Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Don't become a victim of cyber fraud on holiday shopping

Two weeks ago The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has logged its 2 millionth consumer complaint alleging online criminal activity. Consumer losses are estimated at $1.7 billion. Many complaints involved identity theft, such as loss of personally identifying data and the unauthorized use of credit cards or bank accounts. 

The IC3 went operational in May of 2000 and received its one millionth complaint seven years later, on June 11, 2007. Receipt of its 2 millionth complaint required half that time, illustrating both the increased visibility of the IC3 and the continued growth of cyber crime.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is a partnership between theFederal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA).

Holiday Shopping Tips from The Internet Crime Complaint Center

  • Use caution and do not provide financial information directly to the seller, as fraudulent sellers will use this information to purchase items for their schemes. 
  • Always use a legitimate payment service to ensure a safe, legitimate purchase.
  • Diligently check each seller's rating and feedback along with their number of sales and the dates on which feedback was posted. Be wary of a seller with 100% positive feedback, with a low total number of feedback postings, or with all feedback posted around the same date and time.
  • Be careful when purchasing gift cards through auction sites or classified ads. It is safest to purchase gift cards directly from the merchant or retail store. 
  • Be leery of emails or text messages that indicate a problem or question regarding your financial accounts. In this scam, fraudsters direct victims to follow a link or call a number to update an account or correct a purported problem.
Also you might be interested in Internet Crime Prevention Tips for a safer web experience. 

(Image credit: Cartier Winter Tale)

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