Security On Internet


Security On Internet Essay, Research Paper

Internet has become an essential tool for daily tasks. The options people have

nowadays are limitless: banking, shopping, booking reservations, chatting, and

so on. However, several drawbacks have arisen that are of concern to all of the

internet users. Unfortunately, incidents of auction fraud, the sale of illegal

items, and criminal trespassing are booming in the e-commerce market. The nature

of the Internet and the ease of gaining anonymity on it, has made crime easy and

catching criminals much more difficult. Many cases of fraud have occurred:

people who collect payments from buyers and never ship the goods to them.

?Earlier in the summer, for example, former eBay seller Robert Guest pleaded

guilty to mail fraud. Prosecutors had accused Guest of collecting approximately

$37,000 from bidders for items he never shipped.? 1 Cases like these are a

real drawback for e-commerce. The lack of tangibility has been a major obstacle

in doing transactions online and these cases only serve to destroy the little

confidence that consumers have gained so far. Many people are hesitant to shop

online, for example, and when they hear of fraud cases it only serves to confirm

their initial fears. That is why organizations such as The Better Business

Bureau (BBB) and The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are educating consumers to

protect themselves. These agencies know that thousands of consumers are taking

advantage of the opportunity to shop from the comfort of their homes via

personal computers. A person can buy anything and avoid crowded malls, long

lines and busy parking lots. Furthermore, the Internet is always open: 7 days a

week, 24 hours a day. In order to actually benefit from online shopping, certain

things must be taken into consideration. The BBB?s Web site contains a section

that offers tips on ?What You Need to Know About Cybershopping.? 2 The tips

are the following: ? When dealing with a new merchant, ask for its physical

location in order to check its reliability with consumer agencies (i.e. The

BBB). ? Determine the company?s refund and return policy before you place an

order. ? Never give out your Internet password. When creating a password avoid

using established numbers, such as your house number, birth date, telephone

number or Social Security number. If you are asked to create a new account,

never use the same password you use for other accounts. ? Be cautious if you

are asked to provide personal information (i.e. Social Security number or bank

account information). ? Look at the ?address? of the site, the URL ensures

that you are dealing with the right company. It is good to print out a copy of

your order and confirmation number for your records. ? Know your rights. The

same laws that protect you when you shop by phone or mail apply when you shop

online. Under the law, a company must ship your order within the time stated in

its ads. If no time is promised, the company should ship your order within 30

days after receiving it, or give you an ?option notice.? ? If you decide to

pay by credit card or charge card, your transaction will be protected by the

Fair Credit Billing Act. ?Under this law, consumers have the right to dispute

charges under certain circumstances and temporarily withhold payment while the

creditor is investigating them. In the case of unauthorized use of a

consumer?s credit card or charge card, consumers are generally held liable

only for the first $50 in charges.? 3 If you are not comfortable entering your

credit card or charge account number online, call it in to the company?s 800

number or fax it. The FTC also contains a section which offers consumers tips on

online safety. In addition to the ones made by the BBB, The FTC also suggests

that: ? Use a secure browser. This is the software that you use to navigate the

Internet. Your browser should comply with industry security standards, such as

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) or Secure Electronic Transaction (SET). These

standards scramble the purchase information you send over the Internet, ensuring

the security of your transactions. Most computers come with a browser already

installed or you can download one over the Internet for free. ? Before signing

up for any service or buying any product, evaluate how the company is securing

your financial and personal information. Many companies explain their security

procedures on their Web site. Other companies give you options on their Web site

as to whether and how your personal information is used. Trespassing and

unsolicited e-mails Another main concern on the Internet is the trespassing.

Bulk e-mails are flooding our systems everyday. The main problem with these

unsolicited e-mails is that most of the times they are scams. The FTC made a

list that highlights the 12 scams that are most likely to arrive via bulk

e-mail. 1 Business opportunities. These e-mails make it sound very easy to start

a business that will bring lots of income without much work or cash. The scam:

they are usually illegal pyramid schemes. 2 Bulk e-mail. You receive offers to

sell you lists of e-mail addresses for your own bulk solicitations. The problem:

sending bulk e-mails violates the terms of most internet service providers. In

addition, some states have laws regulating the sending of unsolicited e-mail. 3

Chain letters. You?re asked to send a small amount of money to each of 4 or 5

names on a list, replace the names on the list with your own and forward. The

scam: chain letters are almost always illegal and most of the people who you

forward the message to, are not likely to pay. 4 Work-at-home schemes. These are

envelope-stuffing solicitations that promise steady income for minimal labor. In

most of the cases you have to send money for a start-up kit. The problem is that

once you pay the money, you either never hear from them again, or you receive a

kit that is clearly not worth the amount of money that you mailed. 5 Health and

diet scams. These e-mails offer pills that will let you loose weight without

exercise or changing your diet; cures for impotence or hair loss. The scam is

that these gimmicks don?t work. 6 Effortless income. Typically a

?get-rich-quick? scheme that offers unlimited profits. The problem is that

these systems don?t really work. If they did, wouldn?t everybody be rich? 7

Free goods. You are offered valuable goods for free after gaining a certain type

membership that you have to pay for. In reality, the goods aren?t free and in

some of the cases you don?t even receive the goods. 8 Investment opportunity.

You are offered outrageously high returns with no risk. You usually have to send

money and after you do, you never hear from these people again. 9 Cable

?descrambler? kits. For a small amount of money you can buy a kit to

assemble a cable descrambler that supposedly allows you to receive cable TV

transmission without paying any subscription. The scam: it?s not going to work

and you can?t even complain to authorities because you were engaging in

something illegal by trying to steal cable service. 10 Guaranteed loans or

credit, on easy terms. This turns out to be a useless list of lenders who will

turn you down if you don?t meet their qualifications. 11 Credit repair. These

are offers to erase negative information from your credit file. The people who

promote these services usually can?t deliver and they can in fact get you in

trouble with the law because the advice you to lie on loan/credit applications

or to misrepresent your Social Security number. 12 Vacation prize promotions.

Typically you win a fabulous vacation. The truth is that this is an easy way to

collect information form you, for marketing purposes. Also, most of the times

you end up paying for specific dates and upgrading. 4 There are however, ways in

which to eliminate or at least reduce the amount of bulk e-mails that are sent

to you. In most of the cases you can remove yourself from the sender?s mailing

list. In addition there are organizations that are formed with the purpose of

filtering information. One of the most known organizations is TRUSTe. TRUSTe is

an independent, non-profit organization whose mission is to build users? trust

and confidence in the Internet by promoting the use of fair information

practices. OptList is a Web site designed to filter the information that you

receive via e-mail. Its privacy practices have been reviewed for compliance by

TRUSTe. OptList wants to demonstrate its commitment to consumer privacy. By

displaying the TRUSTe trustmark, this web site has agreed to notify Internet

users of: 1. What personal or identifiable information is being collected from

the web user 2. The organization collecting the information. 3. How the

information is used. 4. With whom the information may be shared. 5. What choices

are available to you regarding collection, use and distribution of the

information. 6. The kind of security procedures that are in place to protect the

loss, misuse or alteration of information under OptList, Inc. control. 7. How

you can correct any inaccuracies in the information. 5 The OptList Web site is

committed to filtering the information that you do not want. ?Our mission is

to help reduce the unsolicited e-mail traffic on the Internet. To help consumers

gain control over the flow of unsolicited e-mail into their inboxes. To help

ISPs gain control over the flow of unsolicited e-mail into their mail servers

and to help marketers comply with the preferences of consumers and ISPs.? 6

Companies can really make a difference in addressing consumers needs. There are

many tools available out there in order to protect consumers from Internet scams

and fraudulent deals. The important thing is to be well informed and use common


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