Preventing Fraud

scamAre you an online seller? Have you experienced paying for something you sold some days ago? Yes, quite frustrating, but such event happens. And sad to say, the only treatment is prevention. Technology advancement provided you with the ease of almost everything – purchasing your groceries, choosing and buying your clothes, shoes and other personal products, upgrading your computer software and other necessities in life. Almost everything can be purchased online with the help of your debit and credit cards. You enter your personal information, card number and code at the back of your card, and you’re good to go. After a day or two, you get your item.

When you eat at a restaurant, you won’t have to worry about bringing money as long as you have your debit or credit card with you. Most business establishments accept credit and debit cards and it is also the most convenient way for most people. However, in the short span that the customer service representative or the waiter held your credit or debit card, you are also entrusting your well-earned money and lifelong savings.

Do you remember the time that you purchased a lot of things for your business only to find out that it did not push through because your bank informed you that the check you issued do not have enough funds. Where did the money go? Imagine beating a deadline to deliver an online purchase order and seeing the payment money on your merchant account only to hear from your bank that you have incurred a back charge. This means only one thing, which every business enthusiast dreads – fraud.

Debit cards are much like similar to a credit card. The only difference is, you don’t make any credit when the card is swiped in debit machines. Instead, your payment for the services or merchandise you availed will be processed by your bank – less work, less paper and less fear of being robbed of cold cash at night.

The benefits are very irresistible that almost 90 per cent of household supplies are purchased through this plastic card. Who would not be? You don’t have to worry about the bulky wallet that you used to bring. Today’s generation of electronic payment and e-commerce brings about such privileges, but along with it comes the downside – scams. Scams are what deceitful business schemes are into. They can range from an innocent click of your mouse to say “yes” to an online advertisement, phishing and skimming.

Online scams through advertisements usually manifest in the pop-ads you receive right after confirming an online purchase. Do not think that the ad you are reading is still connected to the business website you just visited and ordered an item from. It is very easy to learn how to link an advertisement to a business website. It’s what unlicensed programmers and website scams do to fill their time. Phishing, on the other hand is a technique that scams use – the most legitimate indication to suspect that you just entered a fraudulent site.

With phishing, you are being psychologically convinced to give personal information like your mother’s maiden name, social security number and bank account number. The site will make it appear like it is still connected to the site you just visited as mentioned above. When you provide information, another box prompt would appear to ask for additional information claiming it is needed to verify your account. It might be too late before you realize that you have allowed someone to rob you while you work hard for your money.

The term phishing was first described in September 2003 as follows: “E-mail fraudsters register dozens of lookalike domain names, such as yahoo-billing.com and ebay-fulfillment.com. They also create Web sites that contain the names of well-known companies and brands like microsoft.checkinfo.com.” (Kebs, B., New York Post: 2004) Another technique that these scam baiters engage is skimming. This is accomplished while you innocently input your pin code to accept and verify a payment for an actual physical purchase.

These people can be the waiter, the cashier at the department store or the camera that is strategically positioned to get an actual picture of the numbers you encoded. It is true that we can never be too careful. Being aware of your surroundings will help prevent this from happening to you. Keeping an alert state of mind while you are making a purchase online or in a local store will also make scammers think twice. They are very observant people and will take from someone who seems to be unaware of his surroundings or is not thinking clearly. As your mom always tell: “You will not get into trouble if you listen.”

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