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Internet fraud; the perps, their tools and your defence.

The world as we know it today has never before seen so much advancement in technology. Conventional stores are going online, business transactions and communication is now seamless,deals are closed faster from around the world. The beautiful picture of what you can achieve with modern technology cannot be painted in a few paragraphs and the wheel of innovation still turns with new products and services being released everyday. Like everything ever created, the Internet and technology at large, through its endless possibilities have also given rise to a negative; an easier window for fraud. Years ago, defrauding people over long distances seemed difficult if not almost impossible, today, criminals are equipped with tech tools to bring pain and misery in their wake. How can you protect yourself from the dangers of Internet fraud? This article attempts to expose the perpetrators, their tools and methods and how you can avoid falling into their trap.

Internet fraudsters range from unskilled scammers who try to get you to pay certain fees for bogus services to skilled cybercrimals who use sophisicated tools to steal identities and hack bank accounts. There are several ways a fraudster might try to get to your hard earned money, and with each method comes a proven method to avoid the danger.

Auction Fraud:
On Facebook and other popular social media posts, more often than not, you find comments of an alleged person from customs trying to auction cars at unbelievable rates. If a rate is unbelievable, you really shouldn’t believe it. The Nigerian customs would not auction goods without a press release or an official statement. They do not auction off goods on Facebook, if you find any auctions that cannot be verified by responsible authority, it is a fraud.

Fake shopping sites and Non-Delivery of goods fraud:
With the emergence of e-commerce stores, more Nigerians are becoming conversant with buying goods and services online. Before you place an order, verify that the website you are about to buy from is reputable. Some fraudsters set up e-commerce websites, get you to buy goods but will never deliver or refund. Only buy from web stores you can trust. Some have been asked to pay for goods on sites like OLX before they are delivered. This is a dangerous thing to do and more often people lose their money to fraudsters because the goods are never delivered. It is safer to opt for a pay on delivery option for stores you are testing out.

Identity theft: Just before you make that post on social media, think about it; How much information about yourself are you making public? Identity thieves are fraudsters who steal pictures, information and posts about a person and pretend to be the person. They then use the person’s name to defraud friends or use it in love scams. Limit how much private information you leave online and occasionally search your own name on Facebook and other social networks to be sure there isn’t another you. If there is, report the account as spam via the network’s security settings.

Credit card fraud: PROTECT YOUR DEBIT AND CREDIT CARDS. There are some merchant sites that do not require a pin before they initiate a transaction. It is advisable not to give your cards to strangers just to try and beat ATM queues. If the numbers on your cards are stolen or memorised, you can be defrauded easily. Students and Corps members also have the habit of putting ATM cards behind their ID cards, they expose the numbers on their cards which is dangerous. If your card is lost or stolen contact your bank immediately!

Phising: Most fraudsters pretend to be your bank or a card company to steal information from you. You might have received a message from a private number saying because of BVN error, your account has been blocked. This is a fraudulent message. Note that your bank would never ask for your atm card numbers or any other pin or banking information via text message. Disregard text messages from private numbers trying to get information about your bank. When your bank sends an email it ends in the name of the bank for example, example@mybank.com, cardservices@gtbank.com. Check websites you enter bank information carefully to ensure there is no spelling error as some use spelling variations to set up fake websites. You might not notice a third “c” in a fake www.acccessbank.com website. So always be careful of spellings and check that the website url is secure. It should start with https, the “s” standing for secure before you start any transaction.

We do hope you enjoy the benefits of the internet while avoiding the dangers. If you suspect any foul play send an email to info@efccnigeria.com

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