Internet fraud is the use of internet and internet services by criminals to deceit people for various purposes which generally includes financial gain. Their key techniques include hacking computers by sending viruses.
Due to full dependence on online services these days, this crime has increased significantly over the past few years. Internet fraud mostly occurs through fraudulent emails and websites.
The various types of internet/ cyber fraud are given below:
Credit Card Fraud
Credit card fraud deals with stealing credit card information online through fraudulent websites. These fraudulent websites ask users to enter their details and acquire that information which leads to substantial losses of the user.
Spam and Identity Theft
In this, fraudulent emails are sent to millions of people with an aim of hacking their systems. The email usually consists of attractive offers like loans with low-interest rates, high-paying jobs, free trips, and lotteries, etc. When the email is opened, a virus enters the system which retrieves the passwords, bank account information and other personal information of the people to commit identity theft.
Internet Auction Fraud/ Non-Delivery of Merchandise
It includes targeting online shoppers. There are various auction websites available which are basically scam websites to cheat the buyers. They post a product for sale on the website and promise to sell to the highest bidder. When the highest bidding is reached, they first collect the money before sending the product which is of course, either unreal or of a very poor quality.
Securities fraud/ Investment Fraud
This type of fraud targets stock investors. The criminals attract the investors through online newsletters and online bulletin boards. They offer inside information on the stocks (which is obviously fake), by charging them for a fee.
Internet fraud can occur in various ways. Some of them are:
• They can hack users’ computers and acquire their information.
• They can modify the information stored in databases by unauthorised access.
• They can edit the software codes in a bank’s database to achieve unauthorised transactions.
There was an online scam in which more than 100 military officers of the United States became the victims of internet fraud. Various criminals stole the personal information of the military officers from a website and then applied for credit cards.
Always take the following fraud prevention measures to avoid internet fraud:
• While shopping online, try to shop from trusted websites. If you do not have idea about the website, choose secure payment options such as credit card and COD (Cash on Delivery)
• Never reply to unknown emails or text message asking for your personal details.
• Do not click unknown links and pop-ups on your website.
• Try to avoid using public networks for doing online transactions.
Internet fraud is a very common crime these days due to increased usage of internet services and our dependence on the internet for various requirements. There can be innumerable scams on the internet. But, if we have knowledge about it and take some precautions, we can easily avoid being a victim of internet fraud and keep ourselves protected.