The week 13-19 November has been designated as International Fraud Awareness Week, and aims to raise awareness among internet users about online fraud and how it can be combated.
Internet has entered our lives for good and now we not use it only to collect information but also to manage our finances. Web-banking, online shopping and selling, digital money are a new condition that helps us to make our lives easier. But it also hides several risks, such as financial online fraud.
Let’s see some of the ways someone can extort money from us through internet.
If you use internet banking services, you may receive an email claiming that your account has been blocked and you need to enter your internet banking login details (username and password). The purpose is to disclose your details so that someone can extort money from you. These emails seem to come from the bank but don’t forget that no one would ever ask you to give your password.
Someone is impersonating you and using your personal information to steal money. For example, someone hacks your social media account and then asks friends or family for money based on a traumatic story they make up (e. g. that you were robbed or need money for health reasons).
Where’s the item that I bought?
You buy something from a controversial website at a good price. You pay by bank transfer and the product never arrives. When you return to the website you notice that there is no contact information or way to claim your money.
Help someone transfer money out of the country
These scams are usually perpetrated via email and claim that you will be given a large amount of money if you help someone transfer millions of rupees or other currency out of their country. Only that in order to make the transaction, you are asked to send your bank account details first, as well as a not insignificant administration fee.
You received a legacy!
You receive an email stating that a distant relative has died and left you an inheritance. Your first reaction is probably, “Wow! How lucky am I?”. But is it so? Fraud involving inheritances is very common. Usually the fraudster claims to be the deceased’s legal adviser and asks for an advance in order to open and administer the will.
Whoever loves, pays!
Another form of online financial fraud is when a perpetrator tries to gain the trust and love of the victim through an online chat room. Would-be scammers who claim to live abroad spend a lot of time trying to gain the trust of their victim and eventually ask for money under various false pretexts such as to get a plane ticket, for health reasons, etc.
How can we protect our children from online scams?
The best protection is information, prevention and of course understanding the child and their needs. To this end, we try to have conversations with children to find out what they do when they are surfing the internet. What navigation offers them, what they are looking for and what they are searching for. What kind of programmes they use, who they communicate with and why. Do they feel safe while online? Are there moments when they felt there was danger? If so, in which cases?
The parent’s goal is to proactively create the framework for safe internet browsing. We install anti-virus or anti-malware software on all digital devices. Turn on firewalls, additional security features such as FaceID or fingerprint scanner and make the necessary updates.
But most important of all is to create a climate of trust in our relationship with children for an open dialogue, so that we can become their reference people for anything that they find difficult or strange as they explore the online world.
And don’t forget, internet fraudsters love times when online shopping is significantly increased, such as during Black Friday.