Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Internet Fraud Watch: The Most Common Scams

Imagine this scenario, you are at your computer and you begin reading your email. Among all of the messages from friends or the garbage email you are getting, you notice EBay has sent you a message. A serious malfunction has happened in one of there databases. They need you to follow the URL link in your email, and begin to update your information. Of course you trust EBay, so you once again, you reenter your email address, your real address, your phone number, and finally everything was correct but they did have your credit card number wrong. As you want them to have all of your information, you enter you credit card number, and do not even hesitate before clicking submit.

I explained this scenario, the exact way it has happened for thousands of people. It's important you read this article carefully. It may just save your identity. The email you received, you may not have guessed, is a carefully thought out fake. Companies such as EBay, Paypal, your bank, or any other financial institution; will never send you an email asking you to enter such sensitive information. They also do not have members of there organization contact you over the phone, or by email, asking for specific identification nor verification.

If you have received an email such as this, it is a false forgery, and its purpose is to defraud you of whatever money or information it can. Today's internet criminals use sophisticated tools to steal your important assets. Let's discuss a few of these now.

Ø Email, forged to look like the address it came from is whomever they are using. Most of the time, this is EBay, Paypal, your bank, or another internet icon, they can use to earn your trust.

Ø A Spoofed URL, they are carefully planned to look like they are coming from the company in question.

Ø Stolen Web Designs, you are directed to a site that looks like it is the company they have used to bait you.

Ø A Professional Demeanor, the pages do not have misspelled words, the forms look professional, and they are well thought out and put together.

The goal of this internet criminal is to make you give up your information. I am sure that this may make you feel like you may want to give up, and stop using your computer all together. However there are many ways to combat these criminals, and simple tips to make your internet browsing be safer.

Ø Install a spam filter for your computer.

Ø Do not answer emails asking for sensitive information.

Ø Do not use email linked urls to visit sites, unless you are absolutely positive it came from the company it says it has.

Ø Always change information by logging into the actual websites of these companies.

Ø Triple check that a URL is,,, or whatever institution you're visiting, before you ever enter sensitive information.

Ø Never answer sensitive questions from people calling you, only do this if you have called them.

Ø In addition to the above steps, always make sure you have anti-virus, and anti-spy ware programs installed.

Following these steps and making them a habit, will ensure your safe browsing on the internet. It is important for me to repeat, these companies, or any other will never ask you for sensitive information directly. Before you become a victim, make sure to educate yourself on these safe practices. An internet criminal, will find new ways to try and steal from you. Don't give them the opportunity. Protect yourself now.

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