The internet has numerous useful purposes and is all but the catalyst of our civilizations rise, but not everything on the web is what it seems. Dispersed among the millions of legitimate websites vying for attention are websites set up for all sorts of nefarious purposes, from perpetrating identity theft to credit card fraud.
These scam websites work in a wide variety of ways, from publishing misleading information to promising wild rewards in financial exchanges. Most are deliberately designed to look like legitimate, trustworthy websites, such as those operated by official government organizations, for example.
Their end goal is always the same: to get you to relinquish your personal or financial information.
Here are some of the most common types of frauds committed online:
1. Identity fraud is the most common form of internet fraud done by scammers. The way it is conducted is that the scammers hijack the email account of one particular victim in order to have access to all the contact lists from the email account. The scammer then sends mail from some of the email ids that are present in the hacked email account asking to wire money. The victim, who receives the mail, believes that the email is legitimately sent from the friend's email id. This also includes tax and social security number frauds.
2. Credit card fraud/forgery is also very common. The credit card details of the victim are targeted by the scammer with the intent to defraud the user. Such attacks are made successful by phishing attacks where the scammer phishes a fake page appearing to be legitimate to the user. The user as usual enters the personal information along with the credit card details. The scammer has access to all the information on the phishing page and thus obtains the users credit card details.
3. Overpayment fraud is a new and frankly ingenious financial fraud method that is gaining traction is scammers appear to be legitimate buyers and often pay an extra amount which is called "overpayment". The scammer smartly does this overpayment and asks the seller to wire back the additional amount paid. The strategy here is to obtain the refund amount by issuing a fake check. The user who received the overpayment refunds the extra amount to the scammer and ends up with no money being received from the other end.
4. Auction scam is another form of internet fraud where scammers appear to be legitimate buyers in online auction sites. There are many crimes committed by fraudsters in almost all auction sites. The scammer uses the overpayment scheme to facilitate their auction scam making the user wire the extra money back to the scammer.
5. Arguably the most popular and common type of internet fraud is the phishing scam. Phishing is a technique where the scammer masquerades a page on the web when the user is just about to enter the personal information. When the user sets up the credit card information or password data, the scammer manages to phish a page which is an exact copy of the banking page. Without the knowledge of this happening users tend to enter all the details which are stolen by the scammer at the other end. The most common way in which a scammer becomes successful in phishing attack is by sending emails. The scammer sends emails that appear to have come from the victim's bank, asking them to clarify their personal information.
Phishing scam is the origin of other scams such as identity theft, user information fraud, credit card scam, and so on.
Scammers are getting increasingly sophisticated in their attempts to get your money or personal details. Be alert and protect yourself from being scammed!