Know the facts, prevent the danger

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Fraud is an intentional deception through a seemingly harmless front for gain.

Types and Examples of Fraud

The three basic types of fraud are phishing, retail, and "work at home" opportunities.
  • Phishing/smishing:
These are mock emails (phishing) or text messages (smishing) supposedly from a business or other corporation. For example, you might get an email claiming to be from PayPal asking for your personal information to in order to "keep your account active."
  • Retail/auction:
This is when you order something online, and then receive nothing or something you didn't pay for. Many various schemes have been reported on television when someone ordered an IPad and opened their box to find a brick or mock IPad.
  • "Work at home":
In this type of fraud, victims will receive a message about an available at home job. It requires information for their "employers" to send them a "kit." They then have the victim's personal information or money. Unfortunately, in some instances the "kit" victims received in order to work at home was merely instructions on how to scam other people.

Red Flags

Keeping an eye out for red flags will help keep your information and computer safe from potential scam artists.
  • Emails from businesses: Your bank already has your information. If they are asking you to provide it through email, it is likely to be a fraud.
  • Too good to be true: If a deal seems too good to be true, it most likely is.
  • Instinct: Although it isn't the best red flag, if you feel that something is off, it well may be.
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A few simple ways to avoid fraud are:
  • Don't reply. If an email seems suspicious, don't reply. Replying provides the scam artist your information or the fact that your email is active, opening the door for more possible frauds, spam, and viruses.
  • Customer ratings. Check customer ratings on products or businesses before you commit.
  • Too good to be true. Again, if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.