Fraud is what happens when a person deceptively transacts with other persons or organisations and the online form of this event is termed internet fraud. It is a criminal offence that often involves impersonation, misrepresentation or the use of false evidence by one party to gain undue monetary value from another. Usually, victims are convinced to believe a false or incomplete information that should ultimately lead to their own benefit. After involving their possessions, a serious transaction process is initiated and their trust is gained. But eventually, they are cheated, emotionally injured and suddenly abandoned by the persuader.
|Some "boys" at work|
Persons who do this illegal act for a living have been given various names such as con men, fraudsters, swindlers, impostors and the likes. But the online versions of these lawbreakers are called internet fraudsters. Technological evolution has globally eased business transacting in the second millennium and fraudulent acts too have benefited from this advantage. According to information published on wired.com, the first indictment under the computer fraud act was performed on a graduate student of Cornell University in 1989. That happened in the previous millennium. These days, internet fraudsters operate over the internet and victimise various people across the global village. With the use of a portable internet device, various computer applications and a reliable internet connection, internet fraudsters can simply swindle unsuspecting persons and organisations from any remote location. Considering the rate at which electronic literacy campaigns constantly rise, one is prone to wonder why certain internet users still get heavily duped.
But the reasons are easy to understand. Victims of internet fraudsters usually get swindled due to greed, fancifulness and unwariness. Of the aforementioned trio, greed is highly ranked because when other causes are found wanting, it stands out as a singular reason. From my experience as an active recipient of diverse fraud-related messages, I know that intending swindlers often capitalise on people’s greed. Despite tightening my SPAM mail measures, internet fraudsters who often disguise as businessmen, lottery companies, government agencies, online potential dates and bank representatives still contact me. Below is an example of one the recent emails I received from a prospective con man roaming the internet:
From: "Ho Chen Tung"
Subject: revert to me immediately.
Date: Tue, 8 May 2012 01:45:22 +0100
I have to disturb you today for the reward of an opportunity that should properly be used to advantage. In reverence to your time, I will go straight to the point.
I need a confirmation of acceptance to transfer US$21,410,000.00 to you for our joint gratification. I will send you more details and my suggestions as soon as I get your reply.
Ho Chen Tung.
After reading that mail in my inbox, I grinned and wished the so-called Ho Chen an unproductive week full of missed opportunities and unyielding contacts. I guess he is another version of the Chinese scammers I read about recently or a local impostor seeking whom to defraud.
Unverified information released by Wymoo International, a leading background check and investigation firm offering discreet and confidential services around the globe, listed Ghana, Nigeria, Ukraine, Russia, Malaysia and the Philippines as high risk fraud zones. The organisation further reports the commonest forms of fraud as advance fee fraud, dating fraud, business fraud, investment scams and bride scams. One would ordinarily expect countries with better or more promising economies to be in the low risk categories. Yet, places such as the United Kingdom and Brazil surprisingly appear under the moderate risk zones.
The quest for information security and data protection is not a fight meant for agencies, companies or governments alone as all persons accessing or storing data on the WWW should be concerned. Really, internet users should strive to educate themselves frequently, heighten their level of caution and maintain contacts with online fraud-detecting agencies. In addition to being cautious, the average WWW surfer must control their greed tendencies and remember that fraudsters are widespread on the internet. For instance, if you did not enter to win in a lottery program, you should have no business claiming such prizes. If “your relative” suddenly mails you about their dangerous situation and asks for money urgently, be sure to contact them through another means (talk to them on phone or discuss their whereabouts with their closest acquaintances) before sending such money.
|Active customers at a small internet service centre|
When you receive mails from banks, government representatives or strange persons, always check the full mailing details of the sender and compare it with what is available on their official website. If in doubt at any point in time, contact their representatives through the official website you know. And if you do not have their web contacts, search for more extensive information about them on the internet. In the end, you would have reduced the likelihood of falling prey to fraudsters and encourage more people to go and seek other means of livelihood. Though it is unfortunately true that fraud practices cannot be absolutely eliminated, the fight for internet fraud is on and all honest internet users have a stake in this responsibility.