Computer Crime Research Center


Cybercrime: internet fraud growing

Date: December 20, 2005

If you are doing a lot of online shopping, Internet fraud should be something you're thinking about now more than ever.

The most prevalent scam out there -- e-mail phishing scams, where an e-mail arrives to your inbox asking you to click on a link to that turns out to be a bogus Web site.

"Everything used on the Web site makes it appear to be legitimate. And what they do is ask you to verify certain information -- your bank account number, credit card number, things like that," said Trooper Jeanne Martin of the Pennsylvania State Police.

"My preference is to go directly to the Web site -- type in the address and go to the Web site," said computer expert Brian Renter.

Renter said that's the only way to know you are at a legitimate Web site.

That is especially true if you are shopping online, according to experts.

You may get promotional offers from your favorite shopping sites.

Whatever you do, don't click on the offer, Renter said.

"It's too easy to spoof the Web site address," said Renter.

Here are some more safety tips:

* Never use a debit card because you are out the money immediately.
* Use one credit card for all online purchases to spot fraud more quickly.
* Make sure to use spyware detection and a firewall to avoid programs stealing your information.

"There are programs out there that are key loggers that will actually log what keys you type. And they're just harvesting information," said Renter.
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