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Credit Card Fraud
Phone scams are a $20 billion industry in 2022.
If you see a link to a suspicious web site do a google search on it with scam or fraud.
Catfish: Someone who creates a fake online profile to intentionally deceive you.
Drive-by download: The downloading of a virus or malware onto your computer or mobile device when you visit a compromised website — it happens without your clicking on anything at the site.
Ghosting: Theft of the identity of a deceased person to fraudulently open credit accounts, obtain loans or get utility or medical services in the person's name.
Subscribe to the AARP Money Newsletter for more on scams and consumer protection
Hash busters: The random words or sentences contained in spam emails that allow these emails to bypass your spam filters.
Keylogger: A clandestine program that logs sequential strokes on your keyboard and sends them to hackers so they can figure out your log-in credentials.
Malware: Malware is a hybrid of the phrase " malicious software ". Malware is an all encompassing catch-all term to describe any program whose function is at least partially malicious. Spyware and Adware are types of malware. Malware also includes viruses, worms and trojans.
Malvertising: Malicious online advertising that contains malware — software intended to damage or disable computers.
Man-in-the-middle attack: When a fraudster secretly intercepts and possibly alters messages between two parties who believe they are securely communicating with each other.
Microsoft Tech Support: You get a call from a guy with an Indian accent claiming to be from Microsoft Windows Tech support alerting you that they have detected some problems with your computer, someone trying to hack into your email or other problems.
Nigerian Money Offers (419 scams): False promises of riches if consumers pay to transfer money to their bank accounts. 419 refers to the part of the Nigerian criminal code covering this.
Pharming: When hackers use malicious programs to route you to their own websites (often convincing look-alikes of well-known sites), even if you've correctly typed in the address of the site you want to visit.
Phishing (Phishing): The act of trying to trick you, often by email, into providing sensitive personal data or credit card accounts, by a scammer posing as a trusted business or other entity.
A term denoting "spoofed" emails and fraudulent Websites that look like they are legitimate banks (e.g. PayPal, Bank of America), designed to fool recipients into divulging personal financial data such as credit card numbers, account usernames and passwords, social security numbers, etc. By hijacking the trusted brands of well-known banks, online retailers and credit card companies, phishers are able to convince up to 5% of recipients to respond to them.
Ransomware: A malicious program that restricts or disables your computer, hijacks and encrypts files, and then demands a fee to restore your computer's functionality.
Scareware: A program that displays on-screen warnings of nonexistent infections on your computer to trick you into installing malware or buying fake antivirus protection.
Skimming: The capture of information from the magnetic stripe on credit and debit cards by "skimmer" devices that are secretly installed on card-reading systems at gas pumps, ATMs and store checkout counters.
Smishing: Phishing attempts that go to your mobile devices via text message, telling you to call a toll-free number. Named for SMS (short message service) technology.
Spear-phishing: Phishing with personalized email, often appearing to be from someone you know.
Spoofing: Any situation in which a scammer masquerades as a specific person, business or agency, but typically meaning the manipulation of your telephone's caller ID to display a false name or number.
Spyware - Adware: A type of malware installed on your computer or cellphone to track your actions and collect information without your knowledge.
In it's least malicious form spyware is used as a marketing tool by looking at what banner ads you look at or your web surfing habits in order to target you with specific pop-up ads.
At its most destructive and dangerous, spyware can perform real-time tracking and recording from a remote location of all the keyboard presses made on an unsuspecting user's computer - including the recording of private and personal information such as usernames, passwords and bank account details.
Vishing: Short for "voice phishing," the use of recorded phone messages intended to trick you into revealing sensitive information for identity theft.
Whaling: Phishing attempt on a "big fish" target (typically corporate executives or payroll departments) by a scammer who poses as its CEO, a company attorney or a vendor to get payments or sensitive information.
See: Most Common Fraud & Scams