Beware of Online Fraud

The best defense to fraud is to stay informed. To help familiarize you with online fraud, here are some common terms to learn.


Malware is malicious software made to damage your computer and steal information.


Viruses are harmful programs which give fraudsters access to infected devices, with the goal to copy itself to another device so that it can continue to spread.


Spyware monitors your activity and sends the information to what’s commonly called a hacker. Spyware does not infect your computer, but the data captured can be significant, including user names, passwords, credit card numbers and email addresses.

Trojan Horses

As the name implies, Trojan malware conceals itself inside software that seems real, including software for games or videos. The user is tempted to run the software thus infecting the device causing theft or loss of data.

Phishing /SMShing

These can be e-mail or text (SMS) messages that appear to come from a valid company or institution. The goal is to deceive you, so you reply with financial or personal information, or click on links that will load viruses onto your mobile device.

Minimize Your Risk

There are many steps you can take to reduce your risk of online fraud.

  • Download files only from sources you know you can trust.
  • Don’t open unsolicited e-mail files from unknown sources.
  • Beware of ads soliciting you for personal information.
  • Never send your personal information by e-mail.
  • Scan USBs and other external devices for potential viruses and malware.
  • When browsing, check to be sure the sites you visit are security-enabled.
  • Use Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections only from sources you know.
  • Disable Bluetooth when not in use.
  • Never respond to a text message requesting personal information.
  • Set privacy and security settings to appropriate levels to protect your data.
  • Keep your computer and all mobile devices up-to-date with anti-virus software.