Digital fraud: what it is and how it can occur
These are some specific examples of digital fraud that are frequently encountered.
Over the last few years, uncertainties and disruptions caused by COVID-19 have continued to create opportunities for crime and fraud. Criminal elements have been quick to seize opportunities to exploit the situation by adapting their modus operandi and engaging in new criminal activities such as sophisticated online/digital fraud attacks on businesses and consumers alike.
Consequently, online fraud cases have exploded and digital fraud has reached alarming, never seen before levels with identity theft being one of the biggest problems for consumers in the digital space.
While there are many types of business and consumer fraud that can take place electronically, below are some specific examples of digital fraud that are more frequently encountered:
- Sending phishing emails to unsuspecting users in order to steal usernames and passwords to access or takeover existing personal or business accounts.
- Manipulating users into clicking a link or opening an attachment containing malware (malicious software) which downloads malicious programs and apps.
- Spoofing email addresses (or websites) and intercepting pending transactions or payments in order to change banking details, invoice details and payment amounts (spoofing disguises a fraudulent communication, activity or identity by changing a letter or domain in the email address (or website) to make it appear legitimate).
- Making online purchases using fraudulently acquired or stolen personal (name, date of birth, address, etc.) or account details.
- Absconding with payments made for goods or services advertised on e-commerce platforms without actually supplying said good or services.
- Tricking victims into electronically transferring funds by persuading them that they will receive a substantial benefit in return for providing some modest payment in advance.
- Requesting refunds on ‘accidental’ payments or overpayments – these scams work by getting you to ‘refund’ a scammer who has sent you too much money or money in “error”.
While we may not be totally able to escape online fraud and various digital scams, not letting ones guard down and knowing how to act in the aftermath of being a victim is vital.
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