The internet is an excellent tool for investors, online shoppers, chat rooms and research; unfortunately, fraud and predation are also frequent on the Internet.
According to the Department of Justice, the following are some of the most common types of Internet fraud:
Identity theft and fraud: These involve wrongfully obtaining and using of someone else’s personal data in some way that involve fraud or deception. One example of a specific Identity theft scheme would be “Phishing”. For more information on Phishing check our Identity Theft page or at the Attorney Generals Office.
Auction and retail Schemes: These claim to offer high-end products and, once payment is received, they don’t deliver the product or deliver counterfeit or altered goods.
Business opportunities: These advertise opportunities to earn thousands of dollars a month in “work-at-home” ventures. They usually require customers to pay a fee for starting materials or information, which never arrive.
Other Schemes: These include sites that claim to facilitate quickie divorces in foreign counties like the Dominican Republic, without having to leave the United States.
Dating Scams: Millions of Americans use dating sites, social networking sites, and chat rooms to meet people. And many forge successful relationships. But scammers also use these sites to meet potential victims. They create fake profiles to build online relationships, and eventually convince people to send money in the name of love. Some even make wedding plans before disappearing with the money. An online love interest who asks for money is almost certainly a scam artist.
How to Recognize a Scam Artist:
The relationship may not be what you think, especially if your sweetheart:
• wants to leave the dating site immediately and use personal email or IM
• claims love in a heartbeat
• claims to be from the U.S., but is traveling or working overseas
• plans to visit, but is prevented by a traumatic event or a business deal gone sour
Scammers also like to say they’re out of the country for business or military service.
What You Can Do About It
You may lose your heart, but you don’t have to lose your shirt, too. Don’t wire money to cover:
• medical emergencies
• hotel bills
• hospital bills for a child or other relative
• visas or other official documents
• or losses from a temporary financial setback
Don’t send money to tide someone over after a mugging or robbery, and don’t do anyone a favor by making an online purchase or forwarding a package to another country. One request leads to another, and delays and disappointments will follow. In the end, the money will be gone along with the person you thought you knew.
Sending money to someone is the same as sending cash. Once it’s gone, it can’t be recovered. If you send money, make the decision knowing you may never see it again.
Internet Predators use chat rooms, instant messaging and emailing to gain information about our children or they will try to have a child meet them in person. To minimize the chances of this happening, parents can do the following:
- Keep the computer in a public area in your home and monitor your child’s computer use.
- Monitor the amount of time and time of day your child is on the Internet.
- Make sure your child does not give out information over the Internet such as name, address, school they attend or teachers’ names that would lead a person to find your child.