With the growth of new technology, criminals have found new ways to take advantage of us. It seems like every month there is another scheme your friend and coworkers are warning you about. From emails to Facebook posts, we have never been more susceptible to wire fraud.
So how can you help prevent wire fraud? Well, the first step is understanding how fraud can occur. Once you understand these criminal techniques, you can identify (and prevent) fraud.
According to Guardian Analytics, a California fraud-prevention company, wire fraud schemes include:
- Social engineering
- Vishing and SMSishing
- Email compromise
Now, some of these words sound like a totally different language, so let’s dive in to what they actually mean.
Malware is a program or software that is meant to damage or disable your computer. Short for “malicious software,” it is sometimes referred to as a virus. Malware sends its creators your private information—browsing history, passwords, you name it.
Malware can find its way to your device in different ways. It can be sent through email and even through text messages on your phone. In addition, it can be downloaded from a “fake” website. Criminals duplicate a popular website that you may accidentally click, thinking it’s the page you’re looking for. Clicking anything on that page could allow malware to install itself and take over your computer.
This word for managing society has migrated to the tech world. This method involves criminals taking bits of your identity and masquerading as you. They might use your information (such as birthdates and passcodes) to call customer service agents and other third parties. With your information, they can “confirm” that they are you and then authorize fraudulent activities and wiring.
Pronounced “fishing,” phishing involves emails from seemingly credible entities such as banks, credit card companies, or even the IRS—but actually from scammers. These fake emails link you to the company’s “website” and may ask for financial and/or personal information. While you think you’re entering this information from the safety of an official website, you are actually sending the information to the creator of the fake site. The website might also install malware, giving criminals access to the files and sites you visit on your computer.
Vishing and SMSishing
These are different forms of phishing. Vishing is “phishing through voicemail.” The criminal may call you, posing as a bank worker, IRS worker, or other credible entity. He may ask for revealing information or even just ask you to confirm information. Through this, these scammers can take personal information that can be used for wire fraud. They might ask you to leave a voicemail or they might try to scare you into revealing information by saying it is urgent for you to do so.
SMSishing is “phishing through text.” The text will ask for information in the same way. The scammers may also send links, asking you to click. Needless to say, the links are malicious.
Email compromise is when a criminal gets a hold of your email. He can see important information that you have in any email—and he can also find your password! Email compromise is especially dangerous because many people use the same password for multiple accounts.
At the Law Office of Michael L. Guisti, we have experience with wire fraud cases. Contact our firm today at (888) 478-8999 to set up a consultation at one of our Orange County locations.