As the Internet has evolved into a very important medium for business transactions, communication, and social interaction, cyber criminals have found a niche for launching fraud and scams for personal gain. While the volume of ecommerce transactions grows, there is a proportionate increase in the number of hacking incidents, fraud, and online identity theft that have resulted in millions being lost to cyber criminals.
If you use the Internet a lot, you have probably encountered some of the most prevalent types of online fraud and scams; the ones that use emails and instant messages. Many of these scams share central themes that ask for your personal information or to send money somewhere. These emails usually come from unknown persons or are sent by a scammer who uses a phony logo to make you believe that the communication is legitimate.
Some classic fraud and scams are almost laughable because of the very apparent con attempts, but variations of these themes continue to go around, and sadly, many are still victimized. If you are just discovering the many uses of the Internet, you should take time to read articles about Internet fraud and scams, so that you can immediately recognize one, when receiving one of these emails. If you wonder how a scammer got hold of your email, it is quite possible that the email account of one of your contacts has been hacked, giving the hacker access to a list of addresses. By being forewarned, you can avoid becoming a victim of fraud.
Most Common Types of Internet Fraud and Scams
- One of the earliest fraud and scams that has made the rounds among Internet users is called the Nigerian Scam. The email sender claims to be the widow or relative of a rich Nigerian prince, businessman, or a high ranking government official who needs urgent help to move millions of inherited money out of the country. It is further mentioned that release of the funds require payment of high legal fees, and anyone who contributes can expect a large amount in rewards.
- The Lottery Scam has claimed many victims during the early stages of its use, until people got to question the possibility of winning a lottery when they have never joined one. A newer variant of the Lottery Scam email claims that winners are randomly selected from a classified list of individuals, and you happened to be picked out as a winner of thousands or even millions. The catch in this scam is the demand for you to pay processing fees before the money can be transferred to your account.
- Phishing is one of the most popular fraud and scams designed by cyber criminals. In one of the variants, a message is made to look like an official communication complete with the logo of your email service or social media site. It states that you need to update your account by providing essential information,which includes your username and password, and non-compliance will lead to the suspension or closing down of your account. Needless to say, phishing fraud and scams are after your login credentials for hacking into your account, which can compromise important files like bank statements.