. If you enter your credit card information to purchase a product, your information is collected by the phishing site. There are many fake bank websites offering credit cards or loans at a low rate, but they are actually phishing sites.
Smishing is similar to email and IM attacks. Links are delivered to your mobile device via text messaging. In this case, malware is launched when you click on a hyperlink that then links you to a malicious website.
This term describes a non-technical kind of intrusion that relies heavily on human interaction, and often may involve tricking you into breaking normal security procedures or divulging confidential information. The perpetrator may try to appeal to your vanity, authority level and/or greed.
Your company or organization may be targeted in a spearfishing email attack. The spoofing email may request unauthorized access to confidential data.
The telephone version of phishing is vishing. In phone phishing, you may receive a message asking you to call a number. The purpose is to get your personal information, which could be used to access your account or open new credit cards in your name.