Internet Related Scams

The Internet is filled with hackers and criminals attempting to gain access to your personal information. Below you will find some common terms associated with Internet Related Scams, and tips to better protect your information online. You will also find a couple links to websites where you can find more information about Internet Related Scams and Online Identity Theft.

If you suspect you have been the victim of an internet related scam resulting in your personal information being compromised, report the incident to your local Police Department immediately.


The following are terms that may occur in internet related scams:

  • Pharming: A scheme that sends you to fake websites where hackers secretly collect personal information and passwords.
  • Trojans: Programs that look useful, but actually cause damage to your computer.
  • Spyware: Malicious code that secretly watches what you do on your computer and sends the information over the internet.
  • Viruses: Self-replicating programs that damage hard drives and affect the normal operation of your computer.
  • Phishing: Fake emails that appear to come from a legitimate source looking to "verify" personal or financial information.


Tips to protect yourself from online threats:

  • Install a firewall on your computer (anti-spyware, anti-virus software).
  • Don't open emails from someone you don't know, download software from a source you don't trust, or enter "free" contests from companies you don't recognize.
    • Don't respond to emails from strangers requesting money
  • Guard your passwords - don't share them over email or instant message, and be sure to change them often.
  • Type in the website address instead of clicking on a link.
  • Look for "https" or a picture of a lock in your browser window before buying anything or opening an account on a website.

Helpful Websites

Websites where you can find more information about internet related scams and online identity theft: