Millions of Canadians as well as Americans are scammed out of billions of dollars every year. Have you ever lost money in a scam? If not consider yourself lucky, read this article to brush up on your internet security knowledge.

The first topic we’ll cover in our Internet Security Series is Fraud, Tricks, and Scams that one can encounter on the internet.

Just because you receive something in an email or find it online it doesn’t make it valid! It’s amazing how many people in this day and age still fall for online scams. In many cases people are duped in to believing something because of the hope to gain a great prize. Other scams are more intricate and can make you believe that an email came from your bank when it was really someone trying to get your log in details in an attempt to defraud you.

Here’s some of the scams we’ve seen in the past;

Make Belief Charitable Organizations

The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade has compiled a guide to help the public avoid scams and ensure their donations are of maximum value.

The Better Business Bureau recommends the public consult the Canadian Revenue Agency’s list of registered charities and relief organizations.

See the ICIWorld page for charities and aid groups.

Cyber Criminals Hack into 2,500 Companies

WASHINGTON (Feb 19, 2010) – More than 75,000 computer systems at nearly 2,500 companies in the United States and around the world have been hacked in what appears to be one of the largest and most sophisticated attacks by cyber criminals discovered to date, according to a Northern Virginia security firm. You can read the full article here to see the spectrum of intelligence used to pull of such a feat.

Identity Theft

Identity theft has been on the rise along with new technologies and now costs Canadians an estimated $2 billion annually.

More than 1,000 Canadians a month contact PhoneBusters after being victimized by identity theft, and through June 30 of this year 2009, almost 6,700 complained they’d lost about $5.2 million.

Canada has become a haven for credit card fraudsters because of this country’s patchwork of policing and enforcement, says the head of the Canadian Bankers Association.

Phantom Debt Collectors & Telephone Scams

Phantom Debt Collectors from India Harass Americans and Demand Money – Watch on ABC News

Costa Rica Cracks Down on Alleged Telephone Scammers. The raids represented a new front in the effort to cripple the potent phone scams, which were initially organized by Americans and Canadians living in Costa Rica, but have since blossomed into what authorities believe is an extensive crime ring populated by both Westerners and Costa Rican citizens. Last October, ABC News reported on a scam exploiting the good name of the Make-A-Wish Foundation that has siphoned more than $20 million from unsuspecting Americans and tracked down two fugitives who had been hiding in Costa Rica. Read the full article here.

How Can you Protect Yourself?

Established in January of 1993, PhoneBusters is the Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Centre managed on a tripartite basis by the Ontario Provincial Police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Competition Bureau Canada. PhoneBusters plays a key role in educating the public about specific fraudulent telemarketing pitches. Their mandate now also includes facilitating prosecution by United States agencies through extradition, and by the Competition Bureau under the Competition Act.

There are tons of way to protect yourself online and reading all 14 articles our of our Online Security Series is one of them!