Types of Online Fraud

Online fraud is one of the most widespread forms of cybercrime.  As more and more people use their phones and computers for banking and online shopping, they become more attractive to cybercriminals, who use email messages, website, chat rooms, message boards and social networks to get access to your personal information.

In order to protect yourself against this type of crime, it is important to recognize the different types of scams criminals are using.  These include:

Key loggers – These devices log all the keystrokes entered on a particular computer. The keystrokes are then retrieved by criminals and used for their own purposes. The key logger could be hidden in an email attachment sent to you, or the criminal can install it when working on your computer via a memory stick.

  • Phishing – Fraudsters send you an email that looks like it is from a reputable institution such as your bank. You are asked to click on a link in the email or on the attachment which opens a fake website which looks exactly like the real thing. You are then asked to enter personal details such as your PIN, password, bank account or credit card details. Once all the sensitive information is obtained, they use it to defraud you.
  • SMShing – This cousin of phishing uses text messages on cellphones and smartphones instead of e-mails. The message is usually about something urgent, for example your credit card has been stolen, and instructs you to go to a certain Web site or call a phone number to verify your account information. The thieves on the receiving end then use your information to steal money from your account or open new credit cards in your name.
  • Deposit refund scam – This is where criminals contact you to tell you that an amount of money was ‘mistakenly’ deposited into your account. The caller will ask you to refund the amount and will fax a ‘proof of payment’ to you. After you have refunded the money electronically, you will never see it again once the bank reverses the fraudulent deposit.

Top tip!  The more you know about the latest scams the better you will be able to protect yourself and your assets.  The most important thing to remember is not to provide any of your personal or account details if you have any doubts at all!

Next article:  How to avoid online fraud