The computer laboratory at the University of Cambridge in the U.K. has developed a project of studies revealing the facts that make victims vulnerable for online frauds. Supposedly, one of the main reasons a person falls a victim to fraud or scam is that victims have been let down in one way or another, i.e. friends, lovers, family, employment, or a general negative or dismal outlook, and the potential victim soon looks for answers and solutions or better things via the internet. The social internet comes as an alternative source in which people believe to be safe. It’s not clear how accurate these findings are. However, the university along with UK private detectives have found evidence indicating some common factor among scam victims.
With some common traits among scam victims, private investigators and university researchers believe this information can be used to make websites safer, and help educate consumers. In short, the following information can be useful in stopping fraud and scams. Knowledge is power, and the following is another tool in the ongoing battle to fight fraud. With the rapid increase in reported fraud cases around the world that involve the internet, education and prevention is becoming essential to being safe online.
Distraction: This one pays an important role mostly in employment scams. People are so focused to fill in forms with personal and professional information that they often forget to check if the form is secure with SSL (lock on your browser) or check to see if the website itself is reputable and safe.
Social Compliance: People are taught not to question authority, so fraudsters pretending to be a police officer or government official can have an upper hand. Ask for references, credentials and documentation supporting the claims to businesses and persons on the internet. Are they verified by any third party, and is there positive information about this person or business when searching Google?
The herd: Where’s the harm if everyone is doing it? The internet is being used by more than 1 billion people every day. Why would you be a victim if everyone tries online dating, social networking, job hunting, shopping and even paying bills on line? That would be really bad luck, wouldn’t it? The risk is real, and there are more and more victims every day. Yes, it can happen to you. Be safe and informed.
Dishonesty: Unbelievable as it might seem, fraudsters make you do things that you will regret later on, like open bank accounts with money they supposedly got from honest sources, or they may ask you to cash checks, may ask you for a loan, or to co-sign some documentation, etc. The scenarios are endless. The bottom line is that you should never sign or do anything, and never provide payment or personal data to anyone via the internet for any person or business who has not been verified. Even if you are surrounded by honest people in the off-line world, be skeptical online, and remember there are liars out there!
Need and Greed: Remember the Bible words about greed? Well, the advice is still valid today. Many victims rushed into a business deal, investment or relationship too greedy. They jumped at the opportunity without conducting some due diligence, background check or verification of the facts. They crossed their fingers and hoped for the best. They had to, because if they didn’t, they might have missed the opportunity. Well, this is a very common scenario among scam victims. Be safe and verify the facts, and then decide. For international investments, business deals, new contracts and new relationships, contact a professional international private investigator for assistance, and request a discreet background check or due diligence.
Experts and researchers agree it’s important to trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, back off and take some time to think things over. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
© 2011 S. Birch