Scams on the Internet

Internet has come to become the center of every technology aware individual, in the 21st century. With every positive, comes a negative, history has taught us. So, as Internet augmented an age of fast-paced work and a well-connected network, it also introduced the plague of scams, upon the world. Let us get to know more about this "plague".
Years ago, when Internet was a word that the people were not aware of, fraud was something that was physically visible. Yes, earnings in general were limited but so was the fraud. However, when Internet technology came into the picture, earnings and networking multiplied. As a flip side to that coin, so did the fraud and the scams. People were more susceptible to Internet business scams.

Let us see the well-known and path breaking types of scams on the Internet, that have made news and caused a stir of concern over the World Wide Web:

Type 1
These are business scams, carried out by targeting unemployed people. Here, the psyche of an unemployed individual is played upon. When an individual is in dire need of resources and income, they would jump at these "Income Generating" offers that culminate into work-at-home scams.

ReShipping: In these offers, the individuals are asked to receive the shipment and repackage it. Further, they need to send it to another address under the pretense of it being a gift. This is a criminal offense by law. If anyone were to get hooked and booked for this, more often than not, it would be the one doing the reshipping. This can hook a person into generating income for the fraud and a criminal case for themselves.

Payment Processing: In these frauds, the "victim" is required to allow some money to be deposited in their account. Then they need to subtract a commission and transfer the money to another account, mostly overseas. Then a stop payment is made on the initial transfer (the one that comes into the "victim's" account) and the second transfer needs to be covered with the "victim's" personal funds. These frauds are mostly money laundering schemes, wherein the funds are used for drug trafficking or scams on eBay.

Lottery: Almost 95% of the world's Internet users may have received e-mails announcing that the user has won a lottery. Then the user is asked to pay a certain amount for the processing, etc. In this, once the money is released from the user's end, the lottery payment is stopped. In this way, the user is out of money from their own pocket and is personally liable for any expense that the bank undergoes in this case.

Type 2
These types of Internet scams are specifically targeted. In case, one has a certain position in a sensitive sector (or otherwise) that may be of interest to the scammer, chances are that the user may be a target for the scam. For that, the scammer, emails the targeted individual with attachment or a link that will make a person visit a website or that will release a virus on the system. These emails will seem to be authentic, as they will contain words and details that will be of a secure nature. The scammers mostly get hold of such information with the help of social networking sites and search engines. The most used method is social networking site. The scammers add a friend of the targeted individual under false pretenses and then with the link of the friend, they add their target. Once in that persons friend's list, they can gain access to the person's vital information and can gain the trust of the person. Then, carrying out the emailing debacle can be a relative piece of cake. Such a scam can also be carried out but emailing the targeted individual a fraudulent link in their email. These links will mostly be of anti-virus software downloads or of a free trial of a spyware. Once the individual is redirected to the website, he will be asked for details, which are later used for fraud purposes.

Type 3
These are money scams, more popularly known as credit card scams. These scams involve making an offer to an individual that he cannot refuse. Email scams use the Type 2 method in the beginning to get hold of a few users with similar interests and emails are sent to those users as promotional sales of an item, that they are interested in. Mostly, the prices that are offered would be too hard for anyone to refuse, as such they start to sign up for the purchase. Then the individual is asked to enter their credit card number and password for payment purposes. Once these details are entered, the ones involved in the scam, access the credit card account. One way to proceed is, when the scammers change the vital information and the password of the account and take it over. Another mode is wherein they don't change anything and use the account slowly and consistently. This way, the user is not immediately alarmed about the money being siphoned and the fraud can be carried on for a longer time span.

Scams on the Internet have become a rave and created an alarming need and concern in the minds of the users. It is essential for any Internet user to make sure that they safeguard themselves on the Internet. Do not take up offers from unknown people. Do not open attachments without checking it for virus, if from an unknown person, do not open it at all. Refrain from adding an unknown person in your friends list on a social networking site. Even if they are in your friends' friend list, be careful. Do not give your bank account details or Credit or Debit card numbers on the Internet. Precaution is the best way to avoid being scammed.

This is where I sign off! Don't forget to log off when you are done!
By Rashida Khilawala
Published: 8/31/2009
Bouquets and Brickbats