ONLINE FRAUD SOARS 27 PER CENT AS THIEVES TARGET ONLINE USERS – While overall crime, such as robbery and burglaries, have seen a significant drop of 9 per cent in the UK the trend of online fraud as risen exponentially to 27 per cent.
Traditional crimes, such as robberies and burglaries, are a perilous profession for all criminals and since the introduction of the internet criminals have been increasing moving towards online crime, due to their ability of being able to cloak their identity and the ease in which they are able to perpetrate their crimes.
Identity theft is one of the largest growing problems with security forces around the web continuously sending out advice to both individuals and companies on how to combat online fraud.
Last year online fraud cost Britain over £30 billion and this figure is set to rise by 20-30% annually if authorities are not able to educate the public sufficiently as to the ways in which online fraudsters operate.
Authorities are making headway and there are lots of websites available that provide information on the tell-tale signs of a fraud in progress.
There are a number of measures you can take to prevent being a victim of online fraud including:
- Never store bank account records or highly sensitive information on your computer; such as your National Security Number. In many cases hackers are able to gain access to the contents of your computer’s hard drive and use the information freely.
- Never respond to emails that offer you the opportunity to make large sums of money through a money transfer. It is illegal to transfer money on behalf of other people and is known internationally as ‘money laundering’. The most widely known type of money laundering scams is that of the 419 Nigerian scam.
- Report any suspicious contacts you may have received, especially if it involves transferring money, to your local police headquarters. There are a number of websites that allow you to report a scam such as Fraud Action; a website set up by the British Government.
- Be wary if using online dating sites. There are currently a number of Nigerian fraudsters targeting lonely men and women in order to defraud them.
National crime statistics are showing a worrying trend in the number of frauds perpetrated from Nigeria within the online dating scene. As one of the key points above, you must, if you participate in such an activity, be extremely cautious of anything suspicious and if you get the slightest feeling that something is not quite right then sever contact immediately and contact the police.
Last year crime statistics showed that just over 1,200 people were scammed through the use of online dating sites. Fraudster targets both men and women and often leave them financially ruined. Watch the video above to see how one victim in Singapore lost over $200,000 to Nigerian fraudsters.
In all cases of online dating fraud the fraudster sets up a fake identity with stolen pictures and quickly sets about contacting potential victims in the hope of netting a few unsuspecting and lonely people.
As soon as a fraudster has gained their trust; that is generally built up over several months, they then provide a story of an issue which will inevitably involve you sending them money to help them – it always involves money and it is nearly always a fraud.
To highlight the problem of online fraud the National Crime Statistics revealed that over 22,600 cases of online fraud occurred last year with a further 11,000 involving crimes such as computer hacking.
Remember stay vigilant about the information you store on your computer, never respond to emails from people you don’t know and if you are using an online dating website never, regardless of the circumstances, send money.
Do you have any suggestions on how to prevent someone from becoming a victim of online fraud? Please share by leaving your comments below. If you have been a victim and want to tell your story please get in touch with the editor.