On-line fraud is growing and can be any type of scheme that uses the Internet.
Chat rooms, email, message boards, and websites are some examples of ways that may be used to deceive prospective victims. These schemes, scams and frauds take advantage of the Internet’s unique capabilities of sending messages worldwide in seconds.
Fraudulent emails, appearing to be from a trusted source such as your bank, or a government agency, direct you to websites. Once there, you are asked to verify personal information such as name, account and credit card numbers and passwords. These sites are often designed look exactly like the site they are imitating.
Internet fraudsters often use identity theft as a starting point for larger crimes. In one case, criminals obtained the names and social security numbers of military personnel then used them to apply to a bank over the Internet for credit cards. In another case, stolen personal data was used to submit car loan applications online.
The Internet is a great tool for information and to conduct on-line business, as long as consumers take appropriate precautions and are aware of the possibility that someone may be trying to scam them. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
The consumer information links below exist to assist customers in locating information and providing guidance on how to file complaints when appropriate.
You can file a complaint with the FTC against a company or organization that you believe has cheated you by contacting the Consumer Response Center by phone toll free 877-FTC-HELP (382-4357).
The mission of the Internet Crime Complaint Center is to provide the public with a reliable and convenient reporting mechanism to submit information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation concerning suspected Internet-facilitated criminal activity and to develop effective alliances with law enforcement and industry partners. Information is analyzed and disseminated for investigative and intelligence purposes to law enforcement and for public awareness.
“Fraud” is a link on the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) homepage under “Information for Individuals and Communities.”
“Consumer.gov” is a one-stop link to a broad range of federal information resources available online.
Report a Fraud: 800-269-0271
Smart911 is a free national service provided to you by your local 9-1-1 agency. By creating a Safety Profile for your household that includes the vital personal and medical information you would want response teams to have in the event of an emergency, your profile is immediately available should you have the need to dial 9-1-1. This allows call takers and first responders to assist you faster and more effectively.
Your family’s profile information is completely private and secure. The details you enter on the secure and protected website are only shared with 9-1-1 dispatchers and first responders in the field, and only when you or your family members dial 9-1-1.
Create your Safety Profile or learn more at www.smart911.com.
Visit www.consumer.ftc.gov for consumer information and resources on a variety of topics such as: Money and Credit, Homes and Mortgages, Health and Fitness, Jobs and Making Money or Privacy and Identity.
Financial education fosters financial stability for individuals, families, and entire communities. The more people know about credit and banking services, the more likely they are to increase savings, buy homes, and improve their financial health and well-being. The FDIC offers Money Smart – A Financial Education Program for Adults, Young Adults and/or Small Business. The curriculum is available in English and Spanish. Visit the following link to learn more: www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/moneysmart/index.html.
Corporate account takeover is a type of fraud where thieves gain access to a business’ finances to make unauthorized transactions, including transferring funds from the company, creating and adding new fake employees to payroll, and stealing sensitive customer information that may not be recoverable. Corporate account takeover is a growing threat for small businesses. In 2011, seventy two percent of data breach cases affected businesses with 100 employees or less1. It is important that businesses understand and prepare for this risk. Cyber thieves target employees through phishing, phone calls, and even social networks. It is common for thieves to send emails posing as a bank, delivery company, court or the Better Business Bureau. Once the email is opened, malware is loaded on the computer which then records login credentials and passcodes and reports them back to the criminals.
Ninety two percent of respondents to a recent survey indicated employee education of small business employees was effective in reducing the threat of account takeover2. However, nearly 80 percent of respondents to a small business survey said they had no formal internet security policy, with almost half indicating they provide no internet safety training to employees3.
The best way to protect against corporate account takeover is a strong partnership with your financial institution. Work with your bank to understand security measures needed within the business and to establish safeguards on the accounts that can help the bank identify and prevent unauthorized access to your funds.
A shared responsibility between the bank and the business is the most effective way to prevent corporate account takeover. Consider these tips to ensure your business is well prepared:
1Source: VeraCode 2011 fraud survey of small business preparedness
2FS-ISAC Account Takeover Task Force survey, 2011
3National Cyber Security Alliance Small Business Survey, 2011