Dutch Ruppersberger, an American congressman once said “People ask me all the time, ‘what keeps you up at night?’ And I Say, ‘Spicy Mexican food, weapons of mass destruction, and cyber-attacks. Thus, it can be derived that cybercrime is a major problem in society nowadays. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary (1991), cybercrime is the use of a computer to commit criminal activities. Today in the age of advanced information technology, the number of cases for cybercrime is increasing over the years as cybercrime is the criminal activities related to computers.
Federal Trade Commission (2019) had stated in their annual report, in which the number of the total reports took in by the Consumer Sentinel Network by the year 2018 is nearly 3 million, which is an extremely huge number (p.5). Among all those reports, identity theft and online scams are the most abundant cases that happened in the year, which cover nearly 63% of the whole report. (p.4). Hence, it can be derived that identity theft and online scams are fast becoming a serious issue and it can be solved by making sure all online platforms are secure as well as checking the credentials of the online shopping websites.
Identity theft seems to be a serious issue for society nowadays. According to the Federal Trade Commission (2019), the number of cases for identity theft in the year 2018 is 444602, which covers 15% of the total report of the year (p.4). Over the 17 years which is from 2001 to 2018, the number of cases for identity theft reported to the organization had increased from 86250 to 444602 per year (p.9). Identity theft can happen in several forms, such as the use of someone’s personal information to open a social media account or the use of their existing accounts and stealing of credit card or bank information. An imposter can steal one’s information such as social security numbers and credit card numbers in several ways, for instance, through phishing and pharming. (Brody, Mulig, & Kimball, 2007, p.44). Another major cybersecurity issue is online scams.
According to Norton (n. d.), online scams refer to fraud perpetrated by cybercriminals over the web. The most common online scams are “Phishing” and online shopping scams, statistics show that these 2 forms of internet fraud in Australia are among the top 10 scams by the report and top 10 scams by amount loss (Scamwatch, 2019). A classic example of phishing is an email from a Nigerian prince requesting money and he pays back 10x what he borrowed. Online shopping scams generally have scammers impersonating genuine retailers and selling fraudulent items. (Scamwatch, n.d.). This issue is commonly experienced as internet shopping’s popularity increases, the convenience of online shopping comes with the condition customers have unquestioning trust towards the seller which is then exploited.
Preventing identity theft is difficult in the digitalized world of today but by taking some precautions it is possible to minimize the odds of being falling victim to these crimes (Mcwhinney,2017). First of all, use complex passwords for all of the accounts, including a mix of letters plus symbols and numbers to make sure the password is strong and difficult to be hacked (Norton, para.10).
Avoid repeat same passwords on every account that used. Besides, people could be contacting one of the three credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion to place a fraud alert on their credit card report (Investopedia, 2019). A fraud alert lasts from 90 days to 7 years and notifies businesses to take additional precautions to verify your identity when transactions are paid by your credit account (Irby, 2018, para.1). Furthermore, protecting the home computer probably by installing updated antivirus and firewalls so can encrypting and safeguarding personal information, documents and portable devices as well (USA gov,2019, para.12).
People need to take some time to do prior research when meeting someone online or having dealings with some company to ensure the legitimacy of the business. Make sure their biographical data and credentials are true and always stay alert and cautious when receiving messages or emails from them. The public should also check their corporate phone numbers and the email address to confirm the person that being corresponded with is not a scammer (Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, n.d.).
This is the due diligence that should be practiced especially as a potential customer or client. People also ought to confirm the site that we visit is secured. The string of letters ‘HTTPS’ in the URL tells the user that any information that has been entered to the site will be encrypted and protected from interception or eavesdropping by malicious parties. Next, people should verify the details provided on the shopping site. It is quite easy to look up phone numbers by using a reverse phone lookup directory to identify the location of the company and the name of the owner (Malecha.V,2018) Furthermore, customers’ comments and feedback are important as they provide evidence to trust the shopping site. Lastly, promotions given by shopping sites should be authenticated beforehand to avoid being scammed by the scammer.