What Are the Different Types of Computer Fraud?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2018
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Among the most common types of fraud a person may commit with a computer are identity fraud and identity theft. An individual may also commit computer fraud by manipulating computer software or tampering with computer data. Additionally, some criminals use Internet sales fraud to steal money from their victims.

Identity fraud can be committed with a computer. When a person commits this type of fraud, he pretends to be another person in order to gain his victim’s trust. For example, he may pretend to be a refugee in order to make his victim feel sympathy toward him, with the goal of getting money from his unsuspecting victim. Often, the perpetrator convinces his victim to send money to him in another country. The criminal may assume the identity of someone who does exist or make up a fake identity.


Another type of fraud than may be committed via computer is identity theft. In this crime, a person uses false pretenses to obtain identifying information about his victim as well as sensitive data, such as credit card and bank account numbers. For example, a criminal may trick his victim into entering passwords or credit card numbers into a website or email and then capture this information for his own use. Typically, this is accomplished by making the victim believe he is providing this information to a company he knows and trusts. The criminal then uses the information he has gained for his own benefit, such as by purchasing products with the victim’s credit card.

An individual may also become a victim of Internet sales fraud. With this type of computer fraud, a criminal works to convince his victim to send him money voluntarily in exchange for a product that is never delivered. For example, he may create a website or online auction and offer items for sale. The victim provides payment and expects to receive the items he ordered in return, but he never does. Instead, the criminal becomes impossible to reach and the victim eventually realizes he’s been a victim of fraud.

Sometimes, criminals also manipulate software in order to hack computers. Using malicious software, a criminal can gain access to a wide variety of computer files, including emails and stored bank and credit card account information. In some cases, efforts are made to not only take over computer files, but also to take control of computer processes.


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Post 3

@hamje32 - I believe that credit card scams are the easiest to pull off, because credit card numbers flow so freely in online transactions.

I don’t really get much comfort from an online store site telling me that I have nothing to worry about because they use 64-bit or 128-bit encryption or whatever.

It still makes me a little nervous when I enter my credit card information online, and I try to limit my online shopping for that reason alone.

Do you realize that there are online forums where people buy and sell credit card information? It’s a virtual black market. The good thing about credit cards however is that if you report credit card fraud right away, the bank will usually be on your side and refuse to honor the merchant transaction. You’ll just be given a new card.

Post 2

@MrMoody - Yes, another cyber crime goes by the name of phishing – fake website addresses. I can’t tell you the number of times in the past month that I’ve gotten emails claiming to be from PayPal.

They’ll say something in the subject line like “Your account has been suspended,” or something like that. Then they’ll ask me to click on a link, supposedly to take me to PayPal, but which actually takes me to a fake website that asks for my personal information.

They make the website look like PayPal. If you pay attention, however, you’ll notice that PayPal is not actually in the web address in the browser and that this should be the first tip that something doesn’t smell right.

Post 1

The so-called Nigerian email scam is one of the most popular types of Internet scams – I don’t know anyone who hasn’t gotten one of these emails at one time or another. I used to get about one a week, which went to my spam email folder, but lately the frequency has dropped. I think most people have picked up on the scam.

Basically you get an email from some guy claiming that he has a deceased relative who left him some money, and that he needs to transfer this large sum money to the United States and needs your assistance.

He just needs your bank account information and other personal information to complete the transaction, after which you will get a tidy commission which will amount to thousands of dollars.

The whole thing is a joke on the face of it, but the sad part is that these scams continue because people actually fall for them.

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