“Internet fraud is the use of Internet services
or software with Internet access to defraud victims or to otherwise take
advantage of them. Internet crime schemes steal millions of dollars each year
from victims and continue to plague the Internet through various methods.” Due
to the generation we are living in, our world is so heavily influenced by our dependency
on computers and the Internet. Although there is so much good we receive from
the Internet, there is a lot of room for disaster if it is not used properly. Internet
fraud has seen an increase in numbers and concern for the people and
law-enforcement agencies. The following will focus on three different types of
fraud cases: credit card fraud, identity theft, and fraudulent sites.

 Being one of the
major types of fraud in the United States, identity theft has significant
impact on an individual. For instance, after constant research on how heavily
people were affected economically through identity theft; Javelin Strategy
& Research released their findings on how “$16 billion was stolen from 15.4
million U.S. consumers in 2016”. It is evident that most identity theft can go
unseen causing a significant dent in our economic status. As consumers, one must
constantly check their records in order to prevent any fraudulent actions from occurring.
Additionally, after conducting a study on the range of people affected by
identity theft, The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) claims that, “About 7%
of persons age 16 or older were victims of identity theft in 2014 along with
the number of elderly victims
of identity theft increased to 2.6 million” in their research Victims of Identity Theft, 2014. Cybercriminals obviously have no
preference when it comes to stealing the information of consumers. The
distractions faced by young adults and the elderly make them easy targets in
gaining access to personal information. Not one person is excluded from being a
potential victim as background information such as income will not increase or
lessen your chances. Furthermore, after receiving two million complaints in
2013, Consumer Sentinel Network (CSN) exclaimed how “identity theft complaints
accounted for 14% of all complaints in which government documents/benefits fraud (34%) was the most
common form of reported identity theft”.  Identity theft is clearly found
in various places despite how hard it may be to breach into this classified
information. Not even the most advance security can steer clear criminals
thriving to obtain information for malicious use. As consumers, constantly
verifying information and changing personal information can slowly put a halt
in breaching into ones’ identity.

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A second type of fraud that we commonly see
affect civilians is credit card theft. Credit card theft is when an
unauthorized person uses a debit or credit card to fraudulently make a purchase
or obtain money that isn’t theirs. Nasdaq claims that, “about 31.8 million U.S
consumers had their credit cards breached in 2014, more than three times the
number affected in 2013”. This goes to show that numbers have continued to rise
which has led to the invention of EMV machines in hope that it’ll bring the
statistics down. In an article by USA Today, they mention how EMV was created
to help bring down the numbers of counterfeit fraud which did go down 52% but “predictably,
criminals shifted away from card cloning and toward card-not-present
fraud-largely inline purchases, where chips were not necessary”. This led to
a noticeable peak in other forms of fraud that aroused. Because of technology
advances, people are having to become much clever with how they will access ones’
information. A Money Crashers Personal Finance website mentioned how credit
card companies detect fraud and how it even affects them. “Credit card companies lose approximately seven
cents per every hundred dollars of transactions due to fraud”. When a credit
card company notices even a small purchase followed by a large purchase, this
is usually a sign for them to reach out to the consumer as a warning. It is
very important to be careful with our credit cards as people are now finding
ways to get into the apps we use to track our card information from our phones.

Before you consider making a valuable purchase online, take into
account the chance of being part of fraudulent activity through online
auctions. For example, according to the Federal Trades Commission, “auction
fraud accounts for roughly 48% of online fraud which is almost 500 reports
per week. Online shopping may seem like a way of saving time but, it opens a
door to potential scammers. One must consider the fact that online auctions
aren’t one hundred percent secure. In addition to that, the Internet Fraud and
Complaint Center (IFCC) conducted a study based off consumer networking
complaints which “states that over half (64.1%) of Internet fraud complaints
from May through November 2000 were related to Internet auction fraud”.
Verifying sites can easily prevent the increase of fraudulent online actions.
Huge networking sites like eBay and Craigslist may seem trustworthy, but as
consumers we must remember that such sites are usually based off of private
sellers and not the actual source. According to the Federal Bureau of
Investigation, the numbers corresponding to the cyber-crime of fraud
acknowledge that “internet auction fraud was by far the most reported offense,
comprising 44.9% of referred complaints along with non-delivered merchandise
and/or payment accounted for 19.0% of complaints”. The safety of preventing
scams as such are ultimately in the hands of the consumer. Recognizing that a
deal may be too good to be true or unrealistic can help diminish the success of
online scammers. As online consumers, before deciding to click complete
purchase on our next transaction, one most acknowledge the possibility of a
potential scam. In order to deviate ourselves from becoming a victim of online
auction fraud; a useful technique is to obtain credentials of whom we are
interacting with.

Internet fraud has been seen for many years, but due to a huge
spike in Internet use the opportunity for fraud to occur has also seen a huge
jump in numbers. As consumers it is our job to be more alert of the
transactions we make, where we shop, and who we give our information to. No one
is safe when it comes to fraud which makes it very difficult to keep safe. Some
tips to do so include not handing out your credit card number online unless you
are on a trusted website. One can also check out the encryption on a site, but
be sure to not trust any site you come across only because it “claims” to be

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