Disadvantages of using paper checks
Automation and advancement in the financial world tends to make check payments lose its popularity to other forms of payment such as credit and debit cards because of the conveniences associated with them. Checks are normally time consuming because it takes longer time to write, process and clear compared to a credit or debit card. Taking a quick credit card swipe is much faster than writing a check, which delays for two to three business days before it is cleared into an individual’s account (Schneider, 2011). Checks may therefore not help when dealing with urgent matters that require quick transactions.
According to Schneider (2011), checks may be unsafe because merchants handling checks usually get access to individual account number, names, and other contact information that may make it easy to perpetrate fraud. Moreover, when checks are processed as electronic debits, merchants have access to personal account that may give them chance to make unauthorized deductions. In addition, compared to the debit cards that only require a four digit PIN, checks usually need signatures, which may be easily imitated by a third party.
On the other hand, when an account holder or signatory to the check gets serious accidents that, they cannot sign the checks; it is obvious that the checks cannot work because there may be issues of mismatch in signatures. Not all merchants because of payment delays and possibility of bounced checks may accept checks (Schneider, 2011). Keeping accurate financial record may is very cumbersome and time consuming especially when dealing with cancelled checks because they normally leave paper trails that the account owner must follow in case of fraud or theft. Reconciling the bank statement with the canceled checks is not an easy task.
2. Basic structure of a phishing attack
Schneider (2011) explains that phishing has been rampant in the recent years as expert criminals turn to the huge amount of money involved in the online payment systems. The technique that involves committing fraud against clients of online business is common amongst financial institutions whose customers expect high degree of security. The basic structure of a phishing attack sees an attacker sending e-mail messages to several recipients who may be account holders at the targeted Web site such as PayPal or Skrill. The messages that also include some links that appear as the link to the login Web site, normally informs the recipients that their accounts have been compromised and that they should log in to the account to correct the issue.
Instead, the links attached normally lead the users of the accounts to the phishing attack perpetrator’s Web site that looks almost similar to the targeted Web site. The recipient then ignorantly enters the login name and passwords, which the perpetrator captures immediately and uses in accessing the recipient’s account where they can easily access victim’s account and make purchases or withdraw funds any time they may wish.
In some cases, the email may be designed to target a specific person or an organization, a fraud known as spear phishing that requires considerable research on the intended recipient (Schneider, 2011). This form of exploit normally increases the chances of letting the victim open their email and click the link to the phishing Web site. Such kinds of attacks have targeted employees of some organizations that normally use acronyms and familiar terms or languages thus gaining the victims’ trust hence convincing them to click on the phishing link.
Schneider, G. P. (2011). Electronic commerce. Boston, MA: Course Technology Cengage Learning.