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In honor of International Fraud Awareness week, University of Kentucky Information Technology Services (UK ITS) wants the University community to be aware of different types of internet fraud as well as simple steps anyone can take to protect online accounts. Practicing good cybersecurity habits can help prevent and deter internet fraud.  

Cybercrime refers to any crime that involves the use of a computer or network, such as hacking, cyberstalking, or spreading malware.  

Cyber fraud involves the use of the internet or other electronic communication to facilitate criminal activity. Cyber fraud can involve a wide range of schemes, such as phishing, identity theft, and online shopping fraud. 

Internet fraud is a type of cyber fraud that involves the use of the internet to perpetrate fraudulent schemes like investment and lottery scams. Internet and cyber fraud can lead to significant financial losses, identity theft, and can also damage a victim's credit rating.  

Phishing scams are one of the most common forms of cybercrime. It’s important to recognize phishing emails when you see them. These emails attempt to lure individuals into providing personal information, including usernames, passwords, and credit card details, through fraudulent email, social media messages, or text messages. If you receive a phishing email through your UK account, report it by taking these simple steps.  

One of the most effective ways to protect against internet fraud is to use strong and unique passwords for all online accounts to reduce the risk of unauthorized access. The best way to keep track of your endless list of passwords is to use a password manager.  

Don’t share personal information like your social security number or credit card numbers online. When inputting this information into shopping websites or in health portals, look for https listed in front of the website address. Cyber criminals may also try to gain access to this personal information by using text messages.  

Using multifactor authentication can also lock out potential scammers who may have gained access to your online credentials. By adding MFA to your online accounts, only you can approve attempted logins by inputting a code or by using a fingerprint or facial scan.  

Keeping computer security software up to date also helps to protect users from cybercrime and cyber fraud.  

Being aware of tactics used by cybercriminals and practicing good cybersecurity habits is the key to preventing internet fraud. Incorporating simple measures such as using a password manager, keeping your computer’s software updated, and being vigilant of fraudulent messages are essential in reducing the risk of fraud. Make sure to report suspicious emails or text messages and if cybercriminals do gain access to your information, contact your financial institution immediately.