The Latest on Computer Crimes

Wondering about the latest computer crimes you need to beware of? Look no further

No matter how we try... computer crimes keep popping up -- especially the ever-present email scam, also known as phishing. Computer criminals continue to get more and more adept at making their emails look official. Become familiar with the latest Internet-related computer crimes and protect yourself.

By now most people know better than to hand over their life savings in the infamous Nigerian scams-- but what about a message from the IRS demanding your SSN? Here are some common scams that may wind up in your inbox, don't fall victim to these types of identity theft.

1. Banks

A number of computer crimes occur in the names of various banks. Usually they try to convince you that your account has been suspended or needs to be "confirmed" by entering personal information. Common used banks are Citibank, SunTrust Bank, and the U.S. Bank.

2. Couriers

What, you didn't know someone sent you a check for $5,000? And all you have to do to claim it is pay the security deposit of $150? STOP! No courier is going to contact you by email and ask you to pay to receive your package. If you doubt the legitimacy of this or any email, contact the company directly.

3. Online companies

Common vendor names used in this scam are eBay, PayPal, or Facebook. You receive an email that either requests the "confirmation" of personal information or mimics the sign-in page for one of these sites. Once you sign in, the criminal has access to all of your online information.

Pay particular attention to any account activity on eBay or PayPal, and be sure to use the privacy controls to prevent identity theft on social networking websites like Facebook.

4. Taxes

Yup, even the IRS is in on the computer crimes bandwagon. Some savvy crooks have tried to convince their victims that they need to click on a link to claim their refund. Alternatively, they sometimes offer "cash incentives" to complete some sort of "survey." Really, they just want your information.

These emails often look and sound very official. A good rule of thumb, though, is to remember that all of these organizations are very aware of the perils of identity theft, and go to extreme lengths to avoid doing exactly what identity thieves do. Which is to say, they don't ask for personal information over insecure formats.

When in doubt, never, ever give out personal or account information before double and triple checking with the company requesting your information. It's time consuming but far better than becoming a statistic on the ever-growing list of computer crimes.

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