As the world is becoming increasingly digitised and more businesses are turning to online technology to sell their products and services, online fraud is becoming more commonplace. The internet has provided the perfect environment for fraudsters to illegally obtain data, access, and money. What is particularly disturbing about online fraud is that these types of criminals are a threat to both individuals and corporations alike.
Although there are steps people can take to protect themselves and their businesses, cyber criminals will often use advanced technology and software and sophisticated techniques to get past your defences. If this is the case, then you may need a fraud investigator or a security firm to investigate any possible incidences of fraud, either on a corporate or personal basis.
What is online fraud?
Online fraud is defined as making a false representation in order to gain trust, information, or money on the internet. These can be wide-ranging frauds or more private interactions.
The most common online frauds include the following:
- “Official” scams: These scams usually pretend to be from a government agency or authority and try to get personal information such as bank account details. These types of scams will usually say you are due a refund or you have a fine you need to pay. Often with official looking logos and data, sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between a genuine email and a fake one.
- Internet Dating fraud: This type of fraud involves using other people’s images to create fake profiles and identities in order to gain money or sensitive information such as bank details, from dating site users. Fraudsters will often claim to have had an accident or need money for other expenses. Sometimes they will gain enough information to be able to impersonate you and commit identity fraud.
- Shopping fraud: With the rise in popularity of reselling sites such as eBay, there has been a rise in online shopping scams. This is when you purchase an item and the money is taken but is either not delivered, or a different item of less value is sent instead.
- Lottery Scams: You may be contacted by email saying you have won a considerable sum of money in a lottery or prize draw. To collect your “winnings,” the criminals will ask you for bank account details or personal ID or information to steal money or your identity.
- Domain Name Scams: This type of online fraud is often aimed at businesses and organisations by either contacting them to say a domain name that may be useful to them is about to be purchased and convince the company to pay an excessive fee or by sending a business or organisation a fake domain renewal notice email.
- Spam emails: Some spam emails are simply a way to get personal information regarding who you are and where you live. Once a criminal has this information, they can use the data to steal your identity and/or money.
- Corporate Fraud: This type of fraud can range from organised criminals targeting a business online to individuals connected with or employed by the company in question. This means the purpose of the crime also varies, from financial mismanagement and supply chain fraud.
Online Fraud Investigations
With the internet part of the daily lives of billions of people around the world, online fraud is big business, but the vastness of the internet and rise of the dark web means that cases of online fraud often go un-investigated or will result in none of the perpetrators being apprehended. This is where private investigators can help.
Although many people will consider online fraud outside of the remit of a traditional private investigator, a large number of private investigative firms have a varied workload and have successfully adapted their businesses to incorporate the rise in cybercrime. As such, many now offer protection services and investigative solutions to both the general public and businesses.
The employment of skilled teams of personnel drawn from military, police, and corporate backgrounds, combined with the use of innovative technology, allows private investigators to successfully take on jobs such as online fraud and get a successful outcome. This may be for corporate businesses looking for actionable data against an employee or client/supplier or it may be personal and a victim of fraud is looking to bring someone to justice and get some peace of mind.
For any fraud investigation, electronic evidence plays a vital role in getting a successful outcome for both everyday fraud and corporate crime. In order to prosecute or recover any losses, all digital evidence must be uncovered and then handled in the correct manner. Private Investigators are bound by the rules of the Data Protection Act, as enforced by the Information Commissioner’s Office. This ensures that any private information or data gathered by Private Investigators is handled and stored accordingly.
Private investigators will often use the tools and skills at their disposal to help collect court admissible evidence, including:
- Electronic Surveillance of computer activity – This can provide enhanced digital security through the monitoring of employee actions within the network and on individual devices as well as proving cases of fraudulent activity.
- Background Investigations – Using their research skills, they can track down individuals that they have identified as being behind any scams.
- Technological forensics – Under certain circumstances, private investigators can carry out mobile phone and computer forensics to recover deleted information and track digital footprints and IP addresses.
How OpSec Solutions can help
OpSec Solutions balances a team of highly trained personnel, with years of experience in the private investigative sector, with state-of-the art equipment and technology, to help identify fraudsters and criminals, either on a personal or a corporate level. We also understand that preventing fraud is a better solution than investigating after the fact, which is why we take a proactive approach to protect your home network, organisation, information, and assets. Our fraud prevention strategies are hugely successful in preventing cybercrime and data breaches before they happen.
Hiring a private investigator when you have fallen victim of cybercrime or fraud can often be a daunting and embarrassing process. We want our clients to be able to trust us and feel comfortable about how we operate. By using a reputable firm such as OpSec Solutions, you ensure anyone working on your case has the required skills to investigate your issue and they are fully supported by our use of innovative technology solutions. This means we use techniques that will allow us to stay discreet and considerate of you or your business and give us the best chance of finding the perpetrator and bringing them to justice, as well as helping in the recovery of stolen goods and assets.
If you are in need of our help and have been a victim of fraud, or if you suspect fraud within your business enterprise, then please contact us here at OpSec Solutions, we are just a phone call or email away. Contact our team on 0123 456 789 or [email protected] to arrange a free consultation today.
If you have been affected by fraud or want to protect yourself against fraudulent scams, then you may find the links below useful:
- Action Fraud https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/
- Financial Fraud Watch https://takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/
- CIFAS https://www.cifas.org.uk/
- Get Safe Online https://www.getsafeonline.org/