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Books by H. Thomas Milhorn

Cybercrime: How to Avoid Becoming a Victim


Computers and the Internet can be used almost anywhere. Desktop computers are found in homes, schools, airports, libraries, businesses, and cybercafés. The advent of wireless Internet connection has allowed the use of computers in places not envisioned a few years ago—on a train, on a bus, in a restaurant, or even on a busy street corner. In addition, you can plug your laptop into an outlet in many hotel rooms for a traditional, hardwired Internet connection. And more and more people, including the elderly, are taking the necessary steps to learn how to use computers and the Internet.

     In teaching basic computer courses for adults, the most common question I get asked is “Is using the Internet safe?” The answer is, “well yes and no.” Americans lost more than $336 million to online fraud in 2005, and that doesn’t count all the headaches, lost hours spent trying to restore their computers to normal functioning states after they were disrupted by viruses and other intrusive programs, or the money paid to computer experts to fix the problems. In addition, dealing with viruses, spyware, computer theft, and other computer-related crimes cost U.S. businesses a staggering $67.2 billion a year, according to the FBI. And the criminals are still out are there just waiting to plant a virus that crashes your whole system, install spyware that keeps track of everything you do on the Internet, defraud you out of money, or steal your personal information, including passwords, social security number, bank account number, and credit card number.

     However, there is good news. There are steps you can take to protect yourself and your computer, and they are spelled out in this book. I have made an attempt to lay out each of the chapters in a format consisting of a discussion of the basics of the crime, followed by real-life examples of the particular crime, and then things you can do to avoid becoming a victim of the crime. In addition I have included chapters on the role of organized crime in Internet fraud and Internet hoaxes. Although hoaxes are not crimes as such, some can lead you to damage your own computer if you follow their instructions, and they are a nuisance. In addition, I have included an appendix on where to report various cybercrimes and another appendix on cybercrime terminology.

     To illustrate specific crimes I have used over 200 case reports. I have no personal knowledge of any of these. They are all taken from various sources, both online and from the print media.


Chapter 1. Introduction

Categories of Cybercrime

Target of the Crime




Single or Series of Events

Single Event Cybercrime

Series of Events Cybercrime

Basic Steps to Protect Yourself

Create a Virtual Shield

Beware of Impersonators

Don’t Take the Bait

Stay Away from High-risk Websites

Download with Caution

Keep an Eye on your Children

Additional Steps

Public Computers

Wireless Internet Connection


If You Are a Victim of Cybercrime


Online Fraud

Chapter 2. Auction Fraud

Types of Auction Fraud

Fraud by Seller

Fraud by Buyer

Examples of Auction Fraud

Tips to Protect Yourself


Chapter 3. Business and Job Opportunity Fraud

Business Opportunity Scams


Home Employment Scams

Envelope Stuffing

Assembly Work

Medical Billing

Other Home Employment Scams

Multilevel Marketing Scams

Job Scams

Examples of Job Scams

Overpayment Scams

Fake Check Scams

Advance Fee Scams

Auction Scams

Other Job Scams

Tips to Protect Yourself


Chapter 4. Charity Scams


Types of Charity Scams

Examples of Charity Scams

September 11 Attack

Asian Tsunami

Hurricane Katrina

Tips to Protect Yourself

Chapter 5. Child Pornography

Examples of Child Pornography

Tips to Protect Yourself


Chapter 6. Copyright Violation


Example of Plagiarism

Other Copyrighted Material

Examples of Other Copyrighted Material




Tips to Protect Yourself

Chapter 7. Cramming and Slamming


Examples of Cramming


Examples of Slamming

Tips to Protect Yourself


Chapter 8. Credit Card Fraud

Examples of Credit Card Fraud

Credit Card Cramming

Other Types of Credit Card Fraud

Tips to Protect Yourself


Chapter 9. Credit Repair Scam

Examples of Credit Repair Scams

Tips to Protect Yourself


Chapter 10. Cyberbullying

Tools of Cyberbullies

Examples of Cyberbullying

Tips to Protect Yourself


Chapter 11. Cyberextortion

Examples of Cyberextortion

Credit Card Details



Purchase Drugs

Tips to Protect Yourself

Chapter 12. Cyber-harassment and Cyberstalking


Example of Cyber-harassment


Examples of Cyberstalking

Tips to Protect Yourself

Chapter 13. Cyberhijacking

Examples of Cyberhijacking

Computer Hijacking

Browser Hijacking

Webpage Hijacking

Instant Messaging Hijacking

Modem Hijacking

Tips to Protect Yourself

Chapter 14. Cyber Snake Oil

Examples of Cyber Snake Oil

Dietary Supplements

Home Test Kits


Cosmetic Scams

Treatments and Cures

Other Cyber Snake Oil Scams

Tips to Protect Yourself

Chapter 15. Cyberterrorism

Examples of Cyberterrorism

Tips to Protect Yourself


Chapter 16. Dating, Marriage, and Divorce Scams

Dating Scams

Examples of Dating Scams

Consumer Fraud

Dating Service Fraud

Marriage Scams

Examples of Marriage Scams

Divorce Scams

Example of a Divorce Scam

Tips to Protect Yourself

Chapter 17. Education Scams

Diploma Mills

Examples of Diploma Mills

Scholarship Scams

Example of a Scholarship Scam

Tips to Protect Yourself


Chapter 18. Gambling Fraud

Online Casino Scams

Examples of Online Casino Scams

Bonus Scam

Email Scam

Investment Fraud

Knock-off Websites

Online Sports Betting

Examples of Online Sports Betting

Tips to Protect Yourself

Chapter 19. Hacking

History of Hacking

Examples of Hacking

Tips to Protect Yourself


Chapter 20. Identity Theft


Examples of Phishing


Examples of Vishing


Examples of Pharming

Tips to Protect Yourself


Chapter 21. Immigration Fraud

Examples of Immigration Fraud

Tips to Protect Yourself


Chapter 22. Investment Fraud

Examples of Investment Fraud

Market Manipulation

Pump and Dump

Short Selling

Non-existent Companies and Products



Ponzi Scheme

Tips to Protect Yourself


Chapter 23. Laptop Theft

Examples of Laptop Theft

Tips to Protect Yourself


Chapter 24. Loan and Grant Scams

Loan Scams

Examples of Loan Scams

Grant Scams

Example of a Grant Scam

Tips to Protect Yourself


Chapter 25. Lottery Scams

Examples of Lottery Scams

Tips to Protect Yourself


Chapter 26. Nigerian Fraud


Examples of Nigerian Fraud

Effects on People’s Lives

Email Examples

Tips to Protect Yourself


Chapter 27. Organized Crime

Examples of Organized Crime

Tips to Protect Yourself


Chapter 28. Overpayment Scam

How it works

Examples of Overpayment Scams

Tips to Protect Yourself


Chapter 29. Predatory Behavior

Clues Your Child Might Be in Contact with a Predator

Examples of Predatory Behavior

Tips to Protect Yourself


Chapter 30. Pyramid Schemes and Email Chain Letters

Pyramid Schemes

Examples of Pyramid Schemes

Email Chain Letters

Example of an Email Chain Letter

Tips to Protect Yourself


Chapter 31. Prostitution

Adult Prostitution

Examples of Adult Prostitution

Child Prostitution

Examples of Child Prostitution

Tips to Protect Yourself


Chapter 32. Sales Fraud

Examples of Online Sales Fraud

Buyer’s Clubs

Faked Testimonials

False/Deceptive Advertising

Illegal/Stolen Items

Inflated Shipping and Handling Charges

Magazine Sales

Nonexistent Items

Tips to Protect Yourself


Chapter 33. Spam

Common Spam Scams

How They Get Your Email Address

Examples of Spam

Tips to Protect Yourself


Chapter 34. Travel Scams

Examples of Travel Scams

Free Trip

Advance Fee

Agent Kits

Frequent Flyer Miles

Nonrefundable Ticket


Fake Website

Tips to Protect Yourself


Chapter 35. Viruses, Worms, Trojans, and Spyware

Viruses, Worms, and Trojans





Keystroke Loggers


Unethical Anti-spyware Companies


Indications Your Computer May Be Infected

Tips to Protect Yourself


Chapter 36. Hoaxes

Hoax Categories

Celebrity Hoaxes

Give Away Hoaxes

Hacked History Hoaxes

Humorous Hoaxes

Missing Child Hoaxes

Protest Hoaxes

Scare Hoaxes

Sympathy Hoaxes

Threat Hoaxes

Urban Legend Hoaxes

Virus Hoaxes

How to Recognize Hoaxes


Appendix A. Where to Report Cybercrimes

Federal Agencies

Combined Agencies

Specific Cybercrimes


Appendix B. Cybercrime Glossary

©2006 Tom Milhorn. All rights reserved. / Web design by Toby Milhorn