GREENSBORO, NC – What does a real apple and an apple iPhone have in common? Well, it’s two things hackers, surprisingly, love to steal.

Forter, a fraud index alert website, released a report, showing in 2017, online fraud decreased in the areas of clothing, travel and luxury items. But, online fraud for electronics and food increased.

For electronics, they carry a heavy price tag and are widely popular. Think about the people who can’t wait to get their hands on the latest phone or new Bluetooth thingamajiggy. The electronics market is an active one and many people turn to third-party websites who often sell used and refurbished electronics, sometimes way below the price of major retailers. It’s easier to hack weaker websites and third-party websites if they don’t have proper security protections. It's also easy for fraudsters to sell you an item that is broken or not worth the money you invested. In addition, hackers can get your information and money without you ever receiving a product in return. It’s why online electronic fraud is up 66 percent in 2017.

But, here’s the really interesting thing from the report. Online fraud involving food and beverage increase 117 percent in 2017. It’s not because hackers want to stock their fridge. It’s because hackers and fraudsters go to grocery store websites and test if a stolen debit or credit card works.

Fraudster simply go online, add a couple of food items to the card and then at checkout, enter the stolen information. If it works, fraudsters know they can use the information to make larger purchases elsewhere.

Talk about a bad apple.

Websites and online retailers do what they can to protect customers but hackers and fraudster are smart and figure out ways around security all the time. It becomes important to protect ourselves.

Create strong passwords for any online account. Check your bank and credit card statements often and set up alerts with your bank or credit card issuer so you get notified about transactions immediately. And anytime you shop online, make sure the retailer is reputable.

There is some good news that came from the Forter report. Even though electronic and food online fraud increased, online fraud decreased overall in 2017.