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Lessons and stories from the front lines of fighting identity theft.


Current Internet Scams

Feb 17

Internet Scams

In this entry, we will examine the top 5 current Internet scams and what you should do to avoid becoming an identity theft victim.

Top 5 Internet Scams:

• Hotmail Scams – Usernames, passwords, and account information are surreptitiously stolen when keyloggers are downloaded after you have opened a malicious email that appeared harmless, like those funny forwards you get from friends.  

• Online Education Scams – The difficulties in the economy have made an advanced degree important.  Wherever there is a legitimate opportunity, a scammer will turn it into an opportunity chance for illegal gain by creating a fake online course designed to steal your identity.

• E-Card Scams – A common E-card scam will involve receiving an E-card that brings with it a keylogger program that becomes imbedded in your computer when you open the card.

 Work at home Scams – Most of these scams are advertised online and you have to pay a fee up-front to get started to which fraudsters use this tactic to lure individuals to provide personal or credit information.

• Online Tax Scams – U.S. based employees receive an email to complete an updated version of the government’s W-2 form because of important changes within the forms. The updated form is conveniently attached to the e-mail. However, scammers have created fake forms designed to gather your personal information and use it as their own.

General tips to avoid Internet scams:

• Think, look, investigate every link you receive in your e-mail before clicking.

• Do not open e-mail forwards; inform friends that unless they know the source of a pass-along-email you’d prefer they didn’t send it to you.

• Type in Web site addresses manually into your browser – Sites that require you to use your personal data – such as banks, social networking sites and others — should be typed in manually into the address bar.

• Use secure webservers for transactions with your credit card – Always look for “https” rather than “http” when you share sensitive information.

• Antivirus and Firewalls are important – If a fraudster can’t get you to click on a link, chances are they will try to send you a virus.  It’s very important to protect yourself.

• Update yourself – It’s important to keep in the know since scammers create different techniques to steal identities.

6 Comments Add your comment

  1. Zack
    Feb 17 at 13:32

    It’s a constant spam war out there in email land. I just don’t open any emails from people I don’t know anymore. It’s incredible how many fake emails I get – why do they think I’m going to fall for it? I guess some people still do. I do find that my email junk/spam filters are getting better.


    ID-Alvin Reply:

    Hello Zack! We appreciate your feedback.


  2. Scott
    Feb 17 at 13:49

    In the last day I came across two interesting facts about online scams –

    1. My friend received a unsolicited phone call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft. They said that they needed her to follow a few steps to fix a problem with her computer. She wisely did not, and hung up the phone. This was a social engineering attempt, where someone tries to scam you by exploiting human behavior.

    2. According to ScanSafe, vulnerabilities in Adobe Reader and Acrobat were the most frequently targeted of any software (accounting for 80% of all exploits!) . Why Adobe Reader? In part because of the popularity of the program.

    Several years ago I asked a friend, who happens to be a world reknown computer programmer, why he didn’t develop applications for the Mac OS. His response was simple; 90% of the computers run on Windows (Now, of course, that is not the case) … so he programmed for the masses.

    Hackers are no different. For the longest time Macs were considered “Virus Proof” – but now everyone is susceptible to threats, regardless of your operating system.


    ID-Alvin Reply:

    Hello Scott! We appreciate your feedback and very informative facts you provided.

    Here is an entry that we posed in regards to “Social Engineering Scams”:


  3. Jean
    Feb 18 at 13:34

    So true. People need to think before clicking.


    ID-Alvin Reply:

    Hello Jean! We appreciate your feedback. I couldn’t agree with you more!


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