Confessions of A WWW Creator (and Cyber Crime Victim)
Despite being the "Creator of the World Wide Web", Sir Tim Berners Lee has recently confessed to The Telegraph that he was conned by online fraudsters last Christmas. He wouldn't be an exception, with an increasing number of online cybercrime victims in recent times. A survey carried out by electronic payment system Ukash amongst 1,000 online shoppers published on Which? today revealed that 95% of UK shoppers are concerned by card fraud and identity theft, but 14% confess to not taking any protective measures.
So how to avoid being scammed online? Here are some basic tips:
- Be suspicious of emails requesting for your personal financial information, unless they are digitally signed. Phishers usually use upsetting or exciting but false statements in their emails to get people to react and respond immediately. Some, like the standard Nigerian scam, are less convincing than others. Others would typically ask for usernames, passwords, credit card numbers and social security numbers.
- Beware of any links in emails, instant messages or chats. It could be a spoofed message sent via a worm.
- Avoid filing out forms in email messages. Always ensure that you are using a secure website when submitting credit card or sensitive information via the internet.
- Get in the habit of looking at the address line. Be aware of where you
are going at all times.
- Regularly check your bank, credit and debit card statements to ensure that all transactions are legitimate.
- Keep track of fraud alerts through various channels like Fraud Watch International.
In addition, a report conducted by the APWG, the number of crimeware websites have surged in December 2008. The same UKash study showed that 21% of the respondents are ‘not sure’ if they have ever been a victim of online fraud, likely contributing to the 1 in 4 UK internet victim of phishing scam figure published in a separate Consumerist article.