Marcia L. Dority Baker, assistant director for academic technologies in Information Technology Services (ITS) at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln inform, "Can You Spot the Scam?"
Scams make great stories. Tales of Internet crime or other fraud make up some of Hollywood's most exciting thrillers. While cybercrime blockbusters are fun to watch on the big screen, cybercrime is a serious problem on campuses globally.
How many people do you know who are the victim of a scam (Internet or phone)? According to the FBI, cybercrime is a growing threat that affects individuals and businesses around the world. A recent Washington Post article reported that cybercrime cost the global economy $445 billion in 2014.
What Is a Scam?
A good way to understand what something is is to know how it is defined. This post will use the Wikipedia definition of Internet fraud:
The use of Internet services or software with Internet access to defraud victims or to otherwise take advantage of them; for example, by stealing personal information, which can even lead to identity theft. A very common form of Internet fraud is the distribution of rogue security software. Internet services can be used to present fraudulent solicitations to prospective victims, to conduct fraudulent transactions, or to transmit the proceeds of fraud to financial institutions or to others connected with the scheme.
We need to think of scams, fraud, and cybercrime as synonymous. There are many words to describe this topic but each have at their core the sense of financial deception and all refer to the same concept: to take advantage of someone or — to use an old verb — "to swindle."
Who Is on the Other Side?
Remember the New Yorker cartoon, "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog"? This is one of my favorite cartoons and a perfect example of how a picture is worth a thousand words. While this cartoon came out in 1993, it holds very true today. On the Internet, it is easy for users to hide behind an alias, to share half-truths on a product, or to push a false service to gullible users.
Too Good to Be True
If it sounds too good to be true it probably is!
Our ever-changing technology makes gathering information easier, especially as Internet users readily share personal information online. The challenge to outsmart the bad guys is a struggle for all organizations and individuals. We must stay informed of current trends in cybercrime to educate our campuses (faculty, staff, and students) on best practices for sharing content online and protecting valuable information. The FBI maintains a resource list of common fraud scams including examples of each type of scam and tips for staying safe online. This is not an exhaustive list of scams — as technology evolves, so will fraud.
Source: EDUCAUSE Review