The internet and email have revolutionized the way we conduct our business and personal affairs, making it possible to communicate at lightning speed, keep up with the latest news, and track down our long-lost prom dates. But as they say, every silver lining has a cloud. Guess what? If it’s making life easier for you, it’s making life easier for the bad guys too.
The internet has opened up a whole new frontier for crooks, and they’ve wasted no time taking advantage of the wonders of technology. Email and web-based cons may reach you in a different way, but in actuality, they are no different from any other scams. They generally fall into one of the following categories.
Advance fee fraud takes many forms, but always involves the payment of a fee or fees up front in return for a reward or merchandise which never materializes. This type of fraud often includes the use of fraudulent checks, which give the transactions the appearance of legitimacy and help persuade the victims to comply.
Identity theft takes place when someone uses your personal information, such as a credit card or Social Security number, to commit fraud or other crimes.
Overpayment scams target anybody who has something to sell. The basic setup is that someone posing as a buyer overpays for the item or items by check and requests that the extra funds be wired back to them or sent to a third party who will take care of shipping. By the time the check is discovered to be a fraud, the seller has lost the amount of the wire transfer.