Internet fraud, Online Scams

Credit Repair – Internet fraud, Online Scams – Credit card and financial scams online

Internet fraud, Online Scams- How To Prevent  Online Credit, Financial Scams and Frauds

Most frauds online or otherwise are committed on people who allow this to happen through their trust of people, fear or simply everyday harmless sounding habits. Sometime it is just greed and gullibility. With increasing online use, these frauds are on increase in intensity and sophistication. It is very important that web users understand some of the common ways they can fall prey to online scammers. Once, the consumer understand some of the common modus operandi of online scammers, half the battle is won right there.

Phishing Scams

Phishing scams have on increase like wild fire. If you are a web user, I can’t imagine that you have not received an e mail with lottery winning notification or someone in foreign country offering to split the loot with you or an email from bank or stock broker asking to update your personal information by clicking on the link provided in the email. What Phishing boils down to is being lured into giving your personal information by official-looking fake e-mails and Web sites.
Here’s where the damage is done: Thieves can use your info to steal your identity and empty your checking account, charge up your credit cards or open new accounts in your name. The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) says the number of reported incidents of the scam climbed 800% in the first six months of 2004, and a staggering 4000% in the six months between November 2003 and May 2004. By June, the latest month for which data is available, the APWG reports an average of almost 50 unique attacks (attacks from different sources) per day. With mass e-mailings, each of those unique attacks can potentially hit thousands, if not millions, of people.
Here’s how to avoid phishing scams:
1. Legitimate companies do not ask for sensitive personal information via e-mail. Do not respond to the phishing e-mails, fill out any forms asking for personal information or click on the links contained in the e-mails. The links can direct you to fake Web sites or force you to download a key-logger program that spies on everything you type — even into legitimate sites.
If you’re going to enter personal or financial information on any site, check that it is a “secure” site. Look at the address for the Web page where you enter your payment information. The URL should start with https:// and you should see an icon for a padlock at the bottom of your browser.
2. Be skeptical. Phishing e-mails often look like they are from well-known companies such as Citibank, eBay and PayPal. Scammers use scare tactics to try to get you to “verify” or secure your account. If you have any doubts about whether the e-mail is real, go to the company’s real Web site by typing its URL into your Internet browser’s address bar or by calling the company.

Paying with Credit Cards versus cash, check and/or money order

Too much has been made out about getting scammed online by providing your credit card numbers to buy products and services. As a matter of fact, credit card still provides a relatively secure form of payment should something go wrong. Paying with cash — by using a check, money order or the like — leaves you little hope of getting your money back should anything go wrong. When you pay with a credit card, however, federal law limits your liability to $50 for unauthorized purchases. Also, some credit cards have protection policies that limit your liability to $0. This protection sometimes don’t seem much in lot of cases compared to hassle one has to go through when they are trying to prove their case.

Here are some on the things you can do to get piece of mind while making payments online

If you’re not comfortable revealing your credit card number to an online merchant, consider using PayPal or another payment service that shields your account number from view. You’ll want to check with your credit card issuer, however, to make sure their fraud-protection policies cover the transactions you make with a PayPal account and not just the funding of that account.
Consumer can also consider getting a credit card with low credit limit and with an option to be alerted when a transaction bigger than a specified limit is made on their account.

Debit cards are a little better than cashier’s checks and money orders, but if you don’t catch the fraud within a couple days, your liability under federal law is $500, not $50 as with credit cards. If you don’t catch the fraud within 60 days, you could be out the whole amount.

Don’t let retailers store your credit card data on their servers. Hackers are becoming more sophisticated in their attacks.

Avoid storing passwords where others can find the. Your eBay account password may not seem like top secret information, but consider what access to it would provide someone else — needed personal information such as your address or the ability to make bids in your name, for starters.

Try having different password for every account . Make sure that your passwords are not any publicly available information such as phone numbers or birthdates. Also avoid numerical passwords. Try using letters and numbers in your account password.

Donot write passwords on post it and paste them on the monitor or place them under the mouse pad. And certainly don’t save them in lists on your hard drive.

Stay up to date with computer security with up to date virus protection and firewall. Keep downloading security patches when they become available to help keep your operating system from becoming a victim to a malicious program.

Avoiding Unknown Online Businesses:
It is better to know people online who you are doing business with. Staying with know outlets online using secure sites will keep you protected. However if you must use unknown online business, check them out at the Better Business Bureau or with a company such as TRUSTe. These agencies’ logos on a Web site indicate that the retailer follows recommended security and privacy practices. But some sites can trick you and appear legit by posting logos without adhering to the standards. Make sure that when you click on the logos you’re taken to the appropriate site and then look up the company. It may be worth it to go with a well-known retailer that provides many ways to contact them. Even if you’re dealing with a legitimate smaller retailer, they may not have the money to adequately protect your sensitive data.

Avoid Public Computers to Access Accounts
Avoid using public computers in shopping centers, library’s etc to acccess your accounts. But if you must, close the browser after you are done so no one can look at the information you’ve accessed.

Check Monthly Credit Cards and Account Statements

Check any monthly bank and credit card statements that arrive in the mail, but increase your vigilance by signing into your account online and reviewing transactions on a regular basis.

Check Credit Reports Regularly:
Consumer should regularly review their your credit report. It can alert to a suspicious activity, such as accounts someone else has opened in your name. Credit-reporting agencies such as Experian, Equifax and TransUnion are now required to provide you with one free report a year. Through Experian, or by phoning the toll-free 1-877-322-8228, you can get one report each year from each of the three major credit reporting companies — Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. (The hearing impaired can use the TDD service at 1–877–730–4104). AnnualCreditReport is a centralized service for consumers to request free annual credit reports. It was created by the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

Well..!! if someone out there is really motivated to get your personal information and scam you in the process, they likely will. However if you are aware how your adversary is going to come at you and you are well prepared for it, it is less likely that you will fall prey to scams and frauds online or otherwise.

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