Many online predators rely on deceiving you in order to complete their crimes. Those committing online fraud scams are getting much more sophisticated in impersonating legitimate businesses in order to get your information. Phishing emails trying to get you to provide personal information are the most well known. Other impersonators try to get you to download more malicious spyware by asking you to update your software, even impersonating Microsoft. Some spyware represents itself as system warnings/alerts about spyware, even appearing as an anti-spyware company to get you to pay them money, provide your personal information and to download even more malicious spyware all at once. To learn more about these so called "rogue anti-spyware" companies, click here.
So how do you avoid online fraud?
When you arm yourself with information and resources, you’re wiser about computer security threats and less vulnerable to online fraud scams and tactics. Remember that reputable companies let you come to them rather than approaching you to take action or provide private information. Take these steps to fortify your computer security right away:
Do not provide personal information to any unsolicited requests for information
Only provide personal information on sites that have "https" in the web address or have a lock icon at bottom of the browser
If you suspect you’ve received phishing bait, contact the company that is the subject of the email by phone to check that the message is legitimate and not an online fraud scam
Type in a trusted URL for a company's site into the address bar of your browser to bypass the link in a suspected phishing message
Use varied and complex passwords for all your accounts
Continually check the accuracy of personal accounts and deal with any discrepancies right away
Avoid questionable Web sites
Practice safe email protocol:
Don't open messages from unknown senders
Immediately delete messages you suspect to be spam
An unprotected computer is like an open door for phishing and other fraudulent scams. For a more potent way to avoid online fraud, use a spam filter or gateway to scan inbound messages. Products like Webroot® Spy Sweeper® and Webroot Internet Security Essentials thwart dangerous malware before it can enter your PC, stand guard at every possible entrance of your computer and fend off any spyware or viruses that try to enter, even the most damaging and devious strains. While free anti-spyware and antivirus downloads are available, they just can’t keep up with the continuous onslaught of new spyware strains. Previously undetected forms of spyware can often do the most damage, so it’s critical to have up-to-the-minute, guaranteed protection.