Internet Fraud Prevention

Criminals have started to recognize the vast potential to commit fraud crimes through the Internet. Many of the same scams or frauds that for years have been conducted by mail or the telephone can now be found on the Internet.

Tips For Avoiding Internet Fraud

  • Do business with those you know and trust. Be sure you know the business or person that you are doing business with and where they are physically located. Businesses operating on the Internet may be in another part of the country or another part of the world. The business might not even exist at all. Resolving problems with someone unfamiliar can be more complicated in long-distance or cross-border transactions.
  • Understand the offer. Look carefully at the information about the products or services being offered and ask for more information if you need it. A legitimate business will be glad to offer more information on products and services; a fraudulent telemarketer will not. Be sure you know what is being sold, the total price, the delivery date, the return or cancellation policy, and the terms of any guarantee. Print all information for documentation.
  • Check out the company or individual’s track record. Check with the Better Business Bureau for complaint records and ask for an opinion on that business. Remember that lack of a complaint record is no guarantee of legitimacy.
  • Never give your bank account numbers, credit card numbers, or other personal information to anyone you don’t know or haven’t checked out. Don’t provide unnecessary information to make a purchase. If you have to choose between purchasing something with a credit card or cash, use the credit card. You can always dispute fraudulent credit card charges, but you can’t get cash back.
  • Take your time. While there may be time limits for special offers, high-pressure sales tactics are often signs of fraud.
  • Don’t judge reliability by how nice or flashy a website may seem. Anyone can create, register, and promote a website; it is relatively easy and inexpensive. Always remember that websites are forms of advertisement and you cannot assume that someone has screened and approved it.
  • Know that people on the Internet may not always be what they seem. Someone that is sharing tips about a moneymaking scheme or a great bargain on a chat room or bulletin board may have an ulterior motive: to make money-your money. Sometimes people who appear to be friendly are crooks.
  • Know that con artists often use unsolicited emails. Be sure to report all unsolicited emails or “spamming” to your Internet provider.
  • Don’t download any programs from websites that you are not familiar with. You could accidentally download a virus that wipes out your computers files or hijacks your Internet service.
Be aware that criminals will try to take advantage of people who are not prepared and well educated on how to use the Internet. You can be defenseless just through lack of knowledge. Get educated with software to prevent Internet fraud and remember to always update that software. Remember that technology is always evolving and we must evolve with it to successfully make consumer purchases and run a business.