Ideas to Protect Against Financial Crime

Financial Crime

Financial crimes have always been an issue in the world, but with the growing sophistication of those intent on perpetrating the crimes it can be trickier to avoid them. Although some schemes are not that detailed, just letting down your guard for a minute and sharing with a scammer can bring about misfortune. Sometimes the criminals prey on the elderly so even if you are not prone to be taken advantage of you might share with a friend, or family member some tips on how to be safe.

Scam: One of the more recent scams that trips up people is the contact from someone who says a loved one is arrested, lost all their money, etc. What you are requested to do is to send money to help them get out of their situation. Sometimes this scam comes in the form of an email, and sometimes it comes in the form of a call.

What to do: Everyone should have direct contact information for their loved ones, and be ready to contact them quickly to confirm the situation before providing money. If the person you know is in real trouble it is likely that law enforcement needs to be called to work on the case.

Scam: Another scam hitting people, organizations and  governments is ransomware. The criminal will access your computer and take control of it (thus blocking you from accessing any information), or at least threaten to do that. Their threat can be very realistic if they send you information on a password you used (or are using). It will be real if they lock you out of your device. Since there have been several high profile data breaches it is not out of the realm of possibility they may have your vital information and password.

What to do: Before this happens you should compile a secure backup not residing on your computer with all your important data. Second, regularly change your passwords, and make sure the new passwords are complex plus not easily replicated. If you are facing the possibility of a criminal blocking your access change all the passwords you can on all the sites that you logged into. Although this task can be time consuming it is still a good practice. On some sites it may be wise to delete your account if you are not using it. You should also contact law enforcement and the company you use to help maintain your computer. Keeping legitimate anti-virus software up to date will help prevent criminals from making you a victim.

Other Scams: You owe the IRS money and you must provide information, or be in trouble. You missed jury duty, and you are in trouble. Your computer is having problems, and you must allow Microsoft access over the phone to repair it. You receive an email from someone, and you must click on the link to access more information. All of these are scams that people have fallen for, and the criminals are making money from them so they will continue to use them.

What to do: One way to avoid these scams is to not answer phone calls from numbers you do not know, and definitely do not click on email links (or attachments) from people you are not expecting to receive something from. Even local numbers are being used by scammers so be careful what information you share when answering a phone call.