What is Online Fraud and How Can I Protect Myself?
Online fraud is any kind of scheme that uses the Internet. It can be done through chat rooms, emails, message boards or websites to gather personal information from its victims.
It includes phishing and spoofing.
- What Is Phishing?Phishing occurs when you receive a fraudulent email message that appears to be from a trusted source such as your bank, or a government agency. Clicking on a link that has been imitated may lead you to a fraudulent website that will most likely request a release of your personal information (name, account and credit card numbers and passwords.) Phishing sites look similar to the actual site they’re imitating.When in doubt, go directly to the web address that you know and trust.
- What Is Spoofing?Spoofing occurs when a “shadow copy” is made of a legitimate website. Once the attacker has successfully made the “shadow copy” and have you directed to their “spoofed site”, they are able to gather your personal information (such as passwords and account numbers) through their machine.Spoofing is much like phishing in that the attacker is able to gain unauthorized access to a computer or network by acting as a trusted source.
Here are some tips to protect yourself from Online Fraud:
- Don’t Judge By Initial Appearances.Criminals are skilled at creating a professional-looking site. No matter how impressive the website looks, it doesn’t necessarily means that it is real.If you notice that your inbox contains emails warning that “your account will be shut down unless you reconfirm necessary information,” Don’t Be Fooled!
- Be Careful About Giving Out Personal Data Online.Please keep in mind that Iowa State Bank will never send you any types of alerts requesting the disclosure of your personal information.
- Be Especially Wary of Emails Concealing Their True Identity. If you do not know who a message is from, or if a message looks suspicious, do not open it. Do not open emails with suspicious mail headers such as W8L9K2@provider.com.
- Review Credit Card and Account Statements.
- Watch Out For “Advance-Fee” Demands. This corresponds with online sellers that ask you to send check or money orders right away to a post office box prior to receiving the goods you’ve ordered.
- Use Common Sense.Always look for the “lock” icon on the browser status bar, or the “https” in the address bar. If you have doubts that you are at the correct website, contact the company by phone.
- Learn more
Organization Website Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Consumer Response Center www.ftc.gov Internet CrimeComplaint Center (IFCC) www.ic3.gov Consumer Fraud (DOJ/Homepage) www.usdoj.gov FirstGov (Your First Click to the U.S. Government) www.firstgov.gov Consumer.gov www.consumer.gov Social Security Administration www.ssa.gov Identity Theft Resource Center www.idtheftcenter.org