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Many people now enjoy the ease of shopping and banking online. Thankfully, the majority of websites are legitimate and allow secure transactions. However, there are now attempts by criminal groups to defraud Internet users via email.
Even though Internet crime is developing, there is no reason to worry, or limit your use of the Internet. Its unlikely that you will regularly receive fraud emails. However, read on to learn about the types Internet scams circulating and reduce the chances of you falling victim to them.
Fraud Emails (also known as 'Phishing')
'Phishing' involves emails that appear to come from trusted businesses (most commonly banks and credit card companies). These fraudulent messages aim to fool you into giving out confidential information such as your username and password. Please note: We will never ask you for important information such as passwords or credit card details by email.
Advance Fee or "419" Fraud
Spam supposedly from a wealthy foreigner needing your help moving millions of dollars from his homeland to yours. The reward is a hefty percentage of this fortune if you agree to assist him. It is claimed the money is unspent government grants, accumulated profit from oil sales etc. In order to gain a share of this huge wealth, the email asks you to provide your banking details and a small fee. People who fall for the "419" fraud will lose any fee paid and their banking details may be used in other criminal activities.
Email notifies you of a prize win, to obtain the funds you must reply. The email requests your banking details to allow the transfer of prize money. The fraudsters may also ask for an administration fee, this will be lost if paid. In addition, any details you give may be used in other criminal activities.
Do's and Don'ts
- Read the claims made by the email carefully. If they seem suspicious, exaggerated or too good to be true, they often are!
- Get wise and ask if in any doubt. Even if an email seems to be from your bank or another familiar company you use, it's safer to contact them to confirm they sent the email, before submitting any details. Still unsure? Use the Help Assistant
- Type in a website address manually, rather than clicking links contained in an emails, for safety.
- Open or hastily respond to emails from unknown sources. Fraudsters play on the fact that many people tend to open emails by habit or curiosity.
- Ever reply to an email providing personal or financial information. Legitimate companies won't ask for these details via email.