SunTrust Fraud and Security Glossary of Terms


Advance Fee Scam

A common type of fraud that requires the victim to pay a small up-front payment to obtain a large sum of money. However, that large sum of money doesn’t exist.



A small text file that a website can place on your computer’s hard drive to collect information about your activities on the site or to allow the site to remember information about you and your activities.


Drive-by Download

Software that installs on your computer without your knowledge when you visit certain websites. To avoid drive-by downloads, make sure to update your operating system and web browser regularly.


EMV Chip Technology

Chip technology is already in wide use around the world and has proven to help reduce fraud by making it more difficult to duplicate the card or make purchases without authorization. When you use your card with chip technology, you may be prompted to enter your Personal Identification Number (PIN) for credit card purchases. This PIN verification process will help protect your identify and ensure that you are in fact the authorized user of the card.



A layer of protection in your computer designed to prevent unauthorized access to or from a private network. Firewalls can be active in hardware, software, or a combination of both.


Purposeful deception in order to secure unfair or unlawful gain.


Identity Theft

The fraudulent acquisition and use of someone else’s personal information, such as a name, address, Social Security number, driver’s license number, bank account number, PIN number, Online Banking password, etc., usually for financial gain.



A combination of the terms “malicious” and “software,” used to describe any software designed to cause damage to a single computer, server, or computer network. Criminals sometimes use malware—programs like viruses and spyware—to get into your computer, and once there, they can steal information, send spam, and commit fraud. Learn to spot the signs of malware and what you can do to reclaim your computer and your electronic information.


Online Profiling

A scam that involves Internet fraudsters who send spam or pop-up messages to lure personal information (credit card numbers, bank account information, Social Security number, passwords, or other sensitive information) from unsuspecting victims.



A scam that involves Internet fraudsters who send spam or pop-up messages to lure personal information (credit card numbers, bank account information, Social Security numbers, passwords, or other sensitive information) from unsuspecting victims.


A form of online fraud that’s much like phishing, where fraudsters (or in this case “pharmers”) use bogus websites to retrieve a person’s confidential information.



An attempt to intentionally mislead someone with the goal of financial gain. Types of scams include deceptive lotteries, fraudulent employment opportunities, high-profit/no-risk offers and more.


This type of scam is similar to phishing, except it uses cell phone text messages to deceive people.

Social Networking Sites

Websites that allow users to build online profile and share information, including personal information, photographs, blog entries, and music clips, and connect with other users, whether to find friends or land a job.


A software program that may be installed on your computer without your consent to monitor your use, send pop-up ads, redirect your computer to certain websites, or record keystrokes, which could lead to identity theft.



Programs that, when installed on your computer, enable unauthorized people to access it and sometimes to send spam from it.



Also known as “voice phishing,” this type of scam happens when fraudsters use the telephone to trick people into giving out their private information.

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