Trouble on the Internet

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Most people dream of being rich, or at least financially secure. They aim to be able to support their families without having to spend the better part of the week away from them. The average person would jump at any opportunity that promises quick and easy legal money with no strings attached. Unfortunately, criminals know all too well what makes the average person tick and, therefore, know exactly how to capitalize on their weaknesses. The World Wide Web has become a playground for criminals and scum, thus fraud scams on the internet are very commonplace these days.

The Statistics

The statistics regarding fraud scams on the internet are frightening. In 2007, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) formed a partnership with the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center. Together, they released the latest annual report and referred this to law enforcement. In this report, Internet auction fraud made up 44.9% of the complaints and was, by a large margin, the most reported offense. Non- delivered payment and/or goods accounted for 19% of complaints. Check fraud accounted for up to 4.9% of total complaints. Computer fraud, card fraud, financial institutions fraud and confidence fraud completed the top seven complaint categories during the year.

Avoiding Business, Auction and Non-Delivery Fraud

All these types of fraud scams on the internet make use of impressive websites that will sell you goods at very reasonable, or even below cost rates. There are warning signs that you can take heed of to try to prevent yourself from being scammed. It is important to remember that websites can be built easily and are even easier to remove from the web without leaving a trace of the owner’s identity.

The first thing to do, when checking out a site, is try to get the owner’s contact information, such as a physical address or telephone number. Call the phone number and ensure that it is answered with the full name of the company you are seeking. You should also check if there is an email address where you can contact the supplier. Be very aware of companies that use a free email service. Another way to see if the business is legit is to run the business past the “Better Business Bureau” in the seller’s area. You could also cross reference them with other suppliers in the same industry.

If they do not check out or if they cannot provide you with the relevant information, then perhaps you should rethink whether you really want to do business with them.

Job Scams

Sadly, scammers will also plague on your desire to get a decent, legitimate job. The problem here is that genuine employers are entitled to ask for social security numbers of interested candidates. It is obvious that you need to try, to the best of your ability, to establish whether the employer is legitimate. If it is a big firm, contact the HR department or the specific person listed on the job posting. Use the aforementioned techniques for the detection of job scams as well. Always be alerted to possible fraud scams on the internet, even by a potential employer!

Reporting Fraud Scams on the Internet

Criminals are very clever and every day they are dreaming up new ways in which to make money off of unsuspecting individuals. It is important to try to stay up to date with the latest scams and if you happen to be a victim of a scam, report it. There are many regulatory bodies to report to, but the most common are the IC3, the FTC, and the IFW. Depending on the nature of the crime, it is most likely best to start with your local authorities.

Basically, when it comes down to it, if it sounds too good to be true, then it likely is. Before jumping into any decision online, it is best to do a bit of research first and consult a directory of existing scams if you are feeling uneasy. It is always better to be safe than sorry. Follow your instincts, they are usually right. Remember, always use common sense and think before you click when you are online!

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