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Be careful where you surf online - your bank account depends on it!

Wherever money is being exchanged, it is safe to say that numerous con artists and hustlers are lurking and looking to make an interception.  Thanks to the freedom and anonymous nature of the internet, online banking scams have become more common.  Scam artists have learned to make this crime just as successful in cyberspace as it is in the real world. 

The banking industry was built on public trust long ago, a trust that has been abused with the evolution of the internet.  As technology continues to fall into the wrong hands, many consumers are prepared to take their banking business offline to elude scams and identify theft schemes. 

The popuarlity of banking scams

Banking scams fiercely stormed the web from 1997 - 1999.  Because they've been around for so long, these crimes have become easier to detect.  You should make yourself aware of any online banking site as many of them will be disguised as legitimate institutions.  Over the years, the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) has identified numerous fraudulent banking sites.  They have since created a "consumer protection" section on their web page where consumers are encouraged to report questionable sites.  This site also includes the FDIC "special alert", a list that identifies suspicious banking institutions and allows consumers to compare the names with those found on a database of genuine FDIC-insured banks. 

Though many have caught on, the waters are still plentiful for banking scam artists.  Web surfers have developed a level of convenience in transferring money from their own home.  Getting it all done with the simple click of a mouse makes it much more pleasurable than standing in line at a crowded branch.  Technology even offers an easier way for consumers to apply for loans and credit lines, turning over results much faster than before. 

A good share of internet crooks have found that creating fraudulent sites is an easy way to scam unknowing surfers out of hundreds to thousands of dollars.  After all, most of us will come to embrace a banking site by looking for the usual: a few company logos, a decent amount of text; maybe a photo or two that appeals to your financial senses.  All of this is easily achieved by the creative scam artist working with quality web programming software.  They simply need a consumer to be amused just long enough to lunge out for the bait.  This may occur when you notice an amazing offer on interest rates for certificates of deposits, savings accounts or other financial material.  Intrigued by the offer, many consumers sign up and send a check through the mail or enter their details directly online.  For a scam artist, it is as simple as that.   

Telling signs of a banking scam: 

- Offers of unbelievable rates on loans or savings accounts.  While similar deals may be offered by a legitimate institution, anything out of the ordinary may be cause for worry. 

- A lack of contact information.  If there is no way to contact a particular company through an email address or telephone number, it's a great chance that they are operating a scam.

- No presence of secure certificates.  Any website participating in monetary transactions should be equipped with a digital certificate to prove integrity.  Entering personal or financial details on any site that doesn't is a huge mistake. 

These signs should be more than enough to help you make a more informed decision.  For additional details and tips on banking scams, you can visit the FDIC website: http://www.fdic.com www.fdic.gov

           

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Spyware has many ways of getting onto your computer, such as:

When you download programs - particularly freeware, or peer-to-peer sharing programs.

More covertly, spyware can install itself just by you visiting certain sites, by prompting you to download an application to see the site properly.

ActiveX controls. These pesky spyware makers will prompt you to install themselves while using your Internet browser