Internet fraud refers to a white-collar crime that as grown with the advent of the internet technology. For clarity purposes, we take the definition of the United States Department of Justice that defines Internet Fraud as “any fraud committed through the use of computer programs, internet related communication, or website trades ” (Del Armstrong and John Simonson, 2012). The consumer Internet Fraud Watch reports that the number of internet fraud incidences increased from 1152 in 1997 to 7500 in 1998. The United States Security Commission has reported that there are close to 300 cases of internet fraud daily ( Cyscope, 1998). There are several varying types of internet fraud. Fraud cases often overstretch the security apparatus available to handle victims and offenders.
Perhaps the general description of internet fraud can be summarized as a function of social engineering. Social engineering is a process where hackers lampoons non-suspecting victims into giving valuable data that benefit the hacker in some ways while harming the giver of the information. Several of these cases occur through technologically well informed people who may act as imposters. For example, the Nigerian Mafia also called 419 Fraud occurs when the members send emails to unsuspecting victims requesting them to provide financial accounts in aid of some refuges so that the refugee can transfer money to some place. The scammers withdraw money from the provider’s account after accessing the details. Credit card thieves also steal people’s identities such as social security numbers, credit details from online databases and use them for purchases. Some methods also occur from fake business or investment offers that require customers to cash checks and send money via money gram or western union. Usually, the checks are fake and end up bouncing. These are just a few cases; there are so many forms of internet fraud.
There are legal laws put to protect consumers from internet fraud in the United States. Still, the unpredictability of internet fraud inhibits arresting the situation. For example, the California law requires that traders on the net must provide address, the legal name of the business, and the full details of the business online. All transactions done online must comply to these laws. Different states have different laws.
Del Armstrong and John Simonson, "An Intro to Computer Security," School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, University of Rochester, http://www.seas.rochester.edu:8080/CNG/docs/Security/node9.html
Cyberscope, Newsweek, January 12, 1998 at 8 (stating that in 1997, online sales topped $1 billion)