A new playground
The act of fraud, or tricking another person out of their money, has been around for centuries. The difference is that the internet is a relatively recent invention, so it’s a whole new playground for fraudsters. With 99% of 12- to 16-year-olds now online and 69% with a social media profile*, it’s no wonder that parents of teens are concerned.
The good news is that most teenagers are wiser than we realise, and becoming more so with each passing year. However, where there is money there will always be new types of fraud.
To help your teen be a savvy online surfer, you could start by equipping yourself with key information and terminology that you can pass on to your child.
Common frauds and scams
Here is a list of the most common ways criminals obtain our personal details in order to commit online fraud:
Phishing – an email encouraging the receiver to reveal personal details. The email will sound ‘urgent’ and contain a link to a website to input personal details, such as bank details or a password. The email and the website will often look very real. Smishing is the text equivalent of this, while Vishing is done by phone.
Fake news – scammers use fake news to ‘bait’ people into clicking through to a website, where they will earn revenue via ‘click throughs’. However, some fake news may lead to a site with a computer virus to steal personal information.
Hacking – hackers use weaknesses in computer security to hack into personal computer files.
Malware – the most common way that you might be affected by Malware is by using gaming and streaming sites. It’s designed to cause harm to your computer in some way, usually by spreading viruses, causing errors or slowing it down.
Spyware – a specific type of Malware that spies on your online activity with the sole aim of acquiring personal information such as usernames and passwords.
Social media sites – fraudsters harvest personal information posted publicly on these sites or may request access to photos, contacts and personal information via apps or in return for the chance to win prizes.
Prize draws – a notification arrives by email, text or in the post, telling the receiver that they’ve won a prize, and to send a small amount of money, or to provide bank details or prove their identity to claim the ‘prize’. Alternatively, they might be told to ring a number to claim the prize and this will be a premium number.
Rummaging through the rubbish – thieves and fraudsters will look for items containing personal information to use to steal identities.