What is Internet Fraud?
The internet is a wonderful tool. Nowadays, it seems impossible to live without it. However, users need to be cautious of internet fraud when either buying or selling online. Internet fraud occurs whenever online services or software are used to commit fraud.
A number of scams specifically target credit card transactions. In this post we will outline seven of the most common types of internet fraud of which online shoppers should be aware.
1. Purchase Fraud
Purchase fraud is most often committed with stolen credit card information.
Purchase fraud occurs when a scam artist contacts a merchant to make a purchase. When they make the transaction, they provide fraudulent payment information.
The actual cardholder didn’t authorized the transaction and is out the money.
2. Online Auction Scams
In an online auction scam, the scam artist posts a listing for a big-ticket item (such as a nice watch or a computer) at a low price with no reserve. Deal-hunters jump on the item, and the scam artist accepts payment from the highest bidder.
However, the scammer may never deliver the item or the item may be worth less than they claimed in the listing. For example, the item may be counterfeit, used, or otherwise different than described.
Scammers may also hack into a legitimate account, typically with high ratings, on an auction website and use that account to set up a fake online store. The scam artist benefits from the customer trust in the account and takes payment without actually delivering goods (or delivering inferior goods).
3. Online Retail Scams
Similar to the above auction scams, retail scams occur when the fraudster sets up an online store and either does not deliver goods upon receiving payment or delivers goods other than what was advertised.
These scam artists may also rig the postal system by sending an empty envelope with no return address to an address in the buyer’s ZIP code. The post office will confirm that the envelope was delivered to the right ZIP code. If the customer complains that the good was not delivered, the fraudster has “proof” that a delivery was made.
4. Call Tag Scam
Call tag scams occur when fraudsters purchase goods online using stolen credit card information. They have the goods shipped to the legitimate cardholder’s address.
Once the goods are shipped, the scam artist–falsely acting as the merchant–calls the cardholder and states that the goods were mistakenly shipped. The scammer will ask for permission to pick them up after delivery.
The victim usually agrees to the pick up and does not notice that the fraudster is using a second shipping company to do the pick-up.
In the end, the fraudster ends up with the goods that can be resold and the victim has an unauthorized charge on his or her account.
5. Charity Scams
Well-intended individuals can easily become victims of a donation scam. This type of scam is especially effective after a natural disaster or during a regional epidemic or conflict.
In a charity scam, the scammer poses as a charity raising money to benefit people affected by current circumstances. Typically, the scammers will create a website and link articles about relief efforts to their website in order to seem more credible.
In order to entice more donations, the scammer will also promise that all donations are tax-deductible. Once a donation is made, the money and the scammer disappear. The victim may also get into legal trouble for adding a fraudulent charity donation to their tax return.
6. Online Ticket Scams
In this type of internet fraud, fraudsters create a legitimate-looking website to sell tickets to in-demand events such as concerts and sporting events.
Unwitting customers will buy tickets, thinking that they are getting a good deal only to discover that their tickets are fraudulent. The ticket seller is likely to be based in another country, which means that getting a refund is nearly impossible.
7. Credit Repair Scams
Credit repair scams target people with low credit scores who would like to improve their credit with little effort.
While some credit repair businesses are legitimate and follow the rules of the Credit Repair Organizations Act, plenty of con artists have jumped on the credit repair bandwagon only to take advantage of individuals wishing to improve their credit score.
Be extra cautious if you are not asked to sign a contract or if you are asked for payment before services have been rendered.
What to Do If You Experience Internet Fraud
Online fraud statistics are alarming: nearly one in ten Americans have been victimized by credit card fraud. Additionally, according to a recent report from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, half of all cases of online fraud are initiated via email.
As such, it is important to know how to report email scams. This is important not only to recover whatever has been taken from you in the scam, it is also useful to track down the scammer and keep him or her from ripping off even more people.
All email scams should be reported to the Federal Trade Commission and to your email service provider. The FTC is responsible for prosecuting scammers and your service provider can take steps to further protect your account. If you do not know who an email is from, then don’t open it. Also, protect your friends and family by refraining from forwarding unknown emails to them.
Lastly, remember that professionals such as eConsumer Services® are dedicated to getting you exchanges or refunds from any credit card purchase that you make online.
Even the savviest online shopper can fall victim to internet fraud, so don’t be afraid to stand up against scam artists and know that eConsumer Services® is here to help. Fill out the form to the right and we’ll help you get your money back.