- Andrew Rayner
Cyber Crime: Preventing the Horrific Crimes on the Internet
In today’s society, there are many aspects of crime committed on a regular basis. Civilians take advantage of people using online resources such as a fraudulent website requiring credit card information to get a free monthly trial. Other venues that may contain a potential for cyber crimes are online chatting websites, full of predators or websites requiring a downloadable program that contains a hacking virus. Sadly, there are many cases of cyber crime populating the internet. Acts of cyber crimes are considered violent acts like any other. Every day, citizens are constantly losing money and being victimized due to a variety fraudulent activities. Cyber crime, including fraud, identity theft, stalking, and hacking, is a growing problem which can be prevented by taking the proper precautions.
The biggest case of cyber crimes are cases of fraud. “Online fraud comes in many forms. It ranges from viruses that attack computers with the goal of retrieving personal information, to email schemes that lure victims into wiring money to fraudulent sources” (What is “online fraud”). When browsing the internet, people will stumble upon websites offering a free trial. Some of these websites are real, but many are fake. Real examples can include ones like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime. A fake website, such as one offering too great of a deal often contains attempts of fraud, to gain access to credit card information.
Another way of committing fraud is by sending fake emails to Craigslist advertisers make the victim think that he/she is getting a great deal. This type of fraud has to do with shipping. Criminals respond to Craigslist advertisements pretending to be a company such as PayPal, saying that the money is being held until the victim replies to the email with a valid tracking number. When the victims gives the requested information, the criminal ignores the victim and takes their money.
Protection against offenders requires cautionary steps. “Perpetrators act as hackers who intercept personal information while victims are online, either through website entry or through phony [emails] in which they disguise themselves as legitimate firms attracting victims to do business with them” (Dyke 3). Keeping personal information secure on the internet is vital for any person’s safety. Never give out credit card information online to any company unless the company is verified. One way of checking for authenticity is to see if the websites has a verification certificate. These certificates can’t be given to any website unless it is approved to take vital information. This is a safe way of making sure credit card information is not given to anyone who might steal it. Although they don’t take credit cards, when dealing on Craigslist, never ship anything, for any reason, as this is a scam; instead, the deal should be handled in person. There is no safe way on the internet to ship any item between private parties, so it is best to avoid anyone wanting to work with shipping or money shipments.
Anyone can use a credit card number online without a tangible card. Keeping credit card details safe is important when dealing online. Only give credit card information to a website if that the website is certified to take a card. Almost any credit card will have bank protection when purchasing virtual goods, but it is important to make sure card information is not given to an unknown or untrusted website. Many scam websites will have a fake certification seal to verify that the website is real, the seal should link to a valid certification location.
A form of cyber crime involving personal information is identity theft. When browsing the internet, people often come across ads that supposedly allow the user to win an iPad or other expensive device when completing a survey. This is a scam and is never a valid offer. These surveys require the user to input personal information such as an address, email, phone number, and name. This is a common method to steal identities. People may also come across a practice of identity theft such as Free-Credit-Score websites. These websites will ask for every bit of personal information including a social security number.
A common victim pool is false advertising on Craigslist such as a fake job offer. Social engineers are predators who prey on victims to get personal information resulting in a scam, or even worse, identity theft. Do not deal with anyone on Craigslist when trying to find a friend to chat with. They often are cyber thieves wanting every bit of information to use to their advantage.
To prevent identity theft, never give personal information to any website or any person unless that website can is trusted. Some common websites that are trustable are PayPal, Amazon, Squirll, and verified bank websites. These sites all have approved certifications seals. Normally this is checkable by looking to the left of the URL (Website Address) for a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) installation, which is indicated by a lock icon.
Having stalkers outside of the web is dangerous, but because of advancements in technology, the internet is full of cyber stalkers as well. “A cyberstalker only needs access to a computer and a modem. Due to the enormous amount of personal information available through the internet, a cyberstalker can easily locate private information about a potential victim with a few mouse clicks or key stokes” (Cyberstalking). Many websites on the internet offer instant messaging. A few examples are Omegle, Craigslist, and teen chat rooms. These rooms are normally a hangout for predators. The predators will act as someone they aren’t to try and convince victims to like them, resulting in giving them personal details. Chatting sites are extremely dangerous, and it is imperative that chat rooms are avoided to prevent a perpetrator finding you outside of the internet. Social sites such as Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter are also websites that require caution when using. Creating an account on these websites require no identification possibly resulting in the predator disguising as someone they aren’t such as a relative or friend.
Never give information to anyone online in a chatting program such as Skype or instant messaging system. Putting information online having to do with personal information is never a good idea even if it is Facebook or other websites such as Google+. Cyber stalkers are normally found on chat websites and social media websites. It is important to always exercise caution for protection when speaking to anyone online, no matter the situation because of the dangers. “Cyberstalking is just as frightening and potentially dangerous as a stalker at the victim’s front door” (Cyberstalking 2).
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The biggest form of cyber crime is hacking for malicious reasons or personal gain. “There are some career criminals who steal by electronic means. This small group poses a large problem for society, but it’s not a new one. Thieves are thieves” (Harvey 2). There are thousands of people on the internet trying to hack for gain on a daily basis. This is done through key loggers, Remote Administration Tools (R.A.T.S), and other types of malicious software. These are normally found within an executable file (.exe). These viruses will infect computers and try to steal information such as logins to websites, credit card information in files, or any type of person information. Many kids and some adults fall for this scam on a daily basis.
When trying to find a premium code for a service such as Xbox Live or Spotify, people will come across a multitude of websites that give them instruction to complete a survey to unlock a premium code. These are not real. Do not download anything from a survey. Surveys will ask for permission to download a program to unlock the file which supposedly contains the free premium code for such service. Normally these programs are prone to contain an infected type of file, forcing advertisements and malicious software onto a computer.
The last major type of virus is a phony antivirus program. When attempting to download a program to help fix an infected computer, normally the user results in having more remotely downloaded viruses. Instead of stealing information or logging computers, these viruses are typically used to force people to purchase the antivirus software to make the annoying virus go away. These are also used to lock one’s computer and make him or her pay to have it unlocked. These viruses normally are the worst kind because they are so hard to remove from an infected machine, and scare the unknowing victim.
Trustworthy programs are normally anything from trusted developers, such as Microsoft or Adobe. However, there are plenty of trustworthy ones on the internet. To determine if the websites/programs are trustworthy, check the SSL on the website from which the program is being downloaded, which means it is certified. If ever unsure about a program, websites such as Virus Total can scan the program for infections. These websites scan files for anything malicious. If any sort of malicious viruses are found, it will notify the user before the computer decides to run the file. Most of the time anything having to do with a bot, survey, free cracked program contains a virus. There is no reason to download any program having to do with a free item, which will completely prevent someone from being infected.
These crimes are a few of the dangers on the internet. To provide full safety, never give personal information to dubious-looking website, download programs that are not trustworthy, speak to anybody on the internet unless positive of their identity, and never for any reason, try to get something for free that costs. These things are the most common type of cyber crimes people see on a daily basis. Although the internet is a great source for making money in legal ways, it can also be used for plenty of malicious black market money scams. It is imperative to carefully browse the internet when downloading programs, and talking to people online.
“Cyberstalking.” Marshall University. Marshall University, n.d. Web. 25 Jan. 2014.
Dyke, Van, and Albrecht W. “Identity Theft.” U of NEBRASKA–LINCOLN. U of NEBRASKA–LINCOLN, n.d. Web. 26 Jan. 2014.
Harvey, Brian.”Computer Hacking and Ethics.” Ed. Paul Goodman, P.G. Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences. U of California, Berkeley, n.d. Web. 25 Jan. 2014.
“What is “online fraud”?” National Crime Victim Law Institute. Lewis & Clark, 27 July 2010. Web. 24 Jan. 2014.
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