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Protect Yourself Against Online Fraud

Updated: Dec 17, 2019

The Internet Crime Complaint Center received more than 300,000 complaints last year and reported a loss to consumers of more than $1.4 billion. Overall, the center has received more than 4 million complaints since 2000. 


How can you prevent yourself and your loved ones from becoming victims of internet fraud, and what should you do if you suspect your information has been compromised?


Types of Fraud 

The latest Internet Crime Report reveals that the top three types of reported crimes were nonpayment and nondelivery; personal data breaches; and phishing and pharming scams (fake email, text messages and websites). People over the age of 60 were the most likely to become victims of online fraud and lost the most money to this crime.

  

Tech support fraud has also been on the rise in recent years. This scam can occur via telephone, phishing emails, pop-up messages or a locked-screen message. These criminals pretend to provide tech support to victims to gain access to personal information. Some even pose as government officials. 


How to Protect Yourself 

  • Keep your devices updated, including operating systems, web browsers and apps.

  • Educate yourself.

  • Learn how to spot the warning signs of internet fraud. 

  • Talk to your children and older loved ones about online fraud. 

  • Start using a password manager and choose two-factor authentication when possible. 

  • Only share your personal information with encrypted websites. 


How to Report This Crime

First, contact your bank or credit card company if you think an account has been compromised. Then report the crime to the proper authorities. If you're not sure who to report it to, the Internet Crime Complaint Center or the Department of Justice can help you determine which agency can handle your incident. 

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