The Skinny on Fraud
Fraud can happen to good people in many bad ways. Identity theft is the most common and prevalent means of being victimized. The effects can be devastating. They include not being able to secure credit, having a hard time paying bills, loss of freedom, and it even causes relationship issues between husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends and believe it or not, friends. It can cause severe cases of stress and is sometimes difficult to deal with by yourself. Most people are aware of the financial consequences but the stress and feelings of being violated are difficult to overcome.
Breaches have been the new normal for at least the last 15 years. When a breach occurs, the attackers typically walk away (figuratively, not literally) with a wide range of sensitive data. The information they steal could include credit card numbers, Social Security Numbers, Driver’s License Numbers, physical addresses, email addresses, usernames, and passwords. Each of these has value on the black market. When combined with other pieces of information into a package, they become even more valuable. This information is routinely used in different types of fraud attacks against consumers. As we’ve mentioned in other posts, financial loss from fraud is recoverable. If you fall victim to a scam, your financial institution will likely not reimburse you or cover the loss. Please take the time to learn how to recognize and protect yourself from scams.
Card data is usually sold off in bulk. Criminals will buy “lots” of cards or “lots” of packages containing multiple pieces of stolen information. Card data might then be used in attempts to steal goods online or traded to other criminals. Another way of stolen card data falling into the wrong hands is through the use of credit card skimmers. These devices are typically installed by thieves on gas station pumps, ATMs, and Point-of-Sale systems. Using similar methods, the thieves try to use the card numbers. They may even use a process to duplicate a physical card to make it easier to use.
Fraud and identity theft is against the law. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the consequences can be devastating if not caught early. Left to go unchecked, fraud can get out of hand and into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. There are certainly known and documented cases of fraudulent identity theft continuing over a multiple year period of time. We’ve even read stories and talked to people that were unknowingly victimized for 10 years.
Remain vigilant and implement good security practices!