Computer Crime Research Center


Many becoming victims of Internet fraud

Date: November 29, 2004
Source: Daily Times
By: Imran Akbar

ISLAMABAD: Although the Internet provides many facilities, it also carries many risks. Most common is the risk of Internet fraud. This crime affects the entire world and victims include individuals, companies and even countries.

In Pakistan, leading international and local banks have suffered huge losses from credit card fraud, despite the expensive and extensive security measures they have in place. Victims include Citibank, American Bank, Union Bank, Askari Bank, the Muslim Commercial Bank.

Cyber criminals often attack official government websites, hack into security systems, send obnoxious e-mails, damage information systems and send viruses. These days, even terrorists use the Internet to collect information on targets and build worldwide contacts and sympathisers.

It is widely accepted that there is a need to establish a policy to curb cyber crime. The government of Pakistan has established a Cyber Crime Wing, a joint venture of the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications to combat the hazard of cyber crime. The hackers manage to hack information systems, official websites and get access to unauthorised official data which is a hidden threat to the government. “Cyber Crime wing will coordinate efforts to stop increasing cyber crimes in Pakistan, the threats and the measures to counter them. It will focus on criminals communications, make fair online business, protect official websites from hackers and make solid security policy for networks and Online Official Documents,” an official of Cyber Crime Wing told Daily Times.

The new wing will also regulate Internet cafés in the country as the terrorist use these café’s for communication. However, very few people and officials know about the existence of this wing. Even the Islamabad police official deputed at the police exchange inquiry (9203333) expressed ignorance about the existence of this wing. “I do not know if there is a cyber crime wing working in Pakistan,” said Muhammad Farooq, sub-inspector, when contacted to get the cyber crime wing’s number. Given this limited police awareness, members of the public should know about common Internet scams in order to protect themselves, their money and their personal information.

The IT Ministry has also finalised a draft bill for the ‘Electronic Crime Act 2004’ which is an important legislation to give legal cover to the anti-cyber crime efforts.

One of the most common frauds involves distance selling. If you are going to buy something from the Internet, you should make sure that the seller provides the price of the item, arrangements for delivery, contact information so questions can be asked and the terms of cancellation. Anyone who fails to provide this basic information is probably trying to run a scam.

Another common fraud is the Nigerian Advance Fee Scam, also known internationally as the 4-1-9 fraud. The sender claims to be a government official who needs to move a large sum of money. For some reason, they need you to pay a fee and claim the money on their behalf. They say they will pay you a percentage of the total sum for your help.

They request personal and banking details from you and a ‘goodwill’ or ‘advance fee’ payment. Your information is used for illegal activities and the money you submit is never seen again.

Online auction frauds are also becoming common. These include the advance lottery fee scams, business opportunities, work from home scams and international modem dialling schemes. Another common scam invites people to claim prizes by calling a hotline number. Usually, the hotlines charge a high fee per minute and the calls last many minutes.

Some competitions invite you to claim your allocated prize by telephoning a hotline number and this could be charged at a premium rate and last many minutes. Also be cautious when offered free holidays or cheap property. You may be being invited to attend a presentation and conned into signing an agreement that forces you to pay exorbitantly high prices for ‘deals’. Many of these scams do not allow you to cancel once you have signed on.

Despite general knowledge that these schemes exist, people continue to become victims. According to one website on Internet fraud, there were at least 124,509 people complained about being scammed in 2003. Many more people are often too embarrassed to report that they were scammed.

Of the reports on the website, Internet auction frauds accounted for 61 percent of the complaints, undelivered merchandise despite fee payment accounted for about 21 percent of complaints, and credit card fraud accounted for 7 percent of complaints. Check fraud, identity theft, business fraud and investment fraud were other top complaint categories.

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Discussion is closed - view comments archieve
2009-05-09 01:21:27 - In December 2004, I was contacted by some... Muhammad Azam Malik
2008-10-10 15:42:12 - Hi I've been on this kick about working... Joe
2008-04-10 16:43:27 - Don't be a victim... I went to Career... sunnee
2008-04-10 16:41:59 - Don't be a victim... I went to Career... sunnee
2006-05-13 00:46:58 - No doubt! heck out these dudes..... Jack Black
2004-11-29 19:39:01 - JAJA CHINGUENSE PUTOS! SI YO
Total 6 comments
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