5 Types Of Internet Fraud And How To Avoid Them

Fraud comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes.

In this article I will look at the 5 main types of internet fraud to which you may find yourself exposed.

Is I mentioned above, fraud is an extremely broad term that covers a large range of misdemeanours.

Specifically, internet fraud refers to financial crimes that utilise the internet or associated services, such as email, to succeed.


Internet Fraud

The 5 most common forms of internet fraud are –

  • Stolen credit cards
  • Emails
  • Lotteries
  • Fake auctions
  • Untrustworthy Websites

Stolen Credit Cards

Credit Card fraud across the internet is one of the more common examples of this type of crime.

Some people fall prey to this type of scam because they are careless whilst others are duped by clever phishing schemes.

These quick tips may help you lessen the risk of credit card fraud

  • Do not ever allow the card out of your sight
  • Check your payment receipt every time and make sure the amount is correct
  • Try not to write the pin number anywhere and memorize it well
  • Get the card cancelled if misplaced in any case
  • Be careful while making big transactions
  • Be careful while responding to special offers online


Used as intended, email is a great means of communication that can allow messages to be sent to huge numbers of people at virtually no cost.

Unfortunately, this means that it is also an ideal medium for scam artists.

Be aware of fake and fraudulent emails that attempt to trick you into revealing financial details, or into sending money to fund dubious schemes.

Avoid email scams by –

  • Not trusting emails which appear to be from your bank
  • Not clicking on links in emails which may go somewhere other than expected
  • Not responding to emails that seek your personal information
  • Ignoring emails that try to solicit funding for charities
  • Not being so greedy that you fall for a 419 email


Fake lottery scams will try to persuade you that you’ve won a huge amount of money in an online draw.

Of course, those behind this fraud then try to trick you into revealing your personal information as you try to collect your winnings.

Typically, you can work out that an email is a fake lottery because –

  • You know that you never entered the lottery in question
  • You are being asked to supply personal information
  • The operator of the lottery requires a fee before releasing your ‘winnings’

Fake Auctions

Buying and selling goods through internet auction sites is an extremely popular pastime for some, and a great means of doing business for others.

Unfortunately, scam artists have seen the potential of infiltrating online auction sites.

Internet auction fraud is one of the most common rip-offs on the net today.

You can minimise the risks by –

  • Being clear about where you want your goods shipped to
  • Checking that the auction site itself is established and trustworthy
  • Avoiding new sellers
  • Using trackable means of of payment that offer protection against fraud
  • Being clear about what exactly you are bidding on

Untrustworthy Websites

A slightly newer form of internet fraud is the fake website.

Cyber criminals have begun mimicking established websites and then tricking visitors into interacting with them as if they were the real deal.

You can avoid fake websites by –

  • Typing their address directly into your browser
  • Never entering financial or personal data unless the URL begins with https://

The End

Online fraud is growing at an alarming rate.

There is, however, no need to panic as most can be avoided by simply staying alert and looking for obvious signs, as detailed above.

Stay safe.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


  1. Francis Williams says:

    Our business recently resp0nded to a web page that represented itself as a purchaser of our product.

    The principal of the company represented by the web site ordered our product and directed us to deliver the product to a third entity.

    We delivereed the product to the third entity and billed the principal of the web page.

    The principle of the web page has not paid us. We called the entity we shipped to and found out that they paid the principle of the web page in advance. We subsequently found out that this individual has done this additional times before.

    This seems like fraud to me. How might I proceed.

    • What country are you located in?

      • Francis Williams says:


        • Unfortunately I am not familiar with US law Francis so cannot advise you properly. I would suggest, however, that police involvement may be necessary and you could also find who hosts the web site you refer to – letting them know that they host a site which may potentially be involved in fraud may well get that site kicked.

Speak Your Mind