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Last Updated: 07-Sep-2016
Information Technology Services
Information Technology Services: Phishing Fraud Types

Types of Fraud

Auction Fraud
Internet auction fraud can occur in several ways, but the most common is simply the failure to deliver the purchased item. Some other ways include:

  • misrepresentation - they deceive you as to the true value or condition of an item
  • fee stacking - hidden charges are added to the item after the auction is over.
  • black-market and counterfeit goods are offered for sale
  • multiple bidding - a buyer places multiple high and low bids on an item using different aliases. The high bids cause the price to escalate, drives off other potential buyers. In the final minutes of the auction, the buyer withdraws their high bids, and is able to purchase the item with their much lower bid.
  • shill bidding - the seller makes fake bids to drive up the price of their own item.
  • escrow services - a scammer convinces a victim to go outside of the auction site and requests the use of a third-party escrow service. In these cases the scammer has actually created an escrow site that closely resembles a legitimate escrow service. So the victim sends payment to the service and receives nothing in return, or the victim sends merchandise and never receive payment because it's not a legitimate escrow service.

Counterfeit Payments Fraud
This type of fraud uses fake cashier's checks and money orders that appear to be authentic. One version of this is where the buyer tells the seller that they mistakenly sent too large a check and requests that the seller wire the balance back to the buyer.

Another involves someone with a large check they cannot cash in their own country. They ask to have you cash then check, keeping a portion of the proceeds for themselves, and wire the balance back to them.

A bank will typically release the funds immediately, or after a one or two day hold, leading the victim to believe the check has "cleared". But it can take two or three weeks for the check to actually get back to the bank that supposedly issue it. When a victim learns from their bank that the check was counterfeit, and they must refund the full amount to the bank.

Financial Fraud
Financial fraud is committed by or against an individual or corporation and results in a financial loss. Some examples:

  • Phony prize promotions
  • Foreign lottery schemes
  • Sweepstakes/Prizes Fraud
  • Advance-fee schemes
  • Travel offer scams
  • Unnecessary credit card loss "protection"
  • Reshipping (individuals receive packages at their residence and then repackage the merchandise for shipment, usually abroad)
  • Mail Order Bride Schemes
  • Advance Fee Schemes (get a "guaranteed" loan for a fee paid in advance)
  • Charities Fraud
  • Debt Elimination scams (either for a fee and/or to obtain information for identity theft)
  • Investment Fraud (false claims that solicit investments or loans, or provide for the purchase, use, or trade of forged or counterfeit securities - "get rich quick" schemes)
  • Job Scams (work at home for big financial rewards)
  • "Nigerian" Scams (individuals claiming to be foreign government officials or persons in need of assistance, offers the the "opportunity" to share in a percentage of millions of dollars, for assistance in placing large sums of money in overseas bank accounts.)
  • Ponzi and Pyramid Schemes

Identity Theft
Crooks use your name, social security number or maybe that blank, pre-approved credit application you tossed out. Read more...

Pharmacy Fraud
Online Pharmacy Fraud incorporates numerous crimes and potentially dangerous health considerations. It is a violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to dispense prescription drugs without a valid prescription. Even if you do have a prescription, be wary of fraudulent online pharmaceuticals.

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Return to Phishing

Recognize warning signs
 •  Be wary of anything that promises large sums of money, such as sweepstakes or lottery winnings, in exchange for your advance payment, donation or investment.
 •  Don't be pressured into making a decision about an offer. Check it out first!
 •  Be cautious about businesses that try to conceal their mailing addresses and phone numbers and evade questions about their operations.
Resources (external)
Common Fraud Schemes (FBI)
FTC Charity Check List
National Consumers League
   Fraud Center

Internet Crime Complaint Center prevention tips on:
 •  Auction Fraud
 •  Counterfeit Cashier's
 • Credit Card Fraud
 •  Debt Elimination
 •  Employment/Business
 •  Escrow Services Fraud
 •  Identity Theft
 •  Internet Extortion
 •  Investment Fraud
 •  Lotteries
 •  Nigerian Letter or "419"
 •  Phishing/Spoofing
 •  Ponzi/Pyramid
 •  Reshipping
 •  Spam
 •  Third Party Receiver of

Report Security Incidents
Report stolen devices (laptops, PDAs, etc) and suspected computer break-ins to ITS immediately. The sooner we know about an incident, the sooner we can respond, potentially limiting any damage.
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