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When encountering an online criminal, what will be some steps to start off with?

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John’s Answer

GREAT Question Maria

Many victims of internet-based scams and fraud attempts don't report it because they're either ashamed of falling for a scam or they think there's so much of it going on that it's pointless to do anything about it. The internet continues to reshape the way we shop, with retail apps and social media stores adding to consumers’ online options. Cybercriminals are keeping pace. Online purchasing was the most common scam type reported to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) in 2019, representing nearly 1 in 4 complaints, and the one that most often led to a financial loss. Here's are a couple ways to notify the proper authorities.

1.) INTERNET CRIME COMPLAINT CENTER – The Internet Crime Complaint Center (ICCC) is a partnership between the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations and the National White Collar Crime Center. The ICCC is a good place to report online extortion, identity theft, hacking, economic espionage, and other major cyber crimes. If it doesn't fall under one of their categories, they may be able to direct you to an agency that does handle it.
2.) BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU – The United Sates Better Business Bureau can help you make complaints against internet-based retailers and other businesses. You can also search their database to see if a merchant has other complaints against them and whether they've been resolved or not.
3.) FBI – The FBI has an online tips form you can use to report potential cases of internet fraud, including data breaches, denial of service attacks, malware, phishing, and ransomware. The site will link you to the appropriate agency that handles crime reporting for each specific type of crime. The FBI and the Secret Service combat internet fraud in its many forms, from hackers that break into secure servers to steal credit card numbers to email spammers who try to trick you into giving up bank account numbers or other identifying information.
4.) EBAY SECURITY CENTER – The eBay Security Center helps report auction-related fraud or scams to the proper authorities. You can tell it if you think your account has been hacked and report receiving a fake email. If you are the victim of property theft, the security center provides a way for law enforcement to find out if someone is trying to auction your stolen merchandise.
5.) CREDIT OR BANK FRAUD – Contact your bank or credit card company. If you've been charged for an item you did not receive, you usually can contact your bank or credit card company and have the amount charged back to the seller. You also might consider asking the credit card company to cancel your card and issue you a new one if you suspect fraud on the part of the seller, so you can make sure your card number is not used for additional fraudulent purposes in the future.

Scammers often pretend to be someone you trust, like a government official, a family member, a charity, or a company you do business with. Don’t send money or give out personal information in response to an unexpected request — whether it comes as a text, a phone call, or an email. Don’t believe your caller ID. Technology makes it easy for scammers to fake caller ID information, so the name and number you see aren’t always real. If someone calls asking for money or personal information, hang up. If you think the caller might be telling the truth, call back to a number you know is genuine.
1.) KEEP YOUR FINANCIAL DATA SEPARATE – For business users in particular, use a dedicated work station to perform all company banking activity. Use other computers to access the Internet and conduct non-banking business. When it’s time to retire the computer that was used to access company banking, be sure to back up all sensitive information and erase the hard drive before recycling it.
2.) KNOW WHO'S ASKING – As a general rule of thumb, banks don’t send emails or text messages that ask for personal information such as account and/or social security numbers. Banks will also not require you to verify account information in this manner. Never share any personal information, especially social security or tax ID numbers, account numbers, or login and password information via email or text.
3.) KEEP YOUR PASSWORDS A SECRET – Do not share passwords and do not leave any documents that contain access to financial data in an unsecured area. Change your passwords regularly for better protection, using a combination of letters, numbers and special characters when possible.
4.) NO PHISHING – Beware of phishing emails. These emails are designed to prompt you to click links provided within the email to verify or change your account in some way. Often, the links included in the email are ways for fraudsters to install malicious software (also called Malware) onto the computer or device you use to access your email. This Malware can be used to obtain personal information.
5.) PROTECT YOUR COMPUTER – With cyber attacks on the rise, it’s more important than ever to install antivirus software on your computer or network. Equally important is ensuring you are regularly running and updating this software to prevent viruses from infecting your computer. Anti-spam software: Helps prevent spam and junk email from entering your inbox, which helps guard against phishing emails.

Clothing and jewelry, furniture and home decor, electronics, cosmetics, health and nutrition, and pets are among the most common categories of products in shopping scams, according to the BBB. Not surprisingly, these frauds flourish during the holiday season. You need not forgo the ease and endless selection of online shopping, but these precautions can help you make sure you get what you pay for.

Hope this was Helpful Maria

Thank you. Maria Y.

Your Welcome Maria, It was my Pleasure. John Frick

Thank You Neil. “Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth who reflect this nation’s compassion, unselfish caring, patience, and just plain loving one another.” – Erma Bombeck John Frick

Thank You Chad. “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” — William Shakespeare John Frick

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Gwendalyn S.’s Answer

Hello Maria!

Great question! This is very relevant since technology is making information quite easily accessible for everyone, perpetrators included.

First off, you want to make sure that you do not provide any of your personal details, e.g. birth dates, complete full name, etc. that can be used to verify your identity as they can find means to use that to impersonate you, apply for loans or credit cards in your name. Second, do not engage in any lengthy conversations with people you suspect are up to no good as they will use that time to do a background check on you and may be able to trace your location as well. Finally, report to the proper authorities as the government does have a specialized team of people who can handle cyber crime more proficiently than any of us civilians. Let the professionals do their work in order to catch these people.

I'm not an expert but I hope that helps.

Thank you. Maria Y.

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Peter’s Answer

I think the "online criminal" take many shapes. are we talking about "monetary gain" like ransom ware, when you have to pay up right away? are we talking about "identity theft" where someone can impersonate you? or "trade secret" where some special formulates or research data can be gained without doing the research work? the tactic against each are slightly different. However, phishing has been the most effective technique, therefore, able to spot and report phishing would be a good step forward. as for others, reduce your exposures (like not download stuff), not falling to social engineering tricks (like giving away your account and other personal info). have a backup plan so if you're cut off (like ransomware), you can still function. As for reporting, the other responses already outline where to what to report.

hope that help