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internet fraud

Not too long ago I wrote post about Phishing in the Caribbean, and how that there are Signs of Phishing in Dominica.

For those of you reading this post for the first time, and have no idea what phishing is – basically, phishing is a scheme used by internet fraudster in the attempt to tick bank and credit card customers to innocently reveal their security detail so that they can gain access to the individual accounts.

The Caribbean is rapidly becoming the new phishing destination, due to the fact that most of the law enforcement agencies around the Caribbean are new to these types of internet crimes.

So how does one protect against Internet fraud and phishing?

The first and last rule is to educate yourself as to the risks; ignorance is no defense as the Judge would say. Fraudsters are becoming more and more sophisticated and so you must keep abreast of the risks and different techniques being employed.

There are some simple rules you should always remember:

  • The bank will never ask you for your PIN, password, catch-phrase or anything like that.
  • Never disclose your password or PIN to anyone.
  • Always type in the address of your bank’s or credit card company’s website.
  • Use a secure password: not your date of birth, vehicle registration, telephone number or anything associated with you that someone might easily guess.
  • Use different passwords for different secure sites.
  • Check your bank and credit card statements immediately.
  • Always know where your passport, drivers licence and social security card is, and report them lost/stolen once you’re satisfied you cannot find them.
  • Properly destroy old utility bills, bank statements and any mail which is of a sensitive nature that may contain your name and address, or that could be used as identification to open an account or gain credit.
  • Keep your important documents in a secure place and keep records of your credit card number, as well as the number to report them lost/stolen. Remember you wouldn’t have the card!

This is not an in-depth list, but should serve to bring security and the ricks of fraud home to those who never gave it a second thought. There hundreds of different measures which can be taken to improve computer security and how to protect your private information, but that’s beyond the scope of this article.

Basically, be aware and educate yourself, get training; it costs money sure, think of it this way – a car sticker , which reads “If you think Education is expensive, try ignorance.”

If you’re interested to know more about online crimes (phishing), I encourage to look-up the term in Google, there you will find hundreds of websites with updated information on online crimes and identity theft. Please don’t be one of the many who say “I had no idea” or “If only I did know…”

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Microsoft phishing filterPhoto by Rodrigo Galindez

Some of you may think that there’s a typo in the headline, but the word “Phishing” is no mistake and should be cause for concern. Phishing pronounced “fishing”, is a technique used by internet fraudster in the attempt to tick bank and credit card customers to innocently reveal their security detail so that they can gain access to the individual accounts.

Phishing has been around for years in the UK, US, and in many of other mainland countries. Readers who follow international financial or business news would know the term.

Some reader might be thinking “man, Dominica is too small for crooks to bother with us”. And I understand why, because I too use to think the same way. Well that delusional way of thinking was abruptly dismissed a few months ago, when our FedEx Regional office in Trinidad warned all employees of an e-mail that was being circulated purporting to be from FedEx IT Team and was directing employees to a website that looked very authentic.

So how does Phishing work?

From what understand, you receive an e-mail purporting to be from a financial institution or business with which you have a relationship. This e-mail would suggest that they have experienced a failure or security breach and require you to confirm your security credentials.

In most cases the email would contain a link to a log-on screen that looks very much like the institution’s website, however it is a fake. The details you enter into this site are recorded by the fraudsters for them to use at the real site and gain access to your account.

This is basic an example of Identity Theft and there are a lot more sophisticated techniques that criminals are using to gain security and other personal information from unsuspecting Internet users. So don’t ever think that Dominica is too small and is prone to these types’ internet crimes. In fact the Caribbean is the ideal place for these fraudsters to launch their attract. Most of the law enforcement agencies in the Caribbean, particularly Dominica are new to these types of internet crimes. In my next post, I will list some ways people can protect themselves against Internet fraud and phishing.

Have you been reeled in by phishing scammers? Like the individuals hoping to share in the Nigerian man’s fortune – is it greed or is it a mistake anyone could make? Tell us in the comments.

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