Internet Fraud

Criminals are recognizing the vast potential of cyberspace.  Many of the same scams or frauds that for years have been done by mail or phone can now be found on the Internet.

Tips for Avoiding Internet Fraud

  • Do business with those you trust. Resolving problems with someone unfamiliar can be more complicated in long-distance or cross-border transactions.
  • Understand the offer. Look at the information about the products or services offered.  Know what is sold, the total price, the delivery date, the return/cancellation policy, and any guarantee.  The Federal telephone and mail order rule, requires goods or services be delivered by the promised time. If none is stated, by 30 days.
  • Investigate the seller’s track record.
  • Never give your bank account numbers, credit card numbers or other personal information to anyone you don’t know or haven’t checked out.  Even with partial information, con artists can make unauthorized charges or take money from your account.  It is recommended that you use a credit card for Internet purchases when possible.  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 danger signs of fraud.
  • Don’t judge reliability by how nice a web site is.  Anyone can create, register, and promote a web site. Like any other forms of advertising, you can’t assume that someone has screened and approved it.
  • People in cyberspace may not always be what they seem.  Someone who is sharing a “friendly” tip about a moneymaking scheme in a chat room or bulletin board, may have an ulterior motive—to make money.
  • Unsolicited e-mail is often used by con artists.  It also violates most agreements for Internet service.  Report “spamming,” as unsolicited e-mail is called, to your or Internet service provider.
  • Don’t download programs to see pictures, hear music, or get features from web sites with which you’re not familiar. You could download a virus that wipes out your computer files or even hijacks your Internet service, reconnecting you to the Net through an international phone number, resulting in huge phone charges.

Source:  American Crime Prevention Institute