As you head into the holiday season, one of the best steps you can take to protect your bank account is to eliminate the use of your debit card. While delivering a keynote speech in Washington DC last week, someone asked me if I could name ten times when you should NOT use a debit card. I replied, “It’s a trick question because the answer is NEVER!” I seriously do feel that way, but I know there are people who either need to or prefer to use a debit card rather than a credit card or cash, so I want you to be informed about how to use it wisely.
Latest "Fraud Detection & Prevention" Posts
The past two blogs have outlined why seniors are targeted, what signs to watch for, and some common schemes. Now for the truly important info: How to prevent elder fraud from happening and what to do if it does happen!
- Report actual or attempted elder fraud (or any type of fraud) via Fraud.org’s Online Complaint Form.
- Change the phone number if a senior is receiving excessive sales calls.
- Change the bank account or credit card numbers if they have fallen into the hands of thieves.
- Avoid getting on sucker lists. Don’t fill out contest entry forms at fairs or malls—they are a common source of “leads” for con artists. Ask companies you do business with not to share your personal information with other marketers.
- Know your “Do-Not-Call” rights. Under federal law, you can tell a telemarketer not to call you again and you can file a complaint on the Do Not Call website.
In our previous blog we talked about why senior citizens have become such a target for con artists and even unscrupulous relatives to commit elder fraud and take their hard-earned money. We also talked about signs that they may be being duped. Today, we want to make you aware of the variety of schemes that are out there. This is by no means a complete list, but will give you a pretty good idea of what to watch for.
- The “Grandparents Scam”: someone phones or e-mails and pretends to be a grandchild in trouble. The elderly person, who may not have much contact with their grandchild, might be convinced and may wire money or send a prepaid debit card to help.
- Offers of “freebies”: the Better Business Bureau of eastern Michigan reports that scammers now are offering seniors $3,000 in “free groceries savings certificates” along with a free medical alert bracelet. The scam may lure people to give away bank account information.
Imagine spending your whole life working hard, saving wisely and spending conscientiously—only to have your comfy “nest egg” taken away by unscrupulous scammers or even your own greedy relatives in your golden years. Sad to say, this is a scenario that is far too common; up to 80% of scam victims are over 65, according to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. A 2009 study by MetLife’s Mature Market Institute estimates that seniors lose approximately $2.6 billion per year to elder fraud, or what they call financial abuse, meaning fraud by outside scammers or theft by family members and acquaintances.
And this issue will take on even more importance in the years to come as the senior population in America grows. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 37.3 million people 65 and older in the United States as of 2006. This group is expected to double in size within the next 25 years. By 2030, almost 1-out-of-5 Americans – some 72 million people- will be 65 years or older.
On October 3, 2013 at 1pm ET, Deluxe and data privacy expert John Sileo will present a FREE Cyber Security Webinar – What You Absolutely, Positively Need to Know.
A 2012 survey by the highly respected Ponemon Institute found that 55% of small businesses had experienced at least one data breach in 2012. At the heart of this massive data loss is lax cyber security: an overly broad term that will no longer intimidate you after this webinar. Technology has evolved so quickly that many businesses and individuals find themselves behind the digital curve and overwhelmed by the prospect of protecting the very data that underlies their wealth. While in this state, decision makers tend to shut down, make excuses and assume that there is no reasonable, inexpensive way to protect themselves and their business. That assumption is not only wrong, it is dangerous.
I finally got around to watching the latest 007 installment, Skyfall, and it appears even James Bond has entered into the world of Cyber Crime as he tries to protect a computer drive with a list of British agents from falling into the wrong hands. And like the proverbial victims in a James Bond flick, you and your business data are under assault, even though it may not always be as obvious as getting thrown off a train. Why? Because your business data is profitable to would-be thieves. And for many of those thieves, that data is easy to get and the theft can be next to impossible to trace.
Sony PlayStation Network, Citigroup, Lockheed and several others have seen more than 100 million customer records breached, costing billions in recovery costs and reputation damage. If it can happen to the big boys, it can happen to you. If you don’t have Bond on your side fighting off the villains, take these steps to take to secure your business data:
Satirical news site The Onion has a reputation for fooling people with its outrageous fake headlines, but earlier this month, it was The Onion’s turn to get tricked. It may not be the Associated Press, but The Onion’s Twitter feed has more than 4 million followers, and that’s undoubtedly part of why the SEA targeted it in another phishing scam that led to that account getting compromised. As it had previously, the SEA used the opportunity to post its own damaging tweets before order was restored (although one questions the wisdom of crafting fake posts for an organization known for being sarcastic anyway).
On its official tech blog, The Onion gave a detailed description of how the hack took place.
Airtight fraud prevention is not possible but just how vulnerable are we if thieves can heist $45 million in a matter of hours?
We recently got a taste of the possible consequences of unchecked hacker prowess following an ATM scam of catastrophic proportions. An international group of thieves managed to walk away with money from the prepaid debit cards of innocent users in countries all over the world.
Though eight of the members involved have been caught and police throughout the world are working to put this right, the sheer technical scope of the attack shows how sophisticated hackers have become.
Some fundamental fraud awareness training can help in your everyday life: the next time someone’s talking about your information, watch their face.
We’ve looked at ways to combat electronic criminals, and while it’s true that cyber security is important, it’s also wise to stay alert when dealing with living, breathing people. There are many everyday situations in which your most personal information might be in the hands of a stranger, whether you’re making a purchase, confronting a possibly fraudulent employee or performing a bank transaction. In her book “Body Language Confidential,” author Traci Brown identifies many basic things you can do to check if someone is trying to scam you right in front of your face.
Let’s start with the face. One key indicator is when a person rubs or scratches their face after being asked a question. This might seem like a fairly obvious giveaway, but you’ll be surprised how often you’ll see this little move in action. According to Brown, this is a physical reaction to lying, which raises the potential scammer’s blood pressure.