The internet is tremendously useful. It allows you to order your kitchen cabinets or research contact details, see photos of your family, connect with old friends, search for information, and browse catalogs, all without leaving your home. Given how helpful everyone on the internet seems to be, it can sometimes be difficult to remember that some of them are scam artists who want to make you the victims of fraud. Here are some common frauds to watch out for.

Inheritance/Lottery Fraud

With this type of fraud, you will receive an email message from someone who claims to be a lawyer a dying person, a soldier, a lottery corporation, or a government official, with a large amount of money for you. They will either offer to give you a cut of the money if you help them with it or tell you that you need to send them money in order to access your funds. Don't get caught up in daydreams of owning a limousine. Any money you spend is gone forever.

Auction Fraud

There are many sites online that allow you to bid for everything from a vintage action figure to a cottage, but not all sellers on auction sites are actually interested in sending you the item you paid for. They'll take your money and disappear. To prevent this from happening, shop on auction sites that have avenues for complaints and ratings systems for sellers. Only bid on items listed by sellers that you can contact and who have good ratings in past sales.

Credit Card Fraud

Setting up a website is easy, both for fraudsters and real business owners. Before you enter your credit card information into a website, check your browser window for the lock to make sure the transaction is secure. Only buy from trusted websites - you can check them out at the Better Business Bureau online. For an extra layer of security, use a trusted third party payment option such as We Pay or Paypal.

Password Fraud

Passwords are designed to prevent criminals from printing pictures on canvas at your expense, but they only work if you can keep the passwords out of their hands. Many will send authentic looking emails purporting to be from your bank asking you to verify your account information in order to reactivate your account. This is a scam to steal your password. Legitimate banks will never ask you to do this.

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