Andy Green's Blog

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How to Avoid Online Fraud

Whether you have been burned in the past by online fraud, or you are simply interested in never being in such a situation, you will find that the more good information that you have under your belt, the better. Online fraud can take many forms, and you will find that the consequences can range from being mildly inconvenient to being extremely damaging, so take some time and make sure that you have protected yourself as best as you can.

1. Be aware of phishing

Phishing is a technique that is used by many people who are attempting to scam money online. You will receive an email that seems completely sincere that will direct you to a site where you will enter your bank information, credit card information, Social Security Number or some other designation. The truth is that while some of these attempts are quite crude, others are extremely sophisticated. They might pretend to be from your bank, or from some another trusted source, like a business that you have previously dealt with. Whenever you are asked to divulge information like this, contact the organization and ask why.

2. Check your bank balances regularly

One way that many people become victims of fraud is when their credit cards are skimmed. Skimming involves someone taking the numbers from your credit card and using them in online transactions. Stay up to date on how much money is in your account and figure out what you have been spending your money on and where. Whether you trade with a lot of small merchants or you have worked with larger retailers, this is usually an inside job, so be aware of where you use your credit cards.

3. Know what you are buying

One of the most common types of online fraud is where you will simply buy something and what you receive is not what you expect. In this, your only defense is to be a savvy consumer. Read up on who you are buying from, and figure out what their track record is. While you can and should read their testimonials, spend some time researching them online as well. Are they trusted merchants, and do they deliver what they say that they will? When you are on auction sites, always check their buyer reviews.

4. Shopping securely

Whenever you are on a page that asks for your personal information find out if it is secure. A secure page is one that is protected from incursions by non-authorized persons. An indication that the page is secured is a small lock icon somewhere on the address bar and a URL that begins with “https” rather than “http.” If the page is not secured, find another way to order.

Take some time and make sure that you are dealing with a reputable party. The more that you know about the people that you are dealing with, the better off you are going to be. A little bit of knowledge goes a long way, so be sure to be as safe as you can when you are shopping.

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October 15, 2008 - Posted by | Online Security | , ,

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