Internet Fraud | A Guide

According to the Yorkshire Post “Nearly six million fraud and cyber crimes are committed every year, with one in 10 people now victims of the offenses.”

Not so while ago, there were only a few ways to be fooled by scammers and fraud. Because of a fairly new concept (the world wide web) recently presented to the world, the list of Internet Fraud is endless. If you have ever been online, the chances are, you too have witnessed attempts of fraud. With so many possibilities and anonymity online, it has become a piece of cake to get away with this crime. The most common types of online scams are Surveys for money, “catfish” scams, work at home scams, fake apartment rentals, unexpected prizes. Consumer Law Magazine, has put together a few tips on how to avoid Internet Fraud and what to do if your rights have been violated.

Keep your private info private.                       
Captain Obvious!
It is called private for a reason. Never, share your private information, on suspicious websites, whether it’s your address or your credit card number. The fact that a FREE TRIAL of downloadable software is asking for your personal information, should be really off-putting. The most they should ask is your email, your name, and date of birth.

Avoid using the same password.
This is a tough one.
How can you manage so many social media accounts without having the same password? Well, if it is going to protect you from Internet Fraud, we say IT IS WORTH IT! Remember the recent LinkedIn situation? It is crucial to refreshing your password every so often, and have a variety of options for all of your social media accounts.

Do a research.
This rule applies to everything!
Anything you subscribe to, sign up to or login into is seen a sort of a “contract” which comes with its Terms and Conditions, but who reads that? So before you dive in the vortex of potential Internet Fraud, read the fine print.
If you think that 100000 $ lottery is legit, do your research before filling out the form. It won’t take you long and Google will always come to help. I am pretty sure, you will find people who have been fooled by an alike online scam.

Filter your emails.

Luckily, your email provider does this for you very well.

In fact, so well that you miss Holiday greeting cards from aunt Rita, because she sends them so often, your email provider thinks it’s SPAM. Nevertheless, every so often you may find a suspicious looking email. They will pose as a representative of your bank, who needs a verification of your account, or a lawyer from Nigeria who has good news for you. How high is the probability of you having a 7th cousin in Nigeria? Not so high, right? So, please disregard that email, no matter how attractive the numbers are. Congress passed the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act in order to combat “spam” email, in 2003. Despite that, I just opened my Gmail and look what I found.

“Recondition your old Batteries back to 100% of their working condition. Never Buy a New Battery Again. Learn how to remove sulfur on dead battery plates at little cost and then reuse them or resell them.”
Hmmm… On to the next one!

Stay away from FREE money.
Somehow, many people believe that you can get a free MAC just by visiting a website or filling out a simple survey. FREE stuff is your call for something fishy. The random windows that appear on your browser are called “pop up” ads.

             “Easy Cash”

                                      “Earn a Thousand Bucks a Week!”

                                                                                           “Work from Home and Earn Money!”

Each of us has stumbled upon one of these advertisements. They are usually targeted towards the most vulnerable groups, like students and minors. The offers are often very tempting, but the aftermath isn’t. Our advice would be, don’t get into anything of this sort, but if you do, refer to these tips.

  • Keep your private info private.
  • Do a research

Love from the first click?
According to the article “I Met my Husband Online: Here’s Why It Worked for Me.” by April Watts, she met “the one” online. Moreover, an online poll on shows that at least 161 of the website users have met their significant other online. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a catfish as “a person who sets up a false personal profile on a social networking site for fraudulent or deceptive purposes.” Sometimes, individuals or even groups of people create fake social media accounts for the sole purpose of online flirting. Their job is to get as much money out of their victims as possible. Whether it is the traveling costs to visit them or occasional gifts.

An Anti-Phishing Act has been introduced to the Congress but never passed to be a federal law. Despite that, California has adopted an anti-phishing law which makes it illegal for anybody through the Internet or other electronic means, to solicit, request, or take any action to persuade another person to provide identifying information by representing itself to be a business without the approval or authority of the business.

What to do?
Your objective should be convicting the criminals and getting your money back if you lost any (restitution).  If you aren’t sure that you can handle the situation on your own, talk to a lawyer. Next step will be filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or a consumer protection office. Depending on the type of a scam you were tangled in, the procedure will vary.

Consumer Law Magazine is aimed to raise awareness among consumers and help you through the legal process. Stay tuned for more information and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, G+ and Instagram.

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