It is easy to feel as if you will never be a victim of financial crime and that only gullible people and businesses fall for these schemes. However, this is simply not true. Financial crime news shows how criminals are becoming more and more sophisticated in their methods and taking more and more people in.
From credit card fraud to criminals tricking you into laundering money through check fraud, there are numerous ways you can fall victim to these schemes.
Here is a list of financial crimes and how to protect yourself and wise up to fraud.
The Calling From Your Bank Scam
A reputable bank will never email or call you asking you to send them your personal details such as account number or pin code. A genuine bank will simply ask you to log in to your bank in the normal way either by phone or by online banking.
But criminals have got clever. They know that most people understand this is the case. If someone calls up and asks for your details they know the most likely scenario will be for the person to hang up the phone and try to phone their bank straight away. Criminals can even use caller ID spoofing.
Criminals will now hang onto the line so you haven’t technically hung up the phone but when you pick up the phone they can play a recording of a dial-up tone and pretend to be your bank.
Always wait sometime before phoning your bank to check with them, use a different phone such as a mobile to phone your bank or, if possible, attend the branch in person.
The E-mail Scam
Criminals can also pretend to be your bank or credit card company via email. It is very easy to forge the layout and wording of a normal bank e-mail from your bank. But it is very easy to check whether these emails are genuine or not. Hover over the e-mail name and be sure to read the actual address.
If you are expecting an e-mail from, for instance, American Express then the address should be @amex.com or @aexp.com. If, following the @ symbol, the address is @gmail.com or @yahoo.com then you will know that this is not a genuine e-mail.
You can also contact your bank or credit card through other methods or log in through the app to check your statement.
If you are a business owner don’t forget you can protect your company’s e-mail server from accepting spam as well as a host of other electronic threats by using this website.
The Fake Job Scam
If you have been unemployed for a while or you are looking for a new job it is very easy to get excited over something that might actually be too good to be true.
Be careful when looking for jobs that seem very easy and are work-from-home for upwards of $20 an hour. Always do some research on the company or individual you are applying to. Never be afraid to ask questions and it should raise alarm bells if they don’t interview you.
Don’t Cash That Check
One well-known scam is for a job to be advertised where you will be sent some funds and expected to buy some goods to send onto your employer with the remaining balance left over for your wages.
Usually, the funds will be sent by check in the post. You will then be pressured into purchasing the goods with your own funds whilst you wait several days for the check to clear – though of course it bounces leaving you with a hefty bill.
Alternatively, if you attempt to cash the check you could be implicating yourself in money laundering. The fake job scam could be more about criminals preying on an innocent victim to launder their dirty money for them.
It could be difficult to prove that you weren’t party to their crime and this could lead to a lengthy legal process that involves the police and all of your accounts being frozen. It isn’t worth the risk.
These scams are common as the Federal Trade Commission handles thousands of these fake check scams every year.
Online Auction Fraud
Another type of fraud that is very common is where you are involved in an online auction as a buyer.
You put in a bid expecting to be able to purchase something but the item that you wanted either never surfaces, is inadequate or damaged or does not match the description.
Be sure to protect yourself against this by taking the following steps.
Only Use Reputable Websites
Bigger sites like e-bay or amazon marketplace serve millions of customers every day and are used to dealing with these problems. They will have a set procedure and because they are such a big company they can refund you if necessary whilst they attempt to reclaim funds from the seller.
Who Is Selling Your Goods?
You should be able to find out some basic information about the seller. Where are they based and what is their reputation as a company like?
Are they a big company and are they used to dealing with the types of goods that you have ordered?
Financial Crime Is More Common But You Can Protect Yourself
Financial crime might be on the rise but this is because we use the internet for more and more aspects of our lives. As technology makes our lives easier, criminals try to take advantage.
But by using logic and doing basic checks on the companies that contact you – such as checking e-mail addresses to make sure they are genuine – you can protect yourself against electronic threats.
If you are interested in reading more about how to protect yourself against financial crimes then be sure to read the lifestyle section right here on our website.