Cyber Stalking, Fraud, and Abuse
In every new frontier, a criminal element is bound to emerge. In times past, the high seas gave rise to pirates, and America’s wild west produced gangs of outlaws. The Internet is no different than any other frontier; it has its share of outlaws. Besides hacking and virus creation, both mentioned in Chapter 1, “Introduction to Computer Security,” there are other dangers. Fraud is one of the most common dangers of the Internet. As more people utilize the Internet as a conduit for commerce, there arises a greater opportunity for fraud. Fraud has been a part of life for as long as civilization has existed; in past centuries “snake oil” salesmen roamed the country selling face cures and elixirs. The Internet makes such fraud even easier. In fact, many experts would consider fraud to be the most prevalent danger on the Internet. There are multiple reasons for the popularity of Internet fraud among con artists. First, committing an Internet fraud does not require the technical expertise that hacking and virus creation require. Second, there are a great number of people engaging in various forms of online commerce, and this large amount of business creates a great many opportunities for fraud.
There are many avenues for fraud on the Internet. In this chapter, we will explore what the various major types of fraud are, what the law says, and what you can do to protect yourself. Fortunately for some readers, this particular chapter is not particularly technical, because most Internet fraud does not rely on in-depth technological expertise. Internet fraud merely uses the computer as a venue for many of the same fraud schemes that have been perpetrated throughout history.