Internet Scams & Prevention

Internet scams are the type of fraud or deception which makes use of the internet and could involve hiding of information or providing incorrect information for the purpose of tricking victims out of money, property, and inheritance.

With the growth in online services and internet use, there are many opportunities for criminals to commit scams and fraud.

Internet fraud is the use of internet services or software with internet access to defraud victims or to otherwise take advantage of them. Internet crime schemes steal millions of dollars each year from victims and continue to plague the internet through various methods.

Internet scams are not considered a single, distinctive crime but cover a range of illegal and illicit actions that are committed in cyberspace.

There are different types of internet scams:

  • Email Phishing Scams:

Email Phishing Scams is one type of identity theft. A phishing scam is based on email, although sometimes it may be perpetrated on social media. The criminal will send the user an email or a message with the aim of tricking them into providing valuable data, such as login credentials, which can later be used to steal more data or money.

  • Banking, Credit Card and Online account scams:

Scammers send emails or text messages that appear to be from your bank, a financial institution or an online payment service. They usually claim that there is a problem with your account and request that you verify your details on a fake but convincing copy of the bank’s website. Card skimming is the copying of information from the magnetic strip of a credit card or automatic teller machine (ATM) card. Scammers skim your card by putting a discreet attachment on an ATM or EFTPOS machine. They may even install a camera to capture your pin. Once your card is skimmed, scammers can create copies and make charges to your account.

  • Online Shopping and Auction Scams:

Scammers like shopping online for victims. Not getting what you paid for is a common scam targeting online shoppers. A scammer will sell a product and send a faulty or inferior quality item, or nothing at all. They may also pretend to sell a product just to gather your credit card or bank account details. These scams can also be found on reputable online classified pages. An online auction scam involves a scammer claiming that you have a second chance to buy an item that you placed a bid on because the winner has pulled out. The scammer will ask you to pay outside of the auction site’s secure payment facility. If you do, your money will be lost and the auction site will not be able to help you.

  • Lottery, Sweepstakes and Competition Scams:

An email, letter or text message from an overseas lottery or sweepstakes company arrives from out of nowhere. It says you have won a lot of money or fantastic prizes in a lottery or sweepstakes competition you did not enter. These scams try to trick you into giving money upfront or your personal details in order to receive the prize. Scammers typically claim that you need to pay fees or taxes before your winnings or prize can be released. You may also have to call or text a premium rate phone number to claim your prize. Remember you cannot win a prize if you haven’t entered.

  • Online Dating Scams:

Scammers create fake profiles on legitimate dating websites. They use these profiles to try to enter into a relationship with you so they can get a hold of your money and personal details. The scammer will develop a strong rapport with you then ask for money to help cover costs associated with illness, injury, travel or a family crisis. Scammers seek to exploit your emotions by pulling on your heartstrings. Sometimes the scammers will take months and months to build up the rapport.

How to Prevent Internet Scams:

  • Be alert to the fact that scams When dealing with uninvited contacts from people or businesses, whether it’s over the phone, by mail, email, in person or on a social networking site, always consider the possibility that the approach may be a scam.
  • Know who you’re dealing with.
  • Do not open suspicious texts, pop-up windows or click on links or attachments in emails-delete them.
  • Don’t respond to phone calls about your computer asking for remote access-hang up- even if they mention a well-known company such as Telstra.
  • Keep your personal details secure. Put a lock on your mailbox and shared your bills and other important documents before throwing them out.
  • Keep your mobile devices and computers secure.
  • Choose your passwords carefully
  • Review your privacy and security settings on social media.
  • Beware of any requests for your details or money.
  • Be wary of unusual payment requests.
  • Be careful when shopping online.

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