used with permission from Norton by Symantec

Online fraud is a type of cybercrime that uses email, web sites, chat rooms or message boards. There are many different types of online fraud, including phishing and pharming scams, which use forged e-mails and Web sites to trick recipients into giving out personal information such as credit card data, social security numbers, and passwords.

When armed with a little technical advice and common sense, you can prevent online fraud. Symantec recommends following these basic steps to avoid becoming a victim of online fraud:


  • Consider disabling file sharing on your computer.
  • Be careful about opening attachments, especially from unknown senders.
  • Familiarize yourself with a Web site’s privacy policy, especially if you are asked to provide confidential and/or personal data.
  • Review bank and credit card statements regularly.
  • Install and regularly update software firewall, antivirus, and anti-spyware solutions. We recommend Norton Internet Security for comprehensive protection.
  • Keep your Windows operating system and all your applications updated with the latest security patches.
  • Create strong passwords and protect them carefully or consider using password protection software. Norton Internet Security encrypts passwords for secure storage, monitors them for unapproved usage, and notifies you when a Web site offers secure login capabilities.
  • Lock your home mailbox.
  • Shred bank and credit card statements and other financial data before disposal.
  • Check your bank and credit card statements monthly.
  • Strong passwords have eight characters or more, and use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.
  • Take advantage of your right to a free annual credit report.
  • If you think you’ve become a victim of ID theft or cybercrime, report it to the proper authorities immediately. Visit the following websites for more information:,,


  • Don’t provide personal data to anyone over the phone or in person (for a job or loan application, for example) unless you are certain of the other party’s trustworthiness.
  • Don’t ever give out your personal information in response to an email, a web site you’ve come to through an external link, or a pop-up screen that appears on a real Web site. Open a new browser window and type the URL directly into the address bar to ensure the site is legitimate.
  • Don’t keep financial data on laptops unless absolutely necessary; laptops are far more likely to be stolen than desktops.