Internet Fraud

by Rudolf Faix Saturday, July 11, 2015 2:56 AM

three monkeys: don't see, don't speak, don't hearScammers can use the Internet to promote fraud through unsolicited or junk emails, known as spam and advertisings. Even if they only get a handful of replies from the millions of emails they send out, it is still worth their while. Be wary of replying, even just to "unsubscribe", because that will give a scammer confirmation that they have reached a real email address. Any email you receive that comes from a sender you do not know, is not specifically addressed to you, and promises you some benefit is likely to be spam.

Malicious software - also referred to as malware, spyware, key loggers, trojan horses or trojans - poses online security threats. Scammers try to install this software on your computer so that they can gain access to files stored on your computer and other personal details and passwords.

Phishing scams are all about tricking you into handing over your personal and banking details to scammers. The emails you receive might look and sound legitimate but in reality genuine organizations like a bank or a government authority will never expect you to send your personal information by an email or online.

Scammers use a wide range of tricks to get their software onto your computer. They may trick you into clicking on a link or pop-up message in a spam email, or by getting you to visit a fake website set up solely to infect people’s computers.

Scammers can easily copy the logo or even the entire website of a genuine organization. So don’t just assume an email you receive is legitimate. If the email is asking you to visit a website to "update", "validate" or "confirm" your account information, be sceptical.

Delete phishing emails. They can carry viruses that can infect your computer. Do not open any attachments or follow any links in phishing emails.

Online auctions and Internet shopping can be a lot of fun and can also help you find good deals. Unfortunately, they also attract scammers.

Scammers will often try to get you to deal outside of online auction sites. They may claim the winner of an auction that you were bidding on has pulled out and offer the item to you. Once you have paid, you will never hear from them again and the auction site will not be able to help you.

Listed below are tips to protect yourself and your family from various forms of Internet fraud:

  • If you choose to shop online or participate in online auctions, make sure you know about refund policies and dispute-handling processes, and be careful that you are not overcharged. Also, you may want to use an escrow service, such as PayPal. This service will hold your payment and only release it to the seller once you have confirmed that you received what you paid for. There is usually a small fee for this service. A legitimate bank or financial institution will never ask you to click on a link in an email or send your account details through an email or website.

  • Never buy from bidders with poor ratings on auction sites, and do your best to ensure that you are only making purchases from genuine shopping sites. Never provide your personal, credit card or account information unless you are certain the site is genuine.

  • Don’t reply to spam emails, even to unsubscribe, and do not click on any links or call any telephone number listed in a spam email. Make sure you have current protective software or get advice from a computer specialist.

  • If an email or pop-up offers you a product or service that genuinely interests you and it seems reasonable, be sure that you understand all the terms and conditions and costs involved before making a purchase or providing your details.

  • Ask yourself: By opening this suspect email, will I risk the security of my computer? Are the contact details provided in the email correct? Telephone your bank or financial institution to ask whether the email you received is genuine.

 

Dating and Romance Scams

by Rudolf Faix Friday, July 10, 2015 5:15 PM

Sunset on the beach

Whether you are a male or a female, you should read this as the scenario below could easily apply to either gender. Months of online dating doesn't seem to be paying off. You're flipping through hundreds of profiles a night and everyone's either shallow or not that good looking. You finally think your luck is turning around when you hear from a lonely widow from Eastern Europe. She is gorgeous in her pictures and seems really into you! Alternatively, maybe you are a female and you just connected with a man working or being a soldier overseas.

After a few emails, you start to fall in love - and are thrilled to hear she reciprocates, calling you (after four to five months) "the love of her life". When it comes time for you two to get together, she tells you she needs money. Maybe she can't afford a plane ticket. Maybe she's sick and needs medicine. Maybe she lost her wallet in a foreign city or maybe she had a flood or a fire at her home. Or, one of the latest reasons ... she needs to take an AIDS test, which is required in her country before international travel.

Whatever it is, it seems like a small price to pay for true love - and it would be, if the love were "true". But this isn't who you thought it was - she may not even be a woman, but a guy in Nigeria. Don't feel bad: tens of thousands of men have fallen victim to this and tens of thousands more will

Despite the many legitimate dating websites operating around the world, there are many dating and romance scams as well. Dating and romance scams try to lower your defences by appealing to your romantic and compassionate side.

Some dating and romance scams work by setting up a dating website where you pay for each email or message you send and receive. The scammer will try to hook you in by continuing to send you vague-sounding emails filled with talk of love or desire. The scammer might also send emails filled with details of their home country or town that do not refer to you much at all. These are attempts to keep you writing back and paying money for use of the scammer’s dating website.

Even on a legitimate dating site, you might be approached by a scammer - perhaps someone who claims to have a very sick family member or who is in the depths of despair (often these scammers claim to be from Russia, Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia or another low wage country). After they have sent you a few messages, and maybe even a glamorous photo, you will be asked (directly or more subtly) to send them money to help their situation. Some scammers even arrange to meet with you, in the hope that you give them presents or money - and then they disappear.

In other cases, scammers will try to build a friendship with you, perhaps even sending you flowers or other small gifts. After building a relationship, the scammer will tell you about a large amount of money they need to transfer out of their country, or that they want to share with you. They will then ask for your banking details or money for an administrative fee or tax that they claim needs to be paid to free up the money.

Some sentiment con artists search out a specialty of different fixations where they will locate a dark interest and they will make the casualty believe that in the event that they pay for the con artist's plane ticket that they will get the chance to carry on a sexual dream of theirs by having the con artist come to them to engage in sexual relations. The con artists likewise like to lure casualties to perform sexual follows up on webcam. They then record their casualties, play back the recorded pictures or features to them and after that blackmail cash to keep them from sending the recordings to companions, family, executives, regularly found by means of online networking destinations, for example, Facebook, twitter and so forth.

The expert dater contrasts from alternate tricks in system for operation; a vis-à-vis meeting really does happen in the con artist's nation however is committed singularly into controlling the imprint into spending however much cash as could reasonably be expected in generally little time, with little or nothing consequently. The plan as a rule includes associates, for example, a mediator and a cab driver, all of which must be paid by the casualty at a swelled cost. Everything is pre-orchestrated so that the well off nonnative pays top dollar for convenience, is taken not to a standard open bistro but rather to the most exorbitant eatery (generally some off the beaten path spot evaluated far above what local people would ever be willing to pay), and is controlled into making different extravagant buys, including endowments, for example, hardware and fur garments.

The merchants are regularly some piece of the plan. The imprint allows pretty much as to sit unbothered yet poorer toward the end of the excursion. The stock is come back to the merchants, the genius dater and the different accessories stash their separate cut of the take. As the expert dater is anxious to date once more, the following date is instantly situated up with the following well off outsider.

The assumed relationship goes no further, but to immerse the hapless imprint with solicitations for more cash after they return home. Dissimilar to a gold digger, who weds for cash, an expert dater is not so much single or accessible, all things considered.

What makes this scam even worse is that most of the victims refuse to believe they have been scammed, even after they lost the first round of cash. They’ll keep putting in money, truly believing they are helping a future life-mate and ignore all advice from friends.

Protect yourself:

  • Check website addresses carefully. Scammers often set up fake websites with very similar addresses to legitimate dating websites.

  • You should never pay for somebody you have never met. Never send money, or give credit card or online account details to anyone you do not know and trust.

  • If she insists on you paying for the plane ticket, buy it for her directly with no refund option. At least that way, he/she can't just take the money and run.

  • Don’t give out any personal information in an email or when you are chatting online.

  • Make sure you only use legitimate and reputable dating websites.

  • Ask yourself if someone which you have never met really declare their love for you after only a few letters or emails?

  • Run their name (even if they are fake) by professional companies that provide background checking of online dating users. There are just a few legitimate companies that provide this service.

 

Nigerian Letter or “419” Fraud

by Rudolf Faix Friday, July 10, 2015 5:43 AM

Laptop with flying bank notesNigerian letter frauds combine the threat of impersonation fraud with a variation of an advance fee scheme in which a letter mailed from Nigeria offers the recipient the “opportunity” to share in a percentage of millions of dollars that the author - a self-proclaimed government official - is trying to transfer illegally out of Nigeria. The recipient is encouraged to send information to the author, such as blank letterhead stationery, bank name and account numbers, and other identifying information using a fax number provided in the letter. Some of these letters have also been received via e-mail through the Internet. The scheme relies on convincing a willing victim, who has demonstrated a “propensity for larceny” by responding to the invitation, to send money to the author of the letter in Nigeria in several installments of increasing amounts for a variety of reasons.

Payment of taxes, bribes to government officials, and legal fees are often described in great detail with the promise that all expenses will be reimbursed as soon as the funds are spirited out of Nigeria. In actuality, the millions of dollars do not exist, and the victim eventually ends up with nothing but loss. Once the victim stops sending money, the perpetrators have been known to use the personal information and checks that they received to impersonate the victim, draining bank accounts and credit card balances. While such an invitation impresses most law-abiding citizens as a laughable hoax, millions of dollars in losses are caused by these schemes annually. Some victims have been lured to Nigeria, where they have been imprisoned against their will along with losing large sums of money. The Nigerian government is not sympathetic to victims of these schemes, since the victim actually conspires to remove funds from Nigeria in a manner that is contrary to Nigerian law. The schemes themselves violate section 419 of the Nigerian criminal code, hence the label “419 fraud.”

Tips for Avoiding Nigerian Letter or “419” Fraud:

  • If you receive a letter from Nigeria asking you to send personal or banking information, do not reply in any manner. Send the letter to your local authorities.

  • If you know someone who is corresponding in one of these schemes, encourage that person to contact the local authorities as soon as possible.

  • Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as Nigerian or foreign government officials asking for your help in placing large sums of money in overseas bank accounts.

  • Do not believe the promise of large sums of money for your cooperation.

  • Guard your account information carefully.

 

Identity Theft

by Rudolf Faix Thursday, July 9, 2015 4:08 PM

Comic Identity TheftIdentity theft occurs when someone assumes your identity to perform a fraud or other criminal act. Criminals can get the information they need to assume your identity from a variety of sources, including by stealing your wallet, rifling through your trash, or by compromising your credit or bank information. They may approach you in person, by telephone, or on the Internet and ask you for the information.

Identity fraud can be described as the use of that stolen identity in criminal activity to obtain goods or services by deception.

Fraudsters can use your identity details to: 

  • Open bank accounts.
  • Obtain credit cards, loans and state benefits.
  • Order goods in your name.
  • Take over your existing accounts.
  • Take out mobile phone contracts.
  • Obtain genuine documents such as passports and driving licences in your name.
  • Stealing an individual’s identity details does not, on its own, constitute identity fraud. But using that identity for any of the above activities does. 

The first you know of it may be when you receive bills or invoices for things you haven’t ordered, or when you receive letters from debt collectors for debts that aren’t yours.

The sources of information about you are so numerous that you cannot prevent the theft of your identity. But you can minimize your risk of loss by following a few simple hints.

Tips for Avoiding Identity Theft:

  • Never throw away ATM receipts, credit statements, credit cards, or bank statements in a usable form.

  • Never give your credit card number over the telephone unless you make the call.

  • If you receive an unsolicited email or phone call from what appears to be your bank or building society asking for your security details, never reveal your full password, login details or account numbers. Be aware that a bank will never ask for your PIN or for a whole security number or password.

  • Reconcile your bank account monthly, and notify your bank of discrepancies immediately.

  • If you’re expecting a bank or credit card statement and it doesn’t arrive, tell your bank or credit card company.

  • Keep a list of telephone numbers to call to report the loss or theft of your wallet, credit cards, etc.

  • Report unauthorized financial transactions to your bank, credit card company, and the police as soon as you detect them.

  • If you move house, ask your mail service to redirect your post for at least a year.

  • Review a copy of your credit report at least once each year. Notify the credit bureau in writing of any questionable entries and follow through until they are explained or removed.

  • If your identity has been assumed, ask the credit bureau to print a statement to that effect in your credit report.

  • If you know of anyone who receives mail from credit card companies or banks in the names of others, report it to local or federal law enforcement authorities.

 

Telemarketing Fraud

by Rudolf Faix Thursday, July 9, 2015 3:24 PM

black man with poster '100% risk free'When you send money to people you do not know personally or give personal or financial information to unknown callers, you increase your chances of becoming a victim of telemarketing fraud.

Every year, thousands of people lose money to telephone scams - from a few dollars to their life savings. Scammers will say anything to cheat people out of money. Some seem very friendly - calling you by your first name, making small talk, and asking about your family. They may claim to work for a company you trust, or they may send mail or place ads to convince you to call them.

If you get a call from someone you don’t know who is trying to sell you something you hadn’t planned to buy, say "No thanks." And, if they pressure you about giving up personal information - like your credit card or Social Security number - it’s likely a scam. Hang up and report it to the governemnt authorities.

Here are some warning signs of telemarketing fraud - what a caller may tell you:

  • “You must act ‘now’ or the offer won’t be good.”

  • "You've been specially selected (for this offer)."

  • “You’ve won a ‘free’ gift, vacation, or prize." But you have to pay for “postage and handling” or other charges.

  • "You trust me, right?"

  • "This investment is low risk and provides a higher return than you can get anywhere else."

  • “You must send money, give a credit card or bank account number, or have a check picked up by courier.” You may hear this before you have had a chance to consider the offer carefully.

  • “You don’t need to check out the company with anyone.” The callers say you do not need to speak to anyone including your family, lawyer, accountant, local Better Business Bureau, or consumer protection agency.

  • “You don’t need any written information about their company or their references.”

  • “You can’t afford to miss this ‘high-profit, no-risk’ offer.”

If you hear these or similar “lines” from a telephone salesperson, just say “no thank you” and hang up the telephone.

How They Hook You

Scammers use exaggerated - or even fake - prizes, products or services as bait. Some may call you, but others will use mail, texts, or ads to get you to call them for more details. Here are a few examples of “offers” you might get:

  • Travel Packages. “Free” or “low cost” vacations can end up cost­ing a bundle in hidden costs. Some of these vacations never take place, even after you’ve paid.

  • Credit and loans. Advance fee loans, payday loans, credit card protection and offers to lower your credit card interest rates are very popular schemes, especially during a down economy.

  • Sham or exaggerated business and investment opportunities. Promoters of these have made millions of dollars. Scammers rely on the fact that business and investing can be complicated and that most people don’t research the investment.

  • Charitable causes. Urgent requests for recent disaster relief efforts are especially common on the phone.

  • High-stakes foreign lotteries. These pitches are against the law, which prohibits the cross-border sale or purchase of lottery tickets by phone or mail. What’s more, you may never see a ticket.

  • Extended car warranties. Scammers find out what kind of car you drive, and when you bought it so they can urge you to buy overpriced - or worthless - plans.

  • “Free” trial offers. Some companies use free trials to sign you up for products - sometimes lots of products - which can cost you lots of money because they bill you every month until you cancel.

Tips for Avoiding Telemarketing Fraud

It’s very difficult to get your money back if you’ve been cheated over the telephone. Before you buy anything by telephone, remember:

  • Don’t buy from an unfamiliar company. Legitimate businesses understand that you want more information about their company and are happy to comply.

  • Always ask for and wait until you receive written material about any offer or charity. If you get brochures about costly investments, ask someone whose financial advice you trust to review them. But, unfortunately, beware-not everything written down is true.

  • Always check out unfamiliar companies with your local consumer protection agency, Better Business Bureau, state attorney general, the National Fraud Information Center, or other watchdog groups. Unfortunately, not all bad businesses can be identified through these organizations.

  • Obtain a salesperson’s name, business identity, telephone number, street address, mailing address, and business license number before you transact business. Some con artists give out false names, telephone numbers, addresses, and business license numbers. Verify the accuracy of these items.

  • Before you give money to a charity or make an investment, find out what percentage of the money is paid in commissions and what percentage actually goes to the charity or investment.

  • Before you send money, ask yourself a simple question. “What guarantee do I really have that this solicitor will use my money in the manner we agreed upon?”

  • Don’t pay in advance for services. Pay services only after they are delivered.

  • Be wary of companies that want to send a messenger to your home to pick up money, claiming it is part of their service to you. In reality, they are taking your money without leaving any trace of who they are or where they can be reached.

  • Always take your time making a decision. Legitimate companies won’t pressure you to make a snap decision.

  • Don’t pay for a “free prize.” If a caller tells you the payment is for taxes, he or she is violating federal law.

  • Before you receive your next sales pitch, decide what your limits are-the kinds of financial information you will and won’t give out on the telephone.

  • Be sure to talk over big investments offered by telephone salespeople with a trusted friend, family member, or financial advisor. It’s never rude to wait and think about an offer.

  • Never respond to an offer you don’t understand thoroughly.

  • Never send money or give out personal information such as credit card numbers and expiration dates, bank account numbers, dates of birth, or social security numbers to unfamiliar companies or unknown persons.

  • Be aware that your personal information is often brokered to telemarketers through third parties.

  • If you have been victimized once, be wary of persons who call offering to help you recover your losses for a fee paid in advance.

  • If you have information about a fraud, report it to state, local, or federal law enforcement agencies.

 

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AboutMe

I'm since more then 35 years in the computer business (programming and technical support) and using the Internet since it has started. Since 2002 I'm programming solutions for Asterisk and since 2004 I'm in the call center industry.

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