Adware – Software that serves you ads based on your previous searches. You may experience adware in the form of a pop-up advertisement. Software developers sometimes use adware as a way to make money from free software. Generally, adware differs from spyware in that it notifies the user of its intent.
Antivirus – Software that protects your computer against harmful downloads and viruses. Antivirus software scans your hard drive and removes any viruses that it finds. Some software also looks for abnormal behavior in programs that might signal an infection, called heuristic detection.
Bot – Short for robot, bots are computer programs that perform automated tasks such as scanning for passwords, searching browser history, capturing keystrokes, sending spam, or collecting information about a user’s computer. Bots send this information to a third party across the Internet.
Botnet – A network of computers that have been compromised with malicious software, allowing a hacker to use every computer at his disposal to commit a variety of illegal actions such as online advertising click fraud, distributed denial of service attacks, send spam email, or log keystrokes. Several large, global botnets are known to exist.
Cashier’s Check Fraud – The creation of fake cashier’s checks, often used as payment for online auctions. The fake cashier’s checks initially clear the victim’s bank but the payment is debited after the bank is unable to collect the value of the check.
Dual-Factor Identification Rules – Requirement that banks implement an another type of password in addition to the standard username and password combination. Many banks present a picture that the consumer chooses in addition to their password in order to recognize the bank.
Escrow Scam – A scam that occurs when a thief/scammer convinces the victim to use a phony third-party escrow service to exchange money and merchandise. This is seen often on online auctions or classified listings.
Identity Theft – An umbrella term used for any type of identity fraud. Although, technically refers only to situations when identifying information is taken and used for fraudulent purposes, to distinguish it from credit card or bank fraud.
Medical Identity Theft – Theft involving a victim’s insurance or used to make false claims for medical services. Medical ID theft can result in false entries into a victim’s medical records, sometimes resulting in fatal consequences during hospitalization.
Phishing – Any scam perpetrated over the Internet where a scammer fakes a well-known brand or entity like a bank or internet service provider in order to get users to reveal username and passwords. Often accompanied by a Web page which is designed to look like the organization’s legitimate site.
Spoofing – Mimicking a legitimate email address or Web site for the intent of fraud. Scammers can spoof email addresses, logos, and Web design of legitimate businesses in email scams in order to steal account numbers or identifying information from the business’s customers. Links in official-looking emails send victims to the spoofed Web site.
Spyware – Software installed without the permission of the user to collect data and share it with the parent company. Some spyware programs take control of the user’s computer, reroute the Web browser, change the preferred search engine, or install more spyware programs.
Synthetic Identity Fraud – A type of identity fraud in which thieves literally create new identities by combining real and fake identifying information to establish new accounts with fictional identities. In a typical synthetic identity fraud, a fraudster uses a real Social Security number combined with a name different than the one associated with that number. The combination often doesn’t hit the consumer’s credit report.
Vishing – Voice phishing; often involving a phone call from major company or banking institution attempting to receive sensitive information. Like phishing scams, the message usually sounds urgent and stresses the existence of a problem with the recipient’s account.