Online Fraud Terminology
The methods fraudsters are using to bypass online security are constantly changing – and so is the terminology. If you want to make sure your data and identity are more secure, it might useful to keep up-to-date with what all of this jargon means. Below, we’ve selected some commonly used words and phrases related to online fraud and explained what they mean.
An email-based scam that involves you seemingly being sent genuine looking emails from your bank, tax office, local council, etc. You might be asked to log in and fill out various forms requesting your personal information. This information can then be used to impersonate you online with the aim of committing identity fraud. You can learn more in our article on how to spot a phishing email.
This means ‘malicious software’. It’s designed to gain access to your computer or other devices to introduce a virus into your system – causing disruption to your network’s performance and security. This can happen when you visit an unsafe website, click on untrustworthy links or download an infected file.
A specific type of malware that limits or stops your computer’s screen or files from working unless a ransom is paid. It can also threaten to publish or delete your files if payment isn’t made.
As the name suggests, it’s software sent to spy on your computer to gather information about the way you browse and use the internet. It might search for personal data stored on your computer or track information you enter online. This information can then be sold to third party companies for marketing and sometimes for fraudulent reasons.
This is when a software program records the activity of the computer keyboard as you type. By gathering sensitive information, like passwords and bank details, keylogging can be used to build fake online profiles and carry out transactions without you knowing.
Whenever private information is seen by someone who should not have access, this is known as data exposure. It may also sometimes be referred to as a ‘data leak’ or ‘data breach’. It might happen by accident or be caused by hackers who do it to cause harm to the individual or organisation involved. It can be especially damaging to companies who store the credit card details and personal information of its customers.
A digital currency used to buy goods and services anonymously on the internet. Although bitcoin is a legal and authentic way to make purchases, the fact that it can be used anonymously makes it easier for criminals to buy and sell illegally acquired information and merchandise online. To find out more about what bitcoin is, there is plenty of information online about its regulation in the UK.
This is a sub-level of the internet that normal search engines and everyday browsers cannot access. It’s an encrypted network that contain websites – both legal and illegal – that remain hidden from plain sight. You can learn more about how it works in this dark web infographic.
This is an old confidence scam that involves a stranger, possibly based overseas, gaining your trust and sympathy via some form of correspondence. In the past, this might have been by letter or over the phone, but nowadays it can happen via text messages, emails or social media. After a period of time has passed, the trickster may invent a series of emergencies that require you to send money to them.
This involves shortening URLs to make them seem appealing and more clickable, therefore hiding the true destination of the URL. These links usually take the form of prize wins or friend requests on social media platforms. Although link shortening is a genuine marketing and software tool, by clicking on links you don’t recognise, and from people you don’t know, you could be downloading malware or spyware onto your device.
If you are worried about the security of your personal data, your Equifax Credit Report & Score – which is free for the first 30 days then £7.95 monthly – includes WebDetect, which alerts you if it finds your personal data on websites used by fraudsters.
- How to spot and avoid travel scams
- Infographic: What is a money mule?
- What is money laundering?
- What is a Ponzi scheme?
- How to report identity theft
- How to protect older people from being scammed
- Using contactless mobile payments and apps
- Safeguard your personal data when using smart home assistants
- Safeguarding your family’s personal data on smart toys
- Infographic: Avoiding festival fraud: crime statistics and festival security
- How your identity could be stolen offline
- Protect against ID theft when making mobile payments
- e-book: Staying safe online
- Infographic: Protecting your children online
- Online Fraud Terminology
- What is anonymous browsing?
- Distributed Denial of Service explained
- How secure is your email?
- Identity theft and fraud explained
- Financial fraud explained
- Best practices for avoiding identity theft
- Stay safe online: Creating a secure password
- Scam avoidance: A few ways to help stay secure
- Infographic: Are smart gadgets putting you at risk of identity theft?
- Helping your children stay safe online
- Should you share your location on social media?
- Safeguard your personal information on video game consoles
- Would you do internet banking on your smart TV?
- How fraudsters use Wi-Fi hotspots to steal data
- How to avoid email fraud
- Preventing your child’s identity from being stolen
- Keeping your personal information secure when moving home
- Protect yourself from becoming a victim of SMS phishing
- Protect against identity theft when sharing photos online
- Safeguard your identity on mobile apps
- Your social media profile and identity theft
- What is credit card fraud – can you prevent it from happening to you?
- How fraudsters can hijack your browser
- Safeguard your identity on Facebook and other social media sites
- Going on holiday - keeping your identity safe
- How to prevent smartphone identity theft
- Shopping online – staying safe against identity theft
- How to spot and avoid romance scams
- Facial recognition and identity risk
- Dealing with phishing phone scams
- How cyber attacks happen
- Safer Internet Day – protecting children online
- 7 Signs of Identity Theft
- How to avoid contactless card fraud
- What Are Data Breaches?
- How to Spot a Phishing Email
- ID Fraud Overview
- How Financial Crimes Are Hidden in The Dark Web
- How much do you know about the Dark Web?
- Are you losing your identity?