Internet Frauds

Online Shopping

Online Shopping FraudsA person wanted to gift his son a telescope, when he turned 12. He accessed a few online auction websites and finally chose one that gave him a very good deal. He bid, won, and paid for the product using his debit card. The product was to be shipped to him within a week. 10 days passed by and the telescope wasn’t delivered. He checked with the auction site and got the street address of the seller, he found that the street address wasn’t valid. The seller was nowhere! How did the seller suddenly disappear? He did not, for there was no such seller in the first place.

He had become a victim of online auction fraud. When at an online auction, make sure you gather sufficient information to validate the claims made by the seller. If there are unrealistic claims of benefits, it most likely is a fake. Avoid purchasing such product.

Safety tips to avoid Online Shopping Frauds
  • 1. Beware of phishing. Verify that you are receiving emails from the correct source and that you are logging in at the correct website.
  • 2. When making payment, prefer using your credit card over online transfer. Using a credit card give you the opportunity of a chargeback in case the transaction turns out a fraud.
  • 3. Use debit card, wire transfer, or money order only when you trust the seller.
  • 4. Use reputed escrow services. An escrow service mediates a buyer and a seller. They accept money from buyers and release them to a seller only when the buyer confirms that the product was received to his/her satisfaction. But be wary of sellers or buyers who themselves pose as an escrow service to cheat the other—a buyer posing as an escrow service gets a product released without making payment, or a seller poses as an escrow service to trick the buyer from making a payment.
  • 5. Check for feedback and rating of the buyer, which most online auction website provide.
  • 6. DO NOT entertain emails received from outside of the auction website mentioning that the highest bidder has withdrawn and you are now entitled for a product. They veer you off the auction website and you lose any protection that the website may provide.
  • 7. DO NOT respond to emails that ask for your personal information, such as your log in details or credit card details.
  • 8. When giving your credit card details or your debit account details at a website, check that the Internet connection you are using is secure. Look for a lock at the bottom or HTTPS (an‘s’ appended to ‘http’) in the address field of your browser. These indicate that the connection is a secure one.


What is Phishing?

phisingPhishing is an attempt to criminally and fraudulently acquire sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords and credit card details, by posing as a trustworthy site in an electronic communication. Most of the online banks are common targets. Phishing is typically carried out by e-mail or instant messaging, and often directs users to enter details at a website, although phone contact has also been used at times.

How to Spot Phishing Emails

It is easy to uncover a crude phishing scam. For example, if you get an email from a bank you’ve never opened an account at, then don’t follow the link and enter your personal information. Now, if you actually have an account at the institution it gets more interesting.
You’ll want to look at the message carefully to see if it is a phishing scam. Are words misspelled? Sometimes scammers operate in a second language and they give themselves away by using poor grammar.
You should also examine the link provided. Does it really go where it appears to go? The best way to prevent this is to bookmark your bank website as a favorite in your browser or type the URL in the address bar yourself.
The best way to avoid becoming a phishing scam victim is to use your best judgment. No financial institution with any sense will email you and ask you to input all of your sensitive information. In fact, most institutions are informing customers that “We will never ask you for your personal information via phone or email”.

Safety tips to avoid Phishing

When you receive emails claiming to be sent by banking institution asking you to enter your account details, DO NOT do so! Your bank already has your details and clearly would not want them again.

  • 1. Check if the email that you receive has your name spelt correctly. Fraudsters simply try to guess your name by your email address. DO NOT open emails that have your name spelt incorrectly.
  • 2. DO NOT respond to emails that seem like they are sent from your bank.
  • 3. If you receive such email always check back with your bank directly or speak to the customer service representative of the bank.
  • 4. NEVER enter your credit card details and password in a website which you suspect is not genuine.
  • 5. DO NOT share your account details, password, or credit card details with anyone who you do not know or trust.
  • 6. It is a good practice to type in the URL of your bank yourself, or bookmark it if the URL is difficult to remember.
  • 7. DO NOT follow links to a banking website from another website or email.
  • 8. Log in to your accounts regularly and look for account transactions that you do not recognize.
  • 9. If you get a phone call about one of your accounts, hang up and call the institution. Dial the number that appears on the back of your credit card or on your statements. Then, you know you’re in the right place and they can take care of any issues on your account.