Normal layout Medium Layout Large Layout Normal Text Medium Text Large Text
  Resources > Member Awareness > Online Fraud Search      
 Quick Links
Click on a topic for a complete explanation of common attacks, how to identify them and how to prevent them.
Internet Attacks
How to protect yourself
It's your turn
 Online Fraud
There are many forms and schemes that fraudsters utilize to conduct online or Internet crime. These types of crimes have stolen millions of dollars and have become very sophisticated over the years. The following is a list of some of the common forms of Online Fraud Schemes: 
  • Auction Fraud – this type of crime involves the use of online auctions where sellers will defraud buyers by making claims of the products they sell that aren’t true or by not even shipping the product once it is purchased.
  • Counterfeit Cashier’s Check – this type of crime may involve a buyer that sends a seller a cashier’s check in the amount greater than the amount for which the item was sold. The buyer is then supposed to send the item to the seller along with a money order or another cashier’s check for the difference. The original cashier’s check is of course a fake; however, this crime works because of the delay in which the cashier’s check gets picked up at the bank as being illegitimate.
  • Credit Card Fraud – this online fraud comes in many different forms. One method is for criminals to set up a fake website that fools users into giving away sensitive information. Another is by setting up a legitimate site, but using the information it gathers to conduct fraudulent activity on the credit card.
  • Debt Elimination – these types of scams promise to assist people to get out of debt or to help them repair their credit report for a price. Most of the time, you can repair your own credit report for free and make payment arrangements with your debtors without the assistance of a third party. Usually, these types of companies make outstanding claims that they never deliver on and take their victims for a ‘ride’.
  • DHL/UPS – online fraudsters may utilize DHL or UPS, reputable companies, to assist them in duping victims out of money. Generally, DHL and UPS do not get involved in directly collecting payments from customers, and their fees are usually only associated with shipping costs - never for costs of any other online transactions.
  • Employment/Business Opportunities – these types of crimes usually involve obtaining some form of sensitive information from the victim such as a social security number and other types of information. 
  • Identity Theft – identity theft has become an increasing problem on the Internet. It has become very easy to obtain sensitive information on victims and use this information to open up fraudulent accounts under their names. The act of using one’s identity for financial gain or fraud is considered a component of Identity Theft.
  • Internet Extortion – this type of crime may involve a criminal taking over a website and holding it ransom until certain funds are paid.
  • Investment Fraud – these types of crimes play on peoples' dream of making it rich and making it fast. These claims may come in the form of a little investment that will return large sums of money. In fact, to draw individuals in, the victim may receive some small checks to confirm the reliability; however, as the victim gives more and more money to the investment, they will eventually lose in the end.
  • Lotteries – these types of crimes may come in the form of buying lottery tickets for a chance to share in the winnings or the victim may be asked to pay a fee to obtain their prize that they are claimed to have already won.
  • Nigerian Letter or “419” – this fraud again plays on the dream of becoming rich. This type of scam appears to be big from individuals in Nigeria and usually starts out by saying a rich relative passed away with a lot of money and the victim is the beneficiary of such funds. Unfortunately, the funds are locked up by the Nigerian government and require payment, in advance, to release. Once the payment is made; however, the victim is guaranteed the large sum of money.
  • Phishing/Spoofing – this type of crime fools victims into going to fake sites and divulging sensitive information.
  • Ponzi/Pyramid – these types of pyramid scams have been around for a long time, but now they have moved into an electronic format. It basically works on the premise that the victim sends a group of individuals a small amount of money. Those individuals, in turn, send another group of individuals a small amount of money, like a pyramid. As the network grows, the individual on top is supposed to get funds from everyone below them.   It looks good in theory, but schemes such as these never work.
  • Spam – advertising has taken a new course in the age of computers and e-mail boxes have been flooded with all types of unsolicited ads. If promises of some miracle drugs are too good to be true, then they probably are.

Online FraudThe Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3c) that has some great resources to protect you from Online Fraud and also assist in reporting these types of crimes. Visit for further information and tips to protect yourself against these and other online crime.