Types of Internet Fraud

Types of Internet Fraud
Last Updated: December 12, 2023

Cybercrime comes in different forms, from malicious software to spoofed websites to phishing scams. To protect yourself from cybersecurity threats, it’s important to know these tricks and tactics so that you can be more proactive and vigilant. In this article, we’ll break down how cybercriminals try to defraud.


Phishing is the act of using email and online messaging services to trick people into sharing personal information, such as passwords and financial data. Cybercriminals pretend to be from a trusted source or institution so you let your guard down.



Smishing is the same as phishing, except the trap is sent through SMS or mobile text messages that dupe you into clicking a link that steals your data. The text could ask you to provide information or make a payment, or it will lead to a malware download.

Data Breach

A data breach is when a hacker gets access to your information and moves it to an unsecure location or leaks it to the public. Data breaches commonly threaten businesses, which is why privacy laws have established stringent rules to prevent them from happening, along with harsh consequences in the event that they do. As an individual, it’s best to only give your data to businesses you know you can trust.

Data Theft

Data theft is similar to data breach, but it’s often done to individuals. Cybercriminals will take advantage of weak passwords, poorly protected software, or compromised downloads, among others, to steal data from your electronics and apps, often to sell them or use them for identity theft.


Malware, or ‘malicious software,’ consists of programs that cybercriminals use to damage or disable devices or steal sensitive data. Suspicious emails or links may hide malware; when opened, these could attack your systems and compromise your data.

Ransomware is another type of malware that blocks users from accessing critical data. Hackers then demand payment in return for giving you back access.

Email Compromise

Email compromise is a sophisticated type of internet fraud that affects the email accounts of individuals, especially those who process payments online. Hackers find their way into legitimate accounts to make unauthorized transactions.

Denial of Service

Denial of service (DoS) involves interrupting traffic to an online service, system, or network. While these are down, hackers take the opportunity to cause malicious intent.

Protecting Yourself From Internet Fraud

Anyone who has an online presence needs to proactively apply cybersecurity measures to stay protected against internet fraud. There are several ways to do this, like learning about best cybersecurity practices, updating your hardware and software, using a VPN, and setting up backup plans. 

For extra protection, you can also get cyber insurance, which can act as a safety net in the case of internet fraud. It’s designed to protect you financially so that you can recuperate any losses in case you fall victim to unusual online incidents.

Cindy Baker
Editorial Team
The editorial team behind is a group of dedicated HR professionals, writers, and industry experts committed to providing valuable insights and knowledge to empower HR practitioners and professionals. With a deep understanding of the ever-evolving HR landscape, our team strives to deliver engaging and informative articles that tackle the latest trends, challenges, and best practices in the field.

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