New Jersey Fraud Lawyers
Risk of Data Breaches and Internet Fraud for Consumers
Data fraud occurs during a security breach wherein highly confidential data is stolen or abused through hacking or cyber-attacks. Data fraud is a type of cybercrime because it is perpetrated over the Internet. Commonly stolen data include Social Security and credit card numbers, bank information and personal health records. Data breaches can happen anywhere, are quick and silent and usually occur without the victim’s knowledge.
All varieties of private enterprise are common targets for hackers and are therefore required to protect their customer’s personal information including names, credit history and Social Security numbers. Many companies are obligated to alert consumers after any security breach that their personal information may be at risk. In some states, businesses must provide their customers with identity theft mitigation services if their information may have been stolen during a cyber-attack.
Sometimes confidential data is obtained directly from an individual through an Internet scam. Scammers are adept at creating mock websites that mimic legitimate sites in an attempt to gain access to usernames and passwords. Other scammers may send an e-mail directly to a targeted person asking for money or personal information.
Research any Unfamiliar Sellers or Charities
A good rule of thumb is to perform a quick online search for any unfamiliar company or organization before entering personal or credit card information. Illegitimate companies tend to present “limited-time” offers, encouraging users to act immediately. They also tend to send unsolicited e-mails or contest entry forms. A scam may promise easy money, risk-free loans or free credit checks. Legitimate sellers should have Better Business Bureau ratings and feedback from other customers, whereas scammers lack this information.
Watch for Imposters
Hackers and scammers have become increasingly skilled at creating compelling websites that “phish” for information. Web users should be wary of links that lead to websites asking for personal information. If an offer is legitimate, users should be able to contact the company directly to take advantage of it.
Verify before Downloading
Many downloads contain viruses. Users should always check that a file is legitimate before downloading it. Authentic downloads from reputable companies should contain fine print and user agreements.
Use Credit Cards for Payments
Credit cards are preferable to debit cards when purchasing items online because it is easier to dispute any fraudulent charges. Federal law offers certain consumer protections including a maximum liability of $50 for unauthorized purchases. Many credit card companies waive liability completely if a customer reports the fradulent charges as soon as they become aware of them.
Guard Social Security and Credit Card Numbers
Sellers do not need Social Security numbers in order to complete purchases. Web users should only enter Social Security numbers for credit applications from legitimate companies. Check the security encryption levels for websites before entering Social Security numbers or credit card information. Only enter credit card numbers on reputable, secure websites.
Ignore Letters Asking for Money
In a popular e-mail scam, individuals claiming to be foreigners pretend to be experiencing financial hardship and ask for money to be deposited into their bank accounts. These requests are typically accompanied by the promise of a large reward for helping the needy individual. These emails should be reported directly to law enforcement officials then deleted.
New Jersey Consumer Fraud Lawyers Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP are Advocates for Victims of Consumer Fraud
If your identity has been stolen, it could take years for you to clear your name and mitigate any damages to your credit. Our New Jersey consumer fraud lawyers can help speed up the recovery process. If someone accesses your data due to a business’ poor security measures, you may be liable for compensation. If you were the victim of a scam, New Jersey consumer protection lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy, LLP can help you pursue punitive damages. Our team is dedicated to helping fraud victims reclaim control over their lives. Please call us today at 1-732-777-0100 or contact us online to schedule your complimentary case review at our offices in Red Bank, Toms River or Edison, New Jersey.