How to Identify Fraud

What is Fraud?

What do we mean when say " fraud " ? Fraud is any activity that relies on deception to realize a gain. More specifically and what we usually talk about is fraud from a criminal perspective which is when someone knowingly misrepresents or deceives a victim(s) in order to get them to take an action which can result in the victim giving up information, money, property, or anything of monetary value.

What do Fraudsters want?

When fraudsters engage a victim they are looking for one of a few things.

​Personal Information:  Information that should only be known to the victim(s). If it fall sin to the wrong hands, the fraudsters can use it to impersonate the victim(s). An example of this might be 

  • Passwords
  • Date of Birth
  • Social Insurance Number ( Social Security Number)
  • Last Digits of a Card Number
  • Information that can be used to identify oneself 

Access to Accounts: Information such as Credit Card Numbers, Bank Accounts, Balances, Passwords, etc., By getting a credit card number and the security code criminals can begin racking up fraudulent charges on your cards and possibly credit.

Pay For Something: Fraudsters will try applying undue pressure, which may get the victim to pay for something they don't need or for a product that is not what they expected, or ways of transferring monies, such as gift cards.

Types of Fraud?

Investment Fraud - Victim(s) are convinced to invest in products, companies, and are deceived into thinking their investment(s) are growing but when the victim(s) tried to get a return on their investment they are unable to.

Romance Fraud - With the growth in the number of online relationships, scammers are building a relationship with the victim(s),  and using that trust to trick the victim into sending money to the fraudster(s).

Merchandise Fraud - Online sellers are using fake ads, reviews, to showcase great deals, then either not delivering or sending counterfeit product(s).

Extortion Fraud - using threats or pressure tactics to have victim(s) disclose personal information or pay a sum of money.

Phishing or Smsphishing - Using deceptive emails, texts, with malicious links and/or attachments to trick victim(s) into disclosing personal or financial information.

Knowledge is important in combating fraud

Fraudsters are innovative and always getting creative in the ways they try to deceive victims. They can rapidly change their  attack and make it specific to each person they engage with. They can also be quite convincing and in some cases very scary by making threats of drastic consequences if you do not comply.

For all of us to be better at recognizing and dealing with fraud we need to know more about it. There is a great need for education and awareness about the risk of an online world and how to be more cautious when navigating it. We also need to learn how to become more cautious and questioning of activity that seems suspicious or uncomfortable.

More Information about fraud and how you can prevent it.

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