It’s hardly what would be called a Christmas present, but in some ways, the announcement issued by the FBI (fbi.gov) and the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3 – ic3.gov) is exactly that, a present to consumers. The announcement details the “Top nine fraud attacks impacting ecommerce.”
The release did not explain the scams, but only said:
In ranked order, the top nine fraud attacks identified were:
9) Triangulation Schemes
5) Affiliate Fraud
4) Identity Theft
3) Friendly Fraud
2) Account Takeover
1) Clean Fraud
What exactly do these terms mean? Here’s a short breakdown with links to more details where necessary.
Triangulation Schemes: This scam involves an online auction and three victims that all serve different roles. Victim #1 is someone who’s credit card information has been obtained by the scammer. Victim #2 is an online store such as Amazon.com. Victim #3 is the one who will be impacted the most and will lose his money, the merchandise he purchased, and possibly be investigated for fraud. Learn more on the ebay website.
Phishing: This is the practice of attempting to obtain usernames, passwords, or credit card information. This will often take place when accessing a fake site that requests login information.
Botnets: If you download a file that contains certain malicious software, your computer might become a part of a robot network or “botnet.” The botnet is also referred to as a “zombie army” because it lets a remote user control the resources on your machine.
Re-shipping: A re-shipping scam involves someone who wants to work at home and who will serve as an intermediary for international transactions. Snopes.com has an example of this old scam that’s never really lost it’s popularity.
Affiliate Fraud: This is a scam that involves someone pretending to be a legitimate business, sending emails under the name of a legitimate business, and creating fake websites under common misspellings of popular websites. There are also other types of affiliate fraud and a variety of ways to avoid it. Here’s a list of nine ways to avoid affiliate fraud.
Identity Theft: The practice of stealing identities has been around for ages, but the methods used by criminals have become more sophisticated over time. Many of the scams listed here are really just more refined ways of stealing someone’s identity.
Friendly Fraud: There’s nothing friendly about friendly fraud other than the fact that it’s the consumer who initiates a transaction, then claims fraud and initiates a chargeback. The merchant who took the order will be liable and it’s estimated that friendly fraud costs merchants more than $2.00 for every $1.00 lost in fraudulent transactions.
Account Takeover: Small and medium-sized businesses are susceptible to bank account takeovers that can occur when someone obtains the address and social security number for whoever is in control of the business bank account. The takeovers are usually discovered quickly, but the perpetrator has the ability to conduct transactions on the bank account during this window of opportunity.
Clean Fraud: This term “clean” refers to the ability of identity thieves to obtain more (cleaner) information about consumers and thereby pass manual fraud detection. This is, once again, a method that can be used by thieves once they have stolen an individual’s identity.
Terry Ambrose (terryambrose.com) is a mystery author with an interest in scams and cons. Find his suspense.writer page on Facebook or follow him on Twitter. His debut mystery (available on Amazon.com) features a hot Honolulu con and trouble in paradise almost too hot to handle.