Internet or Email Fraud
Identity theft is not a new crime, but the Internet has made the crime easier to commit and more pervasive in scope. Most Internet or email fraud involves activities known as “phishing” and “spoofing.” Both of these actions are designed to fool Internet users into believing they are visiting legitimate and trusted websites or receiving email messages from trusted sources, when in actuality, the websites and email messages originate with criminals who want to obtain personally identifying information from the victims.
Phishing is the most common type of Internet fraud. In phishing, thieves trick victims into providing their password or other valuable information through very convincing fake emails and website. The thieves may communicate an urgent need to “confirm your identity” by clicking a link in the message, which takes the victim to the fraudulent page.
In email spoofing, message headers appear to come from someone other than the actual source. These fraudulent sites often distribute spam or are created by criminals using this method to trick recipients into revealing personal and/or financial information.
IP spoofing is used to get illicit access to other computer with which the criminal can send messages to another computer that has an IP address indicating that the message comes from a trusted sender.
Link alteration refers to changing the return address on a web page sent to a consumer in order to make that consumer go to the criminal’s site instead of the legitimate site. Altered links often show up in fraudulent emails that instruct the receiver to click a link, allegedly to visit a legitimate website, such as PayPal or eBay, but that actually sends them to fraudulent sites steal passwords and/or personally identifying information.