“How to safeguard yourself from online fraud – an overview and precautions”
“Computers make it easier to do a lot of things, but most of the things they make it easier to do don’t need to be done”. This famous quote by Andy Rooney elucidates the significance of online computing and its wise usage.
It has seen that computer usage is proportionately linked with social responsibility and social responsiveness; it is same as pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics in medicine science; what medicine can do to human body and how human body can react for or against that particular medicine composition.
According to Forrester, report online frauds are growing by 20% each year.
I rarely use online transaction, and if I use them then I make sure that the transaction is completed without any compromises or shortfall. Recently I was planning to buy another Digital SLR to add value to my photography passion. I wanted to buy Nikon D60 with Lens kit. After checking all the online and offline options, I found out that the Bestbuy stores are selling these Cameras at very reasonable price than any other vendors such as Tigerdirect, Future-shop, Sears, Black’s and Wal-Mart. Nevertheless curiosity being my second nature I wanted to get much better online deal.
I googled the phrase “cheepest nikon D60”.
It routed me to this website where I was getting Nikon D60 Body @ US$ 279.00 and Nikon D60 body w/ 18 – 55mm VR lens kit @ US$359.00. It was unbelievable offer. It was really too good to be true. Therefore, I wanted to do some online research about this site. I clicked on the first link..
Ideally, whenever I perform online transaction I either go with reputed brand or do my standard procedure of scrupulous research. I suggest everyone to follow mentioned below steps for scam free safe online transaction:
Type this phrase in the Google search bar “Fraud or scam+company name”.
As above, you can see that Goggle has populated 12,500 pages in .09 sec.
Click on the first page that exactly matches the word in phrase. These pages depict live experience of the user or victim. They convey their message via Forum, blog or some portal. Please note; It may possible that the company is not fraud or related to direct scam nevertheless mentioned below remarks are genuine customer experiences. This shows that their processes are not streamlined and they are less concern about TCE (Total Customer Experince).
Few user comments are print screened here.
Above-mentioned steps are the primary, easiest and inexpensive way to save ourselves, and fight against online scam and fraud.
Analysts and pundits agree that cyber crime, fraud and scam remains a serious, costly and growing problem. Fraud solutions that focus only on the behaviour of the criminal fall short because they neglect a critical dimension of the problem: the identification of the device used to perpetrate the crime. The emergence of social awareness is must for customers and companies to reliably capture first-time fraud while at the same time accurately recognize valuable returning customers.
Few facts, which you should know about online fraud, scams and con artists, are mentioned below:
FACT # 1: Fraud is the number one crime against seniors.
RIGHT – Some seniors are lonely, vulnerable, home during the day and trusting. Moreover, they are perceived to have money. This makes them very good targets for frauds and scams. However, fraud no longer discriminates based on age. Anyone is a target and could become a victim.
FACT # 2: Con artists target people with lots of money to lose.
WRONG – Con artists do not care how much money you have. They just want all of it. If they can get $100 from 100 people that is $10,000. Not bad for a day or two of work. Billions of dollars are lost every year to frauds and scams.
FACT # 3: Con artists give the impression that they are friendly, helpful and trustworthy and will not usually use physical violence.
RIGHT: True The old saying, “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” certainly applies. While a con artist may pester someone to buy something or convince them to invest hard earned savings, he or she does not want to be noticed by police. Physical violence will usually bring the police. The con artist knows an easier target is always around the corner.
FACT # 4: When a company gives information in writing you can be sure no fraud will occur.
WRONG: Anyone with a computer can create official looking documents designed to convince people a company is legitimate. Ask to see a business license and references and then CHECK IT OUT. Call information. Check the yellow pages. Visit the offices of the company if you can. Make sure you know who you are doing business or buying stuffs with.
FACT # 5: If I only lose a small amount of money, then I am not a victim. I just made a mistake and should learn a lesson.
WRONG: All frauds should be reported, even if you are embarrassed or feel the amount of money is too small to worry about. You may not get your money back but the more information the fraud investigators have the easier it is to start tracking people down and put a case together. Report frauds to your local police or PHONEBUSTERS. If you have a concern about a business transaction, contact your local provincial consumer ministry or bank for more inforamation.
Scams such as Spoofing and Phishing to commit identity theft are becoming more prevalent these days. Protecting your personal information from identity theft is a crucial matter and there are many ways the unscrupulous can gain access to such information. Identity theft involves the use of your personal information – such as your name, Social Security number, credit card or bank account numbers, or other identifying information – by someone else, to commit fraud or other crimes.
• E-mail Phishing – Involves you receiving an e-mail that appears to be from a legitimate company, such as Bank or social networking sites. It may even include the company’s logo and a link to an Internet address that looks appropriate. This e-mail directs you to link to a website where you are to supply account or personal information. However, simply clicking the link could secretly install software on your computer. The software may infect your computer with a virus or record and transmit everything you type, including passwords.
Additionally, the website you link to may be spoofing the correct Internet site.
• Website Spoofing – Involves you trying to visit a website but accidentally keying-in or linking-to a different address. This may lead you to a website that mimics the legitimate site that you were trying to visit. The spoof Internet site may route whatever information you provide to criminals. This can include your account numbers, Social Security Numbers, credit card information, passwords and personal identification numbers. To make spoof sites seem legitimate, criminals may use the logos, graphics, names and code of the real company’s site. They also may attempt to fake the URL that appears in the address field at the top of your browser window and the padlock that appears in the lower right corner.
The best advice is to be cautious and take control of your personal information.
Protect Yourself Online
• Do not reply to an e-mail or pop-up message asking for personal or financial information. Legitimate companies will never ask for personal or financial information via an e-mail or pop-up message.
• Don’t e-mail personal or financial information. If you initiate a transaction, look for indicators that the message is secured, which can be validated by a lock icon. Most e-mail programs do not provide confidentiality via encryption.
• Use bookmarks to access known sites to avoid being lured to imposter sites
• Use updated anti-virus software. Some phishing emails contain viruses and software that can harm your computer.
Other Ways To Protect Yourself
• Shred unwanted documents that contain personal information.
• Review credit card and bank statements immediately for unauthorized charges and contact the company if statements are more than a few days late.
• Don’t leave mail in your mailbox.
• Memorize your Social Security number instead of carrying it with you.
• Don’t write down your passwords, and don’t use birth dates or names of family members as passwords.
• Take your receipts from ATMs, gas pumps, etc.
• Report lost or stolen credit and debit cards immediately!
Review Your Credit Report
Every citizen should obtain a copy of their credit report for review at least once a year:
• Equifax – http://www.equifax.com; 1-800-685-1111
• Experian – http://www.experian.com; 1-888-397-3742
• TransUnion – http://www.transunion.com; 1-800-916-8800
Get More Information
For additional information on phishing and identity theft, go to the Federal Trade Commission’s Website at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft.
Important Contact Information if You’ve Been a Victim of Identity Theft
U.S. Government Agencies
• Federal Trade Commission
Identity Theft Clearing House
• Social Security Administration
Fraud Hotline: 800-269-0271
Credit Reporting Agencies
To request a credit report and/or to report fraud: 888-397-3742
To request a credit report: 800-685-1111 Option 4
To report fraud: 800-525-6285
• TransUnion Corporation
To request a credit report: 800-916-8800
To report fraud: 800-680-7289