Common online fraud scams include:
- People selling items, such as automobiles, that they do not own. These transactions can take place over sites like Craigslist or eBay, with the buyer transferring money electronically and receiving no product in return.
- Phishing and spoofing, where criminals pretend to represent a legitimate company or agency and request personal information from their targets. These attempts can include a legitimate-looking email or website. In these cases, the criminals have “spoofed” a real company’s site.
- Nigerian letter scam, where people are offered to share in a large sum of money if they can help place this money in overseas bank accounts. Victims give criminals their bank account information and send money to the criminals to help pay for bribes and taxes with the promise of repayment.
- Think Before You Act. Be wary of “too good to be true” deals. Free money, cheap iPads, cheap cars – if a deal sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
- When in Doubt, Throw it Out. Do not click on links or emails that seem suspicious or are from unknown, unsolicited sources.
- Shop Only at Reputable Online Retailers. Look for the padlock symbol or for URLs that start with “https” or “shttp.” For auction sites such as eBay, check the seller’s reviews.
- Use Safe Payment Options. Use a credit card if possible. Credit cards have higher protection measures than debit cards. If you do become a victim of fraud, credit cards offer a better chance that you will not be liable for fraudulent charges.