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Most people work hard day in and day out for the ability to relish in the fruits of their labor. However it is unfortunate that some take advantage of those hard workers by soliciting them out of their hard earned money with online fraud scams. Scammers access the oblivious in a plethora of different ways, namely over the phone, through online purchases and email. The risk of being tangled in a scammer’s web is scary, although there are a few ways to ensure that you are not made victim to their illegal activity. Here’s how to safeguard yourself and your loved ones.

 

Register your phone number with the Do Not Call Registry

 

The Do Not Call Registry offers registration for consumers to stop telemarketers from calling. Being added to this list will not ensure that all calls will be eliminated, however they will be limited. A popular scam is where you will receive a phone call from an unknown number stating that someone is threatening to take some legal action against you. If you do not answer the call, they will leave a voice message stating to call them back immediately using the case reference number that they gave you in the message. When you do call back, they will ask for your personal information, including your social security number. Some may say that you can pay a fine over the phone to avoid going to court. This is one of the worst frauds and thousands of unsuspecting people fall victim to it daily. If you receive one of these calls, hang up and report it to the Federal Trade Commission immediately. Never give any personal information out over the phone, unless you are absolutely sure you are speaking with a reputable company.

 

Beware of your online activity

 

Lots of scammers lurk online to take advantage of consumers’ willingness to provide their credit card information for purchases and services. While shopping or paying bills online have become the new norm, it is important that you take the necessary precautions to protect your vital information. When making purchases on a website look for the secured padlock symbol in the browser. If the site is not secured, do not offer your credit card information or anything personal. If you want more information before making purchases online, read the reviews from previous customers to see if where you are shopping is an honorable source.  Information is the new currency.  Protect it.

 

A common scam is one where you will receive an email from your banking stating that you need to update your account information online. Should you click on the link in your email you will be taken to a mock site identical to your bank’s website and asked to enter your personal information. Please be aware that banks will not notify you via email to make any personal changes online. If you receive an email of this sort, please report it to the FTC immediately. Be sure to warn your family and friends of such fraudulent activities and if you have children, be sure to monitor their internet usage and purchases. The more you spread awareness, less people will be subjected to such heinous acts.

 

Being targeted for a scam can be one of the most vulnerable positions to experience. Everyday luxuries such as surfing the web or even picking up the phone have become a playground for scam artists to harp on the general population. It is wise to be aware of scams and to protect your family’s best interest, however do not allow the potential of fraudulent activity keep your from going about your daily routine. Staying alert and aware are the best ways to combat scammers from harnessing your most valuable assets.

online fraud

Be mindful of your operational security (op sec) when you are online – both at home and in public

Photo By Tim Gouw (Stock Snap)

Article by:

 

Charlotte Meier

Homesafetyhub.org

information@homesafetyhub.org

 

 

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159 Comments

  • Anthony Enaby says:

    Check the guide to security freeze protection from Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports.

    One current problem, Litan says, is that payment card data is not encrypted when consumers enter it into terminals at the checkout counter by swiping their credit and debit cards through the unprotected magnetic stripe card reader. So that’s where hackers steal card account numbers and other personal information.

    Home Depot now encrypts that data at the source, but other retailers need to catch up, Litan says.

    Until that happens, consumers should lock down their financial data and personal information, especially in advance of the busy holiday shopping season, when Target was attacked last year.

  • Curtis says:

    Demand a new replacement credit and debit card if yours was compromised. Chase Bank proactively took this step after the Target breach and has already notified customers that a new card is on the way to victims of the Home Depot breach. Don’t wait for your bank to do the same. Initiate the call yourself.

  • Richard says:

    Check your bank account register and credit card activity online to see whether your card was used at Home Depot or at any other place—fill in the blank of tomorrow’s hapless retailer name here—that was recently hacked. Don’t wait for your print statement to come in the mail; check the latest account activity digitally by signing up for online access to your account information or by using a mobile banking app. If that information is available online for only a certain period, for example the previous 90 days, check farther back by looking at your monthly print statements. Also watch out for changes to your debit card PIN.

  • Curtis says:

    Be alert for post-breach phishing attempts. Hackers don’t always get everything they need to break into your accounts, so they will typically send you e-mails or even call on the phone and pose as your bank or card issuer to try to trick you into giving up the missing pieces, including mother’s maiden name, account username and password, date of birth, and Social Security number. Learn to identify “phishing” attempts by following our advice.

  • Jason Awazy says:

    Lock down your credit report with a security freeze, which essentially shuts off access to your credit history by new would-be lenders. If a hacker applies for a loan in your name, the creditor is less likely to approve it if he or she can’t see your credit file. Freezes are typically free for victims of identity theft, which you are if you paid with plastic at Home Depot between April and September of this year.

  • Jason Awazy says:

    Get as many as 18 free credit reports per year so you can regularly monitor them and keep an eye out for fraudulent new accounts. You can get three free credit reports (one from each credit bureau) from annualcreditreport.com and three more in many states that also mandate free annual reports.

    You’re also entitled to a free credit report from each bureau after you file a 90-day fraud alert, which you should do every 90 days if you’ve been a victim of the Home Depot or other data breach or have a good-faith suspicion that you’re about to become a victim of identity fraud.

    As we’ve previously reported, 22.5 percent of consumers who received notice of a security breach, like the one that occurred at Home Depot, subsequently became victims of identity theft, according to a survey of 5,000 consumers by Javelin Strategy and Research, a California consulting firm that has studied this crime for more than 10 years. That’s almost eight times the 2.9 percent ID fraud rate for consumers who hadn’t received a breach notice.

  • Richard says:

    Ask merchants big or small if they’re PCI-DSS compliant. If they don’t know or have not even heard of this most basic of data security measures, pay with a credit card, rather than debit card, because fraud theft from your checking/debit account can set off a cascade of penalty fees for bounced checks.

  • Richard says:

    Don’t waste money on costly identity theft prevention services, which can cost $120 to $300 a year, because you can do most of what they do for little or no cost. If the breached retailer offers free credit monitoring, consider taking it, but beware that it could create a false sense of security and remember not to renew for an annual fee when the free period ends.

  • Service says:

    Change your passwords regularly on your various financial accounts and use strong passwords to thwart hackers and protect yourself online.

  • John says:

    Don’t panic, but take the breach threat seriously, because this problem is now a fact of life until the big payment card brands, banks, and retailers improve the security of the payment processing system.

  • Curtis says:

    “There’s nothing they can do to stop these breaches right now, but there’s plenty they can do in the next year,” Litan said.

  • Shannon says:

    But Litan blames the payment card industry and banks for not providing a more secure payment processing system that employs encryption and tokenization—which generates and transfers a unique code for each payment transaction, instead of the actual account number, expiration date, and account owner’s name, which can be intercepted and counterfeited by hackers for unauthorized charges. Even if a token were captured, it can’t be used again after the original legitimate transaction.

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  • Larry Snuby says:

    Also, those periodic reports are only are only the baseline floor for security, not the cutting edge pinnacle. “These are the bare minimum things you should be doing to protect credit card and any kind of data,” Bob Russo, the PCI Council’s general manager told us last spring. In addition, they are just “a snapshot in time,” said Troy Leach, the PCI’s chief technology officer. “The key is for retailers to follow those practices not just when the assessor comes to town, but every day,” Leach said.

  • MATTHEW says:

    Unfortunately, sophisticated hackers move a lot faster than that to find and exploit security vulnerabilities.

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  • Jimmy live says:

    Merchants who accept payment cards from American Express, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, and Visa are required by the Payment Card Industry Council, which sets minimum security standards for retailers who accept those cards, to assess their data security—but only once a year, with quarterly system scans.

  • Rickey says:

    Meanwhile, as we reported earlier this year, some major hotel chains have been lax in protecting consumers’ data, and on Friday, The New York Times reported that Home Depot was slow to secure its customers’ data, according to unnamed former cybersecurity employees.

  • Viago says:

    In late August, the U.S. Deptartment of Homeland Security and the Secret Service issued an advisory about retail point-of-sale malware infections that have affected an estimated 1,000 businesses. So you can reasonably expect more breach notices to come.

  • auto says:

    “People are getting sick of hearing about it,” Avivah Litan, a financial fraud analyst at Gartner Research, said.

    But now is not the time to tune out.

  • Virgil says:

    Are you suffering from security breach burnout in the wake of the huge hacker attack on Home Depot? The do-it-yourself retailing giant says the data heist that went down from last April through September compromised 56 million payment cards, and it appears to be bigger than last year’s Target breach.

  • Viago says:

    9 steps to protect against credit card fraud now
    Security breaches such as the one at Home Depot aren’t going away anytime soon. It’s time to put your personal information on lockdown.

  • bogdan says:

    Know Who You’re Dealing With

    Unfortunately, the bottom line is that in a situation like what happened recently at Morgan Stanley, where an employee goes rogue, “there’s absolutely nothing that the investor can do to protect him or herself,” Grant says. “To a certain extent you have to trust, and you’re being asked to trust, the entity for safely storing and disposing of your information,” she says. Be aware of that when you’re choosing a firm to work with. Check individuals and firms out using FINRA’s BrokerCheck reports, which include information about past customer complaints or disciplinary actions. And, of course, keep tabs on your account (safely, from your own secure computer) and inform your financial institution right away if you spot a problem.

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  • Viago says:

    Make a Post-Hack Game Plan

    If you do notice unauthorized activity on your account, your first step should be to contact the financial institution, says Charles Rotblut, vice president of the American Association of Individual Investors. Most brokerage firms’ policies say that they will reimburse investors for any losses due to unauthorized activity. Make sure you’re documenting what happened and what you’re doing to respond. You should also report the incident to the major credit reporting bureaus and ask them to place a fraud alert on your file. You’ll have to close your accounts and open new ones, and change your online passwords. You’ll also want to contact the police. “Having a police report on file can help” as you move through the process of filing all these necessary claims, Rotblut says. You can also file reports with the Federal Trade Commission to help it detect identity theft trends and with FINRA to help it spot new types of scams.

  • Canadian says:

    Understand the Risks

    Hacks do happen. In fact, FINRA has even warned brokerage firms that some hackers have been able to wire money out of investors’ accounts just by getting access to their email accounts, and then emailing the firm instructions to wire money to an offshore account. Some firms targeted by that scam did try, and fail, to confirm the instructions by phone–and then wired the money. In general, however, if you use the best security available to you, by creating a unique, strong password (for both your email and financial accounts) and using two-factor authentication, you’ll make your account difficult enough to access that crooks may simply move on to an easier target. “Everything can be hacked,” Kaiser says, but for the most part, “crime is opportunistic.”

  • Tommie says:

    Two-factor authentication is one way to add another layer of security–there are many ways to do this, but the basic idea is to create a second step to the log-on process beyond entering a password, like entering a code that’s texted to your phone, or using your fingerprint to unlock your phone, for example. This type of setup is becoming more and more common, but it’s not yet available everywhere, says Susan Grant, the director of consumer protection at the Consumer Federation of America. If your investment accounts don’t already offer this, asking your brokerage if it can set it up, Grant says.

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  • Johnnie says:

    Those who are willing to commit fraud do not discriminate. It can happen in large or small companies across various industries and geographic locations. Occupational fraud can result in huge financial loss, legal costs, and ruined reputations that can ultimately lead to the downfall of an organization. Having the proper plans in place can significantly reduce fraudulent activities from occurring or cut losses if a fraud already occurred. Making the company policy known to employees is one of the best ways to deter fraudulent behavior. Following through with the policy and enforcing the noted steps and consequences when someone is caught is crucial to preventing fraud. The cost of trying to prevent fraud is less expensive to a business than the cost of the fraud that gets committed.

  • Curtis says:

    Fraud Detection
    In addition to prevention strategies, you should also have detection methods in place and make them visible to the employees. According to Managing the Business Risk of Fraud: A Practical Guide, published by Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), the visibility of these controls acts as one of the best deterrents to fraudulent behavior. It is important to continuously monitor and update your fraud detection strategies to ensure they are effective. Detection plans usually occur during the regularly scheduled business day. These plans take external information into consideration to link with internal data. The results of your fraud detection plans should enhance your prevention controls. It is important to document your fraud detection strategies including the individuals or teams responsible for each task. Once the final fraud detection plan has been finalized, all employees should be made aware of the plan and how it will be implemented. Communicating this to employees is a prevention method in itself. Knowing the company is watching and will take disciplinary action can hinder employees’ plans to commit fraud.

  • agrohimrio says:

    Live the Corporate Culture
    A positive work environment can prevent employee fraud and theft. There should be a clear organizational structure, written policies and procedures and fair employment practices. An open-door policy can also provide a great fraud prevention system as it gives employees open lines of communication with management. Business owners and senior management should lead by example and hold every employee accountable for their actions, regardless of position.

  • Robert Peck says:

    Hire Experts
    Certified Fraud Examiners (CFE), Certified Public Accountants (CPA) and CPAs who are Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) can help you in establishing antifraud policies and procedures. These professionals can provide a wide range of services from complete internal control audits and forensic analysis to general and basic consultations.

  • Robert Peck says:

    Monitor Vacation Balances
    You might be impressed by the employees who haven’t missed a day of work in years. While these may sound like loyal employees, it could be a sign that these employees have something to hide and are worried that someone will detect their fraud if they were out of the office for a period of time. It is also a good idea to rotate employees to various jobs within a company. This may also reveal fraudulent activity as it allows a second employee to review the activities of the first.

  • Johnnienaple says:

    Internal control programs should be monitored and revised on a consistent basis to ensure they are effective and current with technological and other advances. If you do not have an internal control process or fraud prevention program in place, then you should hire a professional with experience in this area. An expert will analyze the company’s policies and procedures, recommend appropriate programs and assist with implementation.

  • Jason Awazy says:

    Documentation is another internal control that can help reduce fraud. Consider the example above; if sales receipts and preparation of the bank deposit are documented in the books, the business owner can look at the documentation daily or weekly to verify that the receipts were deposited into the bank. In addition, make sure all checks, purchase orders and invoices are numbered consecutively. Use “for deposit only” stamps on all incoming checks, require two signatures on checks above a specified dollar amount and avoid using a signature stamp. Also, be alert to new vendors as billing-scheme embezzlers setup and make payments to fictitious vendors, usually mailed to a P.O. Box.

  • Virgil says:

    Implement Internal Controls
    Internal controls are the plans and/or programs implemented to safeguard your company’s assets, ensure the integrity of its accounting records, and deter and detect fraud and theft. Segregation of duties is an important component of internal control that can reduce the risk of fraud from occurring. For example, a retail store has one cash register employee, one salesperson, and one manager. The cash and check register receipts should be tallied by one employee while another prepares the deposit slip and the third brings the deposit to the bank. This can help reveal any discrepancies in the collections.

  • delmetahm says:

    Make Employees Aware/Set Up Reporting System
    Awareness affects all employees. Everyone within the organization should be aware of the fraud risk policy including types of fraud and the consequences associated with them. Those who are planning to commit fraud will know that management is watching and will hopefully be deterred by this. Honest employees who are not tempted to commit fraud will also be made aware of possible signs of fraud or theft. These employees are assets in the fight against fraud. According to the ACFE 2014 Report, most occupational fraud (over 40%) is detected because of a tip. While most tips come from employees of the organization, other important sources of tips are customers, vendors, competitors and acquaintances of the fraudster. Since many employees are hesitant to report incidents to their employers, consider setting up an anonymous reporting system. Employees can report fraudulent activity through a website keeping their identity safe or by using a tip hotline.

  • silke says:

    Know Your Employees
    Fraud perpetrators often display behavioral traits that can indicate the intention to commit fraud. Observing and listening to employees can help you identify potential fraud risk. It is important for management to be involved with their employees and take time to get to know them. Often, an attitude change can clue you in to a risk. This can also reveal internal issues that need to be addressed. For example, if an employee feels a lack of appreciation from the business owner or anger at their boss, this could lead him or her to commit fraud as a way of revenge. Any attitude change should cause you to pay close attention to that employee. This may not only minimize a loss from fraud, but can make the organization a better, more efficient place with happier employees. Listening to employees may also reveal other clues. Consider an employee who has worked for your company for 15 years that is now working 65 hours a week instead of 40 because two co-workers were laid off. A discussion with the employee reveals that in addition to his new, heavier workload, his brother lost his job and his family has moved into the employee’s house. This could be a signal of a potential fraud risk. Very often and unfortunately, it’s the employee you least expect that commits the crime. It is imperative to know your employees and engage them in conversation.

  • Jason Awazy says:

    Corruption fell in the middle and made up less than one-third of cases. Corruption schemes happen when employees use their influence in business transactions for their own benefit while violating their duty to the employer. Examples of corruption are bribery, extortion and conflict of interest.

  • Oswaldo says:

    Fraud Prevention
    It is vital to an organization, large or small, to have a fraud prevention plan in place. The fraud cases studied in the ACFE 2014 Report revealed that the fraudulent activities studied lasted an average of 18 months before being detected. Imagine the type of loss your company could suffer with an employee committing fraud for a year and a half. Luckily, there are ways you can minimize fraud occurrences by implementing different procedures and controls.

  • David says:

    Financial statement fraud comprised less than five percent of cases but caused the most median loss. These are schemes that involve omitting or intentionally misstating information in the company’s financial reports. This can be in the form of fictitious revenues, hidden liabilities or inflated assets.

  • Billiejep says:

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  • Jason Awazy says:

    Types of Fraud
    Fraud comes in many forms but can be broken down into three categories: asset misappropriation, corruption and financial statement fraud. Asset misappropriation, although least costly, made up 90% of all fraud cases studied. These are schemes in which an employee steals or exploits its organization’s resources. Examples of asset misappropriation are stealing cash before or after it’s been recorded, making a fictitious expense reimbursement claim and/or stealing non-cash assets of the organization.

  • okutabi says:

    Employee fraud is a significant problem faced by organizations of all types, sizes, locations and industries. While we would all like to believe our employees are loyal and working for the benefit of the organization (and most of them probably are), there are still many reasons why your employees may commit fraud and several ways in which they might do it. According to the 2014 Report to the Nation on Occupational Fraud and Abuse (copyright 2014 by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, Inc.), research shows that the typical organization loses 5% of its annual revenue each year due to employee fraud. Prevention and detection are crucial to reducing this loss. Every organization should have a plan in place as preventing fraud is much easier than recovering your losses after a fraud has been committed.

  • giypex says:

    Fraud Will Likely Happen To You

    At some point, you will likely be the victim of fraud. Your first goal should be to minimize the risk of it happening. Your second goal should be to know about it as soon as it happens. And then you need to call the bank right away and report it. I have experienced fraud a number of times. But I found out about it right away, disputed it and never lost any of my own money.

  • oza says:

    Consider A Credit Card For Your Everyday Purchases

    Credit cards can be dangerous. For too many people, a credit card serves as a source of temptation to spend more money and get into debt. But, if you have the self-discipline to manage your credit card responsibly, it can be a wonderful tool. I put all of my monthly purchases on a credit card. That way I can keep very little money in my checking account. When I am paid each month, I pay for my home, my utilities and my single credit card bill. I then transfer the rest to a savings account, leaving a small buffer. Even better, I know that if fraud does happen, my own cash is not at risk. Instead, I dispute a credit limit rather than having to wait to get my cash re-deposited after an investigation. Although banks are generally good about putting cash back into someone’s checking account during a dispute, it does not always work perfectly.

  • kus says:

    Sign Up For 2-Factor Authentication

    Many banks give you the opportunity to sign up for 2-factor authentication. That means that a username and password is not sufficient for signing into your account. Instead, you need to have a text message sent to your phone, or an email sent to your account. You are usually given a number of options for setting up this higher level of security. I turn on the higher level of security wherever it is offered. But at a minimum I would set it up for adding a new payee for online bill-paying. I have seen too many people have their online banking credentials hacked. The fraudster could then login to your bank account and send money to a new payee.

  • ulta says:

    I keep very little money in my checking account. Every month, I sweep money from my checking account to an online savings account that has no ATM card associated with it. Not only do I earn a much higher interest rate, but also I reduce the chance of theft. I have a setting on my savings account that any withdrawal will result in a notification.

  • low says:

    Keep As Little Cash As Possible In Your Checking Account

    The more opportunities there are to access an account, the greater the chance for a fraudster to steal money. Checking accounts have more ways than any other type of account. You can remove funds by using your ATM card. You can use that same card like a credit card, making a purchase with a signature. Checks can be written. Automatic debits can be taken out of your account, if someone knows your routing number and account number, which is written on your checks. People can hack your online banking account and order a bill-pay. Every one of those transactions has a process that a fraudster is studying, and trying to break.

  • igu says:

    Set Up Daily Alerts With Your Bank

    Most banks give you the opportunity to set up alerts. I opt for text message alerts, because it gets my attention. I have set up the alerts so that any transaction greater than $0.01 using my ATM card results in a text message being sent to my phone. I will know right away if I have been compromised.

  • eke says:

    When you input your pin code, make sure you use your hand to cover the number pad. That way, any camera would not be able to obtain your code.

  • oren says:

    Only Use A Bank ATM And Cover Your Pin Code

    ATM machines away from the bright lights and cameras of a bank branch are at a much higher risk for fraud. Whenever I need to get cash, I use a bank branch ATM. And I only do it during regular business hours, so that I avoid having to use the devices that open doors after business hours.

  • id says:

    Here are the five things I do to reduce my risk of fraud.

  • uv says:

    I used to run large fraud departments at banks earlier in my career. As a result, I have always been very paranoid about protecting myself. And I view the checking account as the most important account to protect, because it is your cash.

  • ak47 says:

    there has been an increasing risk even at bank branches. I have spoken with a number of fraud managers at large banks, and they have told me that while the ATM machines inside of a branch lobby are well protected, one vulnerability has been increasingly exploited. When you visit an ATM out of office hours, you often have to put your card into a reader to unlock the door. This device has become vulnerable to specially designed skimming devices. And while fraudsters likely will not have your pin code, they can use the credit card functionality of the ATM card to make other purchases.

  • ate says:

    ATMs in America remain vulnerable. When a consumer takes out cash, they need their ATM card and a pin code. The ATM card does not have chip-and-pin protection. Instead, all of the information is stored on the magnetic stripe, which is a very old technology. And most fraudsters are still using an old technique called skimming. With this technique, fraudsters attach a device on the ATM that can be very difficult to detect. When you input your ATM card, the attached device will skim the data from the magnetic stripe. Typically, a camera will also be added to the ATM machine, so that the fraudster can record your pin code. With this information, a new debit card can be created using the information skimmed from the magnetic stripe. Combined with the pin code, the manufactured card can be used to withdraw cash from ATMs. It is much easier to attach skimming devices at ATMs located in convenience stores than at bank locations, which is why ATMs away from bank branches are most vulnerable.

  • axe says:

    This week, FICO reported that debit card fraud has hit a 20 year high. Fraud at ATMs located in bank branches increased 174% from January 1 to April 9, compared with the same period last year. And ATM machines located away from bank premises experienced an incredible 317% increase.

  • fog says:

    In summary, as a safeguard against fraud, an organization should design, implement, communicate and monitor its internal control system to determine that the system is functioning as designed. An organization’s internal control system should be thought of as a living breathing document. To be effective, it needs to change with an organization, whether it be due to a change in key personnel, billing system or a merger. The Board should monitor the organization’s internal control procedures and assessments. To assist with its monitoring function, an organization may want to engage a third party to perform a fraud prevention assessment. This assessment includes an assessment of the entity’s information technology/general computer program controls and is designed to highlight possible weaknesses in the internal control structure

  • aha says:

    Is your organization’s technology environment secure or is it vulnerable to a breach? The internal control environment should also consider and address cybersecurity risks. A cyberattack can impact the organization, its employees and the clients that are being served. Identity theft is a legitimate threat that should be assessed and addressed. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has adopted privacy laws to protect personal information and an organization’s control environment should incorporate the provisions of the privacy laws. A regularly scheduled risk assessment by a qualified IT professional may help to reduce the organization’s exposure to risk in this area.

  • cuhi says:

    Don’t let the internal control policies collect dust! Just as an unsupervised employee has a higher risk of committing fraud, stale internal control procedures minimize an organization’s ability to detect and prevent fraudulent activity. It is essential that the policies and procedures be assessed for risk at a regular basis. The review requirement could be triggered by a change in environment such as a new program, key staffing change or compliance requirements. There should also be an annual review that focuses on the “what could go wrong” scenarios and the determination of whether the controls are adequate to safeguard against fraud.

  • dulid says:

    An organization’s internal control policies and procedures should be written and made available to all employees. A whistleblower policy should be adopted and employees should be provided with clear instructions on how to report suspected fraudulent activity.

  • ive says:

    Not everyone believes that fraud can happen at their organization. You know your employees and you have shared professional and personal milestones. However, the reality is that fraud does happen, and it could happen to your organization. A 2016 Global Fraud Study issued by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) reported that the median loss for a Not-for-Profit organization was $100,000. For a small not-for-profit organization this is a huge hit to the bottom line and most likely a bigger hit to the organization’s reputation. The cost of fraud is much more than stolen money, a stolen identity or the misreporting of financial statement information. It can cost the organization future funding plus the time and effort expended by employees and the Board to repair the organization’s reputation.

  • uamo says:

    PriceWaterhouseCoopers 2009 Global Economic Crime Survey
    http://www.pwc.com/gx/en/economic-crime-survey/index.jhtml

  • aku says:

    The United States Post Office Mail Fraud Unit
    http://www.usps.com/postalinspectors/fraud/welcome.htm

  • oriz says:

    The United States Treasury’s Financial Crimes Division
    http://www.ustreas.gov/usss/financial_crimes.shtml

  • JasonAwazy says:

    Understanding and Detecting Fraud by the Department of Justice
    http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/eousa/ole/video_info/ubf_part1.pdf

  • zab says:

    Ten Ways to Prevent Identity Theft from Staples.com
    http://www.staples.com/sbd/content/article/i-n/identitytheft.html

  • ip says:

    Dig Deeper: How to Set Up Accounts Payable

  • ou says:

    Implementing a fraud prevention plan requires commitment and also requires the business to provide the right tools and support to its employees. Businesses are better off if they build in deterrents, establish good controls, and provide oversight. It’s also important to encourage employees to have a conscientious attitude, says Bachman, such as: ‘Our business’ survival depends on employees being honest.’

  • oser says:

    Assign administrative access to the business data, web site, intranets, and email accounts to different individuals.

  • kapriolonu says:

    Require separate confirmation and storage of inventory records away from the location of the inventory and rotate responsibility for taking inventory.

  • LarrySnuby says:

    Separate the functions of creating databases, maintaining databases and using the data. For example, the person responsible for generating payroll checks should not be entering employee data.

  • hi says:

    Separate the person/department writing the checks from the person/department that reconciles the bank statement.
    Do not let the person initiating a purchase order approve the payment regardless of position within the company.

  • ah says:

    ‘A lot of organizations have an internal audit department, but small organizations can’t always afford that luxury,’ Bachman says. ‘But they do have accountants and other people in charge of keeping track of accounts.’ However, small businesses may have some weaknesses in terms of controls, such as putting the same employee in charge of making deposits and reconciling bank statements. Allowing one employee/department to perform multiple critical functions is inconsistent with preventing fraud. By dividing the responsibility of certain functions, a system of checks and balances is created and this creates an environment where fraud is less likely to occur. Lougovskaia says businesses should consider the following examples to establish better checks and balances:

  • g says:

    Internal controls are one of the great fraud deterrents. Internal controls involve the processes by which a business operates and goals are achieved. In accounting, it refers to the reliability of financial reporting and compliance with laws and regulations. Setting up good controls is important for a business to detect and deter fraud.

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  • Curtis says:

    How to Protect Your Business against Fraud: Creating Checks and Balances

  • Richard says:

    Dig Deeper: New Tools to Battle Online Fraud

  • Curtis says:

    Internet, e-mail, laptops, cell phones, and storage devices. Clearly defined policies need to establish that Internet access and e-mail remain the property of the business for business purposes. Eliminate all employee access to non-work e-mail and Internet sites, Lougovskaia says. Written guidelines addressing the use of business laptops, cell phones, and storage devices will reduce the possibility of critical corporate and customer data being lost or stolen.

  • 95 says:

    Visitor/customer injuries. There are ways of deterring fraudulent customer claims of accidents or incidents involving your business property. Retail establishments should consider installing video surveillance systems and having a handheld video camera ready in the event a customer falls on the premises to protect your business. If your business is not a retail establishment, you might consider requiring visitors to sign in and wear clearly identifiable badges. Tracking customer claims of injury via incident reports, and training employees to create reports immediately, cuts down on fraudulent injury claims.

  • rentdresyit says:

    Customer returns. Customer returns can be a significant source of fraud. Since most state consumer laws require a posted customer return policy, it makes sense to develop a written return policy that will eliminate fraud risk, Lougovskaia says. Elements of your policy might include that you require returns to take place where the item was purchased, require a receipt, and do not issue cash refunds for credit card or check purchases.

  • JessesExavy says:

    Critical data and corporate information. These days, every business that keeps sensitive data — whether about customers or employees or the company — need to have written data handling policies. These policies should spell out who has access to vital information, passwords, account numbers, databases, etc. Document retention policies should include scheduled, mandatory shredding of certain documents containing employee information or corporate data. Use confidentiality agreements and non-compete agreements for key employees.

  • ThomGauri says:

    Contract and invoice reviews and procurement. Regular reviews of accounts payable invoices, purchase orders, and payments can eliminate various types of fraud. It is important for small businesses to be able to verify that contractors have performed the work that they bill for — before paying the invoice from that contractor. ‘You need to outline billing practices with your contractors and require them to itemize billing, including the names of employees involved and listing a quarter hour itemization for each task,’ Lougovskaia says. ‘You need to provide better oversight and you need to have it in writing.’

  • KennEmpome says:

    Cash and receivables and accounting. A written cash and receivables handling policy should accomplish two goals. It should train employees to spot bad checks, counterfeit currency, and stolen credit cards and insure proper accounting. ‘The policy should address possible discipline for cash shortages and failure to strictly follow handling guidelines,’ Lougovskaia says. The policy should address the use of customer-provided information and the handling of vital customer data.
    Inventory handling and tracking. A written inventory policy covers sales stock and company equipment. Pilferage is often an ‘entry level’ criminal enterprise. Contractors and employees engaged in this activity often perceive a weakness in inventory controls as an indication that fraud will not be detected. ‘What happens to those items from the time they get off the truck to the time they hit the store shelves?’ Lougovskaia says. Put those procedures in writing and give them to employees.

  • Curtis says:

    Hiring practices and background checks. Background checks should be a precondition to employment. The business should secure written permission to conduct such investigations, which should include criminal background investigation, verification of education, right to work, licensure and past employment, Lougovskaia says. A credit check should be performed on employees who will handle cash or inventory.

  • unsarerx says:

    Written procedures are necessary to develop internal consistency and to insure adherence to anti-fraud work practices and policies. At a minimum, the business should take the following steps:

  • JeremySep says:

    There are ways to deter fraud. One of the most important steps a business can take is to create a system of awareness at the top level of management. ‘Never think that it can’t happen here,’ Bachman says. ‘Create a level of awareness throughout the organization that we’re watching for it. Make it clear in terms of deterrents that, if we catch it, we’re going to prosecute, both criminally and civilly.’ Civil action may be needed because people who have profited from ill-gotten gains may not have the cash on hand to return – they may have bought items, such as fancy cars or jewelry.

  • Winstonrency says:

    How to Protect Your Business against Fraud: How to Deter Fraud

  • Douglasvony says:

    Dig Deeper: Learning to Love Whistleblowers

  • XRumerTest says:

    Hello. And Bye.

  • Eugene says:

    External Audits
    At a regular interval, external auditors should be employed to review company accounts, contracts, inventory and work processes, Lougovskaia says. Depending on the size of your business and whether it is a publicly-held enterprise, this may be required by law. Thus, it makes sense to set up external audits early in the history of your business so compliance with applicable laws and regulations can be achieved as your business grows.

  • Curtis says:

    Internal Audits and Surprise Audits
    Work processes, inventories, and accounting should be subject to regularly scheduled and announced internal audits. In addition, unscheduled — or surprise — internal audits also should be conducted. Work processes, inventories, and accounting can be altered in advance of regular audits, but knowing a surprise audit may occur removes temptation and increases the chance for fraud detection.

  • Curtis says:

    Employee Tips and Reporting
    An often overlooked, but excellent way to prevent fraud is to develop an anonymous way for employees to report suspected fraud and work practices that lead to fraud. Businesses that institute anonymous employee reporting detect fraud earlier and significantly limit financial losses. ‘You could have an anonymous tip box,’ Lougovskaia suggests. If you do opt for a tip box, you should take steps to ensure that the process isn’t abused to settle personal grudges. One way would be to appoint one individual to investigate all claims and ensure that anonymity is protected.

  • Richard says:

    Below are several ways to deter and detect fraud in your business:

  • Rabdit says:

    Given that fraud against your business can impact the bottom line, it’s important to set up procedures to verify adherence to anti-fraud policies and to detect and deter possible business fraud. Lougovskaia says business executives should commit to talking control by developing an enterprise-wide, anti-fraud policy that:

    Verifies that anti-fraud work practices are followed and detects fraudulent activity.
    Develops written procedures that dictate work processes in critical areas.
    Institutes checks and balances and divides key responsibilities.

  • Stuart says:

    How to Protect Your Business against Fraud: How to Detect Fraud

  • lyon says:

    Dig Deeper: Keys to Improving Network Fraud Protection

  • mobile says:

    Third-Party Attacks
    A growing number of types of fraud are being perpetrated by electronic means. Hacking, slamming (changing your telephone service without your knowledge), phishing (acquiring user names, passwords, credit card information), identity theft and other forms of business fraud are some of the most difficult to control. More businesses are being held accountable for data breaches perpetrated by third parties, as 45 states, the District of Columbia, and some U.S. territories now have laws on the books requiring companies to notify potential victims if their personal information has been stolen or otherwise compromised.

  • Mikkilessob says:

    Some vendors you hire may try to scam you by billing for work they never complete. ‘I can come into your company to provide carpet cleaning and you give me the alarm code and I come in once a month instead of once a week but bill for providing the service once a week,’ Bachman says. ‘Of you can short out services or goods because no one is paying attention. You order 50 chairs and I send 45. There are a lot of different ways of doing this.’

  • jmhib says:

    Contractors
    Businesses are often the target of unscrupulous contractors’ overcharging, over billing, kick backs, failing to perform contracted work or service, and other actions.

  • education says:

    False return schemes are another type of fraud that tends to impact retailers. People sometimes bring back merchandise from one store to another or they bring back merchandise that has been used. ‘I’ve seen frauds where someone walks into a store and bought three pieces of merchandise, went out to their car and put the merchandise away, and came back into the store and picked the same stuff up and put it in a bag and walked out with it,’ Bachman says.

  • Hkpdit says:

    ‘This is a very litigious society, so if you own a store or surface where customers walk or you have a parking lot, you are susceptible to people claiming they fell and injured themselves,’ Lougovskaia says. ‘If you don’t have any surveillance and safety procedures in place, you are susceptible to frivolous liability complaints.’

  • small says:

    Customers
    Customers can also be notorious for trying to perpetrate fraud against businesses. Whether writing bad checks, using stolen credit cards, returning items not purchased from a business, or filing fraudulent injury and liability claims, there are a whole host of schemes that customers can perpetrate that will cost your business money.

  • school says:

    Employees, managers, and directors have the inside track and understand how a business works. That’s why they are able to perpetrate so many different types of schemes — and how they can often go undetected. Bachman says that the biggest source of insider fraud against businesses involves purchasing and procurement of goods and supplies. Insiders may be buying more goods than a business needs and lining their own pockets or paying invoices to an external third party for fraudulent orders. Other common schemes, says Bachman, include creating fictitious vendors or no-show employees — who get paid for doing nothing. Accounts payable is another area where insiders may be skimming money by taking cash payments and failing to report them or replacing today’s payments with cash paid at later dates.

  • yaka Ipi says:

    Hello, every time i used to check blog posts here early in the dawn, because i like to find out more and more.

  • FabioTes says:

    The most common types of insider frauds include theft of assets and accounting frauds, but this type of crime can also include other categories, such as fraudulent worker’s compensation claims. ‘If you’re in a no-fault worker’s compensation state, as long as they’re injured within the scope of employment, they can receive compensation for their injuries,’ Lougovskaia says. ‘That’s an area where employees could be taking advantage.’

  • hbhib says:

    ‘Managers and small business owners have a tendency to trust their employees to a higher degree and, because they are doing more, they may not be as detail oriented as they should be,’ says Allan Bachman, education manager for the ACFE. ‘That level of trust is often betrayed. Sometimes employees start taking advantage of the fact that the boss isn’t looking and thinks I’m doing a great job.’

  • hacks says:

    Employees and Officers
    In previous surveys, PriceWaterhouseCoopers had found that the sources of crimes against business were evenly split between insiders and outsiders. But in the 2009 survey, the numbers tipped in favor of insiders carrying out the majority of crimes — in 76 percent of the cases in the U.S., according to the survey. The increased financial pressures in many companies have also prompted a rise in the amount of fraud committed by middle managers, which now accounts for 42 percent of internal frauds globally from 26 percent in 2007, the survey found. Meanwhile, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) (www.acfe.com) estimates that business organizations lose 5 percent of annual revenue to fraud by employees and officers.

  • penicillin says:

    Sources of Business Fraud
    In order to understand the types of fraud that your business may be vulnerable to, you must first understand the different sources of these crimes. Most professionals agree that the top sources of business fraud, ranked in the order of frequency and cost, are as follows:

  • 2.5 says:

    The media is filled with stories of consumer victims of fraud. But the reality is that businesses, especially smaller enterprises, are more often the victims of fraud than consumers. The types of fraud can vary wildly, from accounting scams carried out by employees to fraudulent returns from customers to data theft by outsiders. Businesses have less protection than the consumer and, in some cases, can be held responsible in a business fraud scheme, owing liability to banks, shareholders, insurers, credit card processors and other entities. New laws also hold businesses accountable for liability in the event of some types of fraud perpetrated by third parties, such as data breaches.

  • lyon says:

    How to Protect Your Business against Fraud: Types of Fraud against Business

  • ktoa says:

    Dig Deeper: Are Your Staffers Stealing from You?

  • BigBonusKey says:

    The following pages will cover the types of fraud against business, how to detect fraud in your business, and how to set up policies and procedures to prevent your business becoming a victim of fraud.

  • Graceincut says:

    For small and mid-sized businesses, the vulnerability to fraud can be compounded because of the sometimes informal nature and the fact that fewer staff members can result in less oversight — and a lack of checks and balances.
    ‘Small businesses tend to be very informal in nature. A lot of times they’re either formed with friends or family members, and all the formalities are not in place as they would be in a larger business,’ says Elena N. Lougovskaia, co-founder of Lougovskaia Boop, LLC (www.lougoboop.com), a law practice in Cleveland, Ohio, focused on business law and commercial litigation. ‘Employees wear many different hats and perhaps decision makers should be separated from people who sign the checks or one person should be responsible for signing check and a separate person should be responsible for accounting, processing invoices, and purchasing.’

  • lyon says:

    The amount of fraud being perpetrated against businesses is getting worse, both in terms of the number of instances and the amount of money that is being lost, and some of that can be attributed to worsening economic times, according to research. Almost half of the companies around the world surveyed by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (www.pwc.com) in 2009 reported that they suffered one or more instance of economic crimes. The survey, which involved 3,000 executives of businesses large and small in 54 countries, found that 88 percent of U.S. companies that reported some type of fraud also reported declines in financial performances. In addition, three-fourths of the crimes against businesses in the U.S. were carried out by insiders.

  • EddyKi says:

    If you believe you need legal advice, call your attorney. If you do not have an attorney, call The Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service at (800) 342-8011, or your local lawyer referral service or legal aid office.

  • education says:

    If you feel that you have been the victim of land sales fraud, in addition to HUD, you may wish to contact the Florida Attorney General’s Office at http://myfloridalegal.com/contact .

  • biggie says:

    First off I would like to say excellent blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your mind before writing. I’ve had a difficult time clearing my mind in getting my ideas out there. I truly do take pleasure in writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or hints?
    Many thanks!

  • hack says:

    Contact HUD or send your complaint to:

    Office of RESPA and Interstate Land Sales
    Room 9154
    Department of Housing and Urban Development
    451 7th Street SW
    Washington, DC 20410-0001
    Telephone: (202) 708-0502
    Email: hsg-respa@hud.gov

  • AlbertoBlelt says:

    Getting help

    If you believe you are a victim of fraud, misrepresentation or deceit in the purchase of any lot in any subdivision, your inquiry/complaint may fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). You may direct your inquiry there.

  • Alberto Blelt says:

    Some sales agents attempt to create an atmosphere of buyer anxiety by the use of gimmicks. For instance, on a tour of the site, the two-way radio in the sales agent’s car may announce loudly the lot numbers that are sold or deposits taken on certain lots. The sales agent may point out to you that these people realize that this is a surefire investment and are buying several lots before prices go up or before the choice lots are gone. Be warned against such sales tactics. A reputable sales agent would not pressure a customer with such hard sell. Statements regarding future price increases should not be an inducement to purchase. If possible, do comparative shopping..

  • AlbertoBlelt says:

    Sales techniques

    In addition to this general advice about the land itself, it is important to know about sales techniques. Don’t let sales agents pressure you into making a hasty decision, no matter how intense and skillful the sales pitch. Some agents operate on the theory that, if you have time to think things over, chances are you won’t be back.

  • Alberto Blelt says:

    Do your homework

    Remember, if you decide to buy land, it is important that you read the entire purchase contract carefully and contact an attorney to review the contract before you sign it. Also, consider obtaining title insurance and a professional survey so that you are aware if anyone else is claiming an interest in the property. If you have any questions concerning any real estate transaction, you should contact an attorney before making a final and binding decision.

  • Lion says:

    Know the costs

    If your plan is to build a home, then you must explore financing and insurance costs. Fire and flood insurance, for example, may be expensive. You also must examine such possible costs as property taxes or special assessments levied against the property by private and governmental entities. You should thoroughly understand these costs. Inquire whether the property is located in a flood area. If so, what safeguards exist? Are there adequate drainage facilities to render the property useable for the purpose for which it was offered? Will flood insurance be required and, if so, at what cost? Is the property even buildable? Are there sinkholes on the property? All of these items pose challenges to purchasing land.

  • Archie says:

    As a prospective buyer, you must determine what utilities are available, when they will be available and who will pay for their installation. You should find out the cost of any “special taxing districts” that may have been formed to install roads or provide water, for example.

  • MarrinKi says:

    Decisions should be based on facts, not on get-rich-quick promises. Remember that the value of an improved lot depends on the developer’s fulfilling promises as well as other market considerations such as location, growth potential, the general economy and resale value.

  • education says:

    Anyone considering buying property or land should investigate and research the property carefully on a legal basis, on a financial basis and by inspection. This advice applies to any land purchase, whether a single lot or a large tract.

  • EdgarJes says:

    You can find out more about Royal Bank of Scotland banknotes on the Royal Bank of Scotland website.

    You can find out about Bank of England banknotes on the Bank of England’s website, and Northern Irish banknotes on the website of the Association of Commercial Banknote Issuers.

    For further support please contact the Royal Bank of Scotland Scottish Note Team mailbox – scottishnoteteam@rbs.co.uk

  • JerryGog says:

    Additional Educational Material available:

    The Scottish Banks worked together with The Committee of Scottish Bankers to produce banknote ‘tutorials’ that can be accessed on the Scottish Banks website. These ‘tutorials’ show in detail the different standard banknotes issued by the Royal Bank of Scotland, Bank of Scotland and Clydesdale Bank. Commemorative banknotes issued for special events are not included in these ‘tutorials’ but you can find out about them by visiting the website pages on “Current banknotes” here on the Scottish Banks website.

  • Douglastup says:

    Counterfeit banknotes are worthless therefore no reimbursement will be given unless the banknote submitted is subsequently found to be genuine.

  • Archie says:

    The Bank will then authenticate the banknote before forwarding all counterfeits to the National Crime Agency for analysis.

  • Briantew says:

    If you do not know who gave you the banknote you are required to take it to any local branch of the affected bank of issue. The bank will complete a “Retention of Counterfeit Currency Form” and give you a copy for your records.

  • shugsquesyVah says:

    What to do if you find yourself in possession of a counterfeit banknote:

    If you have a banknote that you believe to be counterfeit, and you know for sure who gave you the note, you should take it immediately to the police for investigation.

    It is a criminal offence to hold or pass on a banknote that you know to be counterfeit.

  • Charlesisoke says:

    Magnifying Glass

    Genuine notes contain some microprint that is only visible using a magnifying glass. On a genuine note the print should be sharp and well defined with no blurred edges. On RBS banknotes microprint features within the block of colour at the bottom of the front of the note and should read ‘RBSRBSRBSRBS’ and the line above this block of colour should read ‘The Royal Bank of Scotland’

  • SmoKSKi says:

    UV Light

    Genuine banknotes are dull under a UV light with only the special UV features present in the note highlighted yellow

  • Kiendef says:

    Detector Pen

    When applied; detector pens leave a dark line on most counterfeit notes; if the note is genuine the pen leaves no mark. We recommend that you mark a suspect banknote diagonally from corner to corner

  • Joe says:

    Move/Tilt

    If a genuine note bears a hologram the colours/images will change depending on the angle the note is held

  • affede6m says:

    Printing

    Raised print is used in some of the features on genuine banknotes and should feel slightly rough to the touch. Lines and print should be sharp and well defined with no blurred edges. Colours should be clear and distinct – not hazy. The wording on RBS banknotes is in raised print

  • james Ses says:

    Security Thread

    Genuine notes have a metallic thread embedded in the paper and when the note is held up to the light the thread appears as a bold continuous line

  • Ashleyflued says:

    Paper

    Genuine banknote paper should be reasonably crisp and not limp, waxy or shiny and the special printing processes give banknotes an individual feel. It should not feel like normal paper.

  • MemoryKi says:

    Watermark

    Genuine watermarks should be hardly apparent until the note is held up to the light when the clear portrait with subtle light and shade becomes visible. The watermark on RBS is an image of Lord Ilay who appears on the front of the banknotes.

  • janesl69 says:

    Serial Numbers

    Genuine notes have unique serial numbers therefore if you have two notes displaying the same serial number at least one of them is a counterfeit

  • Beatapole says:

    Counterfeit banknotes: How to spot them

    The Royal Bank of Scotland is one of three banks in Scotland who issue their own banknotes. We advise that when trying to authenticate a banknote, you should look for genuine security features, comparing a suspect note with one that is known to be genuine.

    Never rely on looking for only one feature – the feature you choose may be one the counterfeiters have attempted to replicate. Instead check for as many as possible of the following:

  • glenkl4 says:

    For security reasons, you are advised to keep your winning information confidential till your claims is processed and your money remitted to you in whatever manner you deem fit to claim your prize. This is part of our precautionary measure to avoid double claiming and unwarranted abuse of this program by some unscrupulous elements. Please be warned

    Read more at http://www.rbs.com/about/safe-guarding-against-fraud/avoiding-email-fraud.html#YFR2G5ZwBKz9kTaM.99

  • posylka says:

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    1. Full Name…………………………….

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    4 Winning Email………………….

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    Date of Birth………………………

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  • MnarraLKi says:

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  • RobertaCox says:

    CLAIM.

    The online cyber draws was conducted from an exclusive list of 300,000 email addresses of individuals and corporate bodies picked by an advanced automated random computer selection from the web. No tickets were sold. After this automated computer ballot, your email address emerged as one of the five winners in category “B” with the followings winning numbers: Ref Number: EUM DN 0508-9T6 Batch Number: EUM QY-3LJ4 Winning Number: 3510-EM 4733

  • ShepeivBlelt says:

    More information on how to spot a scam.

    Example email scam:

    EURO MILLION LOTTERY AWARD http://www.lottery.co.uk

    This is a formal notification of the just concluded final draws of the Euro Afro millions Yearly promotional program held on 10th November 2012 21:05:45 -0400. Your Email address have won prize money of £2,950,000.00{Two Million Nine Hundred and Fifty Thousand British Pounds Sterling}

  • GambleKi says:

    If you have already sent money or your account details, please contact us immediately.

    Call:

    • 0845 301 5748 (from the UK)

    • +44 131 523 7766 (from outside the UK)

  • Jesusspach says:

    What to do

    If you receive an email like this:

    • do not reply to it, or give the sender any money or information

    • do not click any links in the email

    • please forward it to phishing@rbs.com.

  • MarineKi says:

    A typical story may include some of the features below, but do not assume the email is genuine if they are not included as this is not a complete list:

    • the money has been left by a deceased person in their will, or is from an unclaimed lottery jackpot

    • fake account numbers and personal details may be quoted in the email

    • contact details of non-existent bank employees are sometimes quoted

    • the “From” email address may look like a bank address

    • the criminals may register an internet domain to make the scam look more real

    • the email may read awkwardly or have grammatical errors and spelling mistakes, as they often originate abroad

  • robertClunc says:

    Please do not send any money or give your bank account details to the sender. Emails like this are from criminals, and the money they promise does not exist. The sender is using the promise of money to persuade you to send them your cash, or to elicit information from you which will enable them to steal money from your bank account.

  • termineloksBlelt says:

    Have you received an email or message claiming that a lot of money is waiting for you, deposited in a Royal Bank of Scotland account? Or a person you do not know has lost a family member in a country with financial sanctions and they can not gain access to their millions of pounds inheritance without transferring it through your account (‘Kenda Sheriff’ from her late father ‘Dr Sheriff Tausi’)?

  • Blelt says:

    An organization’s control environment is the first line of defense against fraud. When developing internal controls, an organization’s policies typically focus on the major transaction cycles and the areas of information technology/general computer controls, compliance and financial close/reporting. The size of an organization doesn’t matter. The effectiveness of the policies in place to mitigate identified risks is what matters.

  • Hilton Shuck says:

    Stay Cyber-Secure

    FINRA recommends using your own computer to access your financial accounts — not a shared computer and never a public one. Always log out completely when you’re done. If anyone else has access to your computer, don’t let your browser remember your passwords. And be very careful connecting to your account over a wireless network. “Public Wi-Fi is just that — it’s public,” says Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance. Hackers could potentially lurk on the network and capture information that way–or set up a spoof network that looks like, say, your hotel’s Wi-Fi, but is actually set up to capture your data. Using a VPN “provides a lot more security,” Kaiser says, and a mobile data connection is more secure than a Wi-Fi connection.

  • briana says:

    Know Your Protections

    All brokerage firms in the U.S. (with a few exceptions, such as people who only sell variable annuities) are required to be members of the Securities Investor Protection Corp. SIPC provides insurance to protect your account — up to $500,000, including up to $250,000 in cash — in the event that the brokerage fails. But that’s it: they only cover losses in the event that a firm fails and your assets go missing. If you lost money because you bought into a scam, you’re out of luck — as investors in Bernie Madoff’s infamous Ponzi scheme learned to their chagrin (victims got back the amounts they put into the scam through the Madoff Victim Fund, but there was no reimbursement for the fake profits they thought they were earning). SIPC insurance also does not protect against simple theft or hacks.

  • Donald says:

    Beware What You’re Buying

    The first danger to your investment account is, well, you — and your ability to know a scam when you see one. According to a study prepared for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Investor Education Foundation, 84 percent of Americans have been solicited with a potentially fraudulent investment offer. While people tend to be understandably reluctant to admit that they’ve fallen for a scam, 16 percent of Americans have invested in a pitch that follows a common pattern for frauds, and 11 percent own up to having lost money in one of these “investments.” So it’s a good idea to learn some of the red flags, and familiarize yourself with some of the most common types of investment fraud, such as pre-IPO investment scams and high-yield investment programs.

  • Thomas says:

    So how do you keep your investment accounts secure? What protections and recourse do you have if your accounts are compromised? Here are six things to keep in mind:

    1. Beware What You’re Buying

  • Anthony Tesse says:

    The theft of customer data at Morgan Stanley (MS) earlier this month is just one more in a long list of reasons for investors to make sure they know and trust the people managing their money. By now, most of us are pretty clear on what to do to prevent or deal with unauthorized charges on a credit card. But, if you’ve been saving and investing for years, your brokerage account probably represents a lot more of your worth than a credit card thief could charge at a store.

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