Making Fraud Terminology Easier to Understand

October 16, 2012 at 10:08 am Leave a comment

A few of our recent blog posts have taught you ways to avoid various types of fraud – whether it be through your mobile phone, laptop or debit card. We also strive to alert you to any fraud trends via messages within online banking and on our website. Our goal is to make sure that you’re armed with the knowledge and resources you need to protect yourself and avoid becoming a victim of any type of fraud.

However, we’ve also realized that understanding your risk can be confusing when you’re also trying to figure out what fraud terms like smishing and ransomware mean at the same time.

We want to make this simpler. Below is a list of the terms we’ve used in some of our recent blog post and website messages along with easy-to-understand definitions. If you’ve heard of any other terms that you’d like us to define, please let us know and we’ll add them to the list!

Fraud: A deliberate deception or misrepresentation that causes someone else to lose money.

Fraudster: Someone who deliberately misrepresents him/herself for personal gain.

Hacker: Someone who uses the internet to access people’s computers without their permission.

Malware: Created from the words “malicious” and “software,” malware is the category name for any program that has been designed to steal information or cause damage to your computer. Types of malware include viruses, spyware, and adware.

Virus: Small software programs that are designed to spread from one computer to another and interfere with the computer’s operation. Viruses are commonly “caught” when downloading a file or opening an email attachment from someone you don’t know.

Spyware: A type of malicious software that captures your internet browsing habits or personal information that you have stored on your computer – such as passwords, user names, and credit card information.

Adware: A type of malicious software that is designed to show you advertisements on your computer. Besides being annoying, adware can track your internet usage and present you with ads based on your habits.

Ransomware: A type of computer malware that infects a computer, restricts access, and then demands that a ransom be paid to the creator of the malware for the virus to be removed.

Phishing: Email or pop-up messages that try to lure you into providing personal information – such as account information, credit card numbers, passwords, etc.

Smishing: Just like phishing scams, except these are sent via text message. (For more information on smishing, check out our 2010 blog post on this subject!)

Skimming: Illegally copying the information stored on the magnetic stripes of credit or debit cards through use of a “skimmer.” A skimmer is a device that can be illegally added to an ATM to capture card information from unsuspecting users. (For more information on how to protect yourself from skimming, check out #3 on the blog post we ran in July.)

CVC:  The 3- or 4-digit Card Verification Code on the back of your credit or debit card.  This code provides an additional level of protection against fraud as merchants who collect your payment information online or over the phone will ask for it.

Can you think of any other confusing fraud-related terms?

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