Thieves find it easier to take control of the virtual wallets people have online through the internet. Once in possession, they pilfer its contents without the owner realizing it has gone. The situation is worse for those who are unaware of when they are about to become victims of scams. By the year 2000, the problem was so widespread that the United States had to come up with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). The IC3 acts as a clearinghouse which receives and infers all fraud complaints and reports related to the internet.
The Customer Success Manager of Semalt Digital Services, Max Bell, provides valuable ideas concerning online fraud and how to avoid it.
The Internet as a Thieves’ Playground
Since the web serves as an information source, it acts as an excellent platform from which scam artists pick off their victims. Fraud refers to mispresented truths or concealing relevant facts that lead to the victims taking action that will, in the end, cost them.
Identity Theft and Fraud
Even careful people are victims of identity theft. Skimming is the process that uses electronic devices to illegally store and retrieve credit card information from users after making purchases. Pretexting is when somebody calls a card owner pretending to be a company representative and request personal data in the pretense of updating data. Once thieves steal an identity, they can use the information to conduct fraud by making fake IDs to a name.
Users can protect themselves by shredding all mail and receipts they do not need. Add protection keys to private emails. If one is afraid of credit card skimming, they should opt to pay using cash instead. Never give out personal information no matter the situations.
Health Insurance Identity Fraud
Lost or stolen insurance cards may appear in fraud cases. Fraudsters continue to become sophisticated like the case of 2004, where there was a total of $30 million in unpaid insurance claims. Insurance identity fraud may result from telemarketing, spam emails, or disgruntled employees. The latter may create a trail of misleading information on patient records.
People should secure their medical records, insurance information, and other paperwork away from thieves. All insurance claim numbers not in use need shredding. Patients need to refrain from signing blanket health insurance approvals. They should know how much they might pay out of their pocket beforehand.
Notifications to Reduce Change
Online fraud alerts notify individuals on suspicious activity affecting them, allowing them to react to it swiftly. A user finds out the specific activity that thieves are trying to access. The account holder, bank or organization set parameters as to when and how the notification activates and reaches the owner. Parameters make it possible for the organizations to monitor activity. Any transactions outside these parameters trigger a notification. It gives the user to respond whether they approve or disapprove the said activity. Credit card companies also help prevent against identity theft by customizing user notifications. These companies flag any activity that does not fit the owner’s profile. However, the action taken depends on the customer’s effort on making complaints and reports on suspicious activity.
If an online fraud alert shows up, start by responding to it immediately to minimize the intruder’s activity on the account. Next, create a fraud alert on the credit report which brings back a new notification whenever there is a new line of credit request. Request a copy from the card company to review and spot any activity not recognizable. Some companies offer the option to freeze credit on the credit report. It restricts who has access to the report.
Reporting Identity Fraud
The sooner one reacts to fraudulent activity is the faster one can control the use of their data. Reporting instances of identity theft to the credit bureaus is the first step. Upon notification, they prevent any new account openings under the victim’s name. The next step is to alert the authorities.
The most important part is to contact the credit card companies. One may have to change accounts, logins, and passwords. Also, contacting the phone company can work to the owner’s advantage as they may help notify the user of any changes. They will help with the monitoring of statements and reports.