Among the most common types of fraud a person may commit with a computer are identity fraud and identity theft. An individual may also commit computer fraud by manipulating computer software or tampering with computer data. Additionally, some criminals use Internet sales fraud to steal money from their victims.
Identity fraud can be committed with a computer. When a person commits this type of fraud, he pretends to be another person in order to gain his victim’s trust. For example, he may pretend to be a refugee in order to make his victim feel sympathy toward him, with the goal of getting money from his unsuspecting victim. Often, the perpetrator convinces his victim to send money to him in another country. The criminal may assume the identity of someone who does exist or make up a fake identity.
Another type of fraud than may be committed via computer is identity theft. In this crime, a person uses false pretenses to obtain identifying information about his victim as well as sensitive data, such as credit card and bank account numbers. For example, a criminal may trick his victim into entering passwords or credit card numbers into a website or email and then capture this information for his own use. Typically, this is accomplished by making the victim believe he is providing this information to a company he knows and trusts. The criminal then uses the information he has gained for his own benefit, such as by purchasing products with the victim’s credit card.
An individual may also become a victim of Internet sales fraud. With this type of computer fraud, a criminal works to convince his victim to send him money voluntarily in exchange for a product that is never delivered. For example, he may create a website or online auction and offer items for sale. The victim provides payment and expects to receive the items he ordered in return, but he never does. Instead, the criminal becomes impossible to reach and the victim eventually realizes he’s been a victim of fraud.
Sometimes, criminals also manipulate software in order to hack computers. Using malicious software, a criminal can gain access to a wide variety of computer files, including emails and stored bank and credit card account information. In some cases, efforts are made to not only take over computer files, but also to take control of computer processes.