In the VSECU Blog you'll find financial and lifestyle resources to help empower possibilities for your personal success.
Between information stolen from data breaches and personal details we share on social media, fraudsters can be equipped with a lot of information about who we are. However, they may need to gather additional information not readily available in order to access our personal and financial accounts and perpetrate their schemes. So that we can better protect ourselves, it is important that we understand some of the typical methods fraudsters use to collect this information. This is the first in a series of blog posts on common fraud tactics. In it, we’ll examine a method known as spoofing.
Two of the most lucrative scams for fraudsters involve online banking and wire fraud. In most cases, the two methods provide quick access to victims’ funds. However, there are several signs you can look for that indicate you might be the target of online financial fraud. For both online banking and wire fraud, we’ll cover what fraudsters typically do when they are trying to gain access to your money and how you can protect yourself.
Check fraud is a criminal act in which one person convinces another to exchange real money or property for a bogus check. In many cases, the fraudster creates a sense of excitement and urgency, giving their victims very little time to think rationally. By the time the victim realizes what has happened, they may have lost thousands of dollars (maybe even more), with no way to recoup their losses.
Most of the fraudulent acts we see today are common schemes that have been around for years, but they are more effective now than ever before. Why? Our lifestyle, which keeps us constantly “connected,” has made it easier for fraudsters to perpetrate their schemes. Our smart devices: phones, watches, personal computers, autos, televisions, appliances, security cameras, printers, baby monitors, dog treat dispensers, and smart doorbells (just to name a few) help us feel connected but also make us vulnerable to cybercrime. Anything that is connected to and shares data with the internet is part of what is commonly referred to as the internet of things (IOT). Unfortunately, the IOT is also the future of fraud.
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Elder Financial Abuse is one of the most despicable crimes committed because it targets our senior population and often wipes out the victim’s entire life savings. Fraudsters target the elderly because they know that they will likely get a larger payout for their efforts. The US Census Bureau estimates the number of adults over 65 will represent 20% of the population by 2030, compared to 13% in 2010. According to estimates, elder financial abuse puts billions of dollars into fraudsters’ pockets, so the expected growth in the elder population will likely make elder fraud more and more attractive to fraudsters.
On July 29, 2017, Equifax, one of three large U.S. credit bureaus discovered that it had experienced a data breach. The news went public on September 7, but the breach occurred over a period of time earlier in the year—from mid-May through July. According to the Equifax consumer notice, the breach compromised the credit card numbers of about 209,000 consumers, and dispute documents containing personal identifying information (names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and driver’s license numbers) of about 182,000 consumers. All in all as many as 143 million in the United States could be impacted.
For fraudsters, identity theft is a full time job, so they’re pretty good at it. They have lots of time to develop tactics for getting your personal and financial information, and social engineering has become one of their favorites.
Listen Here: The holidays are over, but that doesn’t mean you should stop protecting yourself from cybercrime. Fraudsters get busy during the holiday season, harvesting information from the credit cards of generous shoppers. After the holidays, they use the data they’ve collected to wreak havoc on their victim’s accounts.