Jacked! 5 reasons why you’ll get ripped off – criminals are counting on it! Fraud, scams and data thefts have reached epidemic levels and everyone’s at risk. Daily, the news is littered with stories about unwitting victims of fraudulent activity and the reality is that someone’s being ripped off (jacked!) while you’re reading this article. If you think this doesn’t pertain to you you’re mistaken. Organized crime rings are targeting you, your information and your money as we speak.
As a thought leader in the fraud space, I’m regularly interviewed by media sources looking for insights on fraud issues. Recently, I started thinking about some of the reasons why people get their money and information jacked by criminals. Ultimately, the odds of getting jacked have to do with human behavior but in some cases, it’s a combination of factors: human behavior and how we interact with technology.
Here are five reasons why you’ll absolutely get your money and information jacked but it doesn’t have to be this way. Think of the risky things you do that contribute to being targeted and take steps to protect yourself. Don’t be a victim – don’t get jacked!
We communicate far too often with no regard for personal privacy. We tell everyone we’re going out to dinner, on vacation or away for the weekend via online apps. That’s just like announcing “Hey, why don’t you come over and break in? No one will be here to stop you.”
No one needs to know where you’re at every 15 minutes of the day! Broadcasting your whereabouts, and major purchases, increases the odds of burglary, stalking and personal attack.
TIP: Be judicious about the information you post online, when you post it and who has access to it.
Personal Information Security
Our mistake here involves the old adage “your house is your castle.” Houses may be fortified with locks and alarms but this leads to a false sense of security as most of our houses aren’t information and “fraud proof.”
We feel safe in our homes so we leave personally identifiable information (PII), bills and sensitive documents strewn all over. Yet, we freely invite people inside: guests, the cleaning service, the appliance repair man, the plumber, the electrician, the cable guy etc. All this makes our information vulnerable to getting jacked!
The truth is if you get inside our house, you have access to our PII. Walk around your house and see what personal information, bills or sensitive documents you have lying around that someone might easily access when inside.
TIP: Take steps to secure the information and Fraud Proof your house.
We’re not as smart as our cell phones. Cell phones may be “smart” but oftentimes users aren’t. Most people don’t take the same type of information and anti-virus (AV) precautions with their cell phones as they do with their computers. Yet, phones are regularly used to make purchases, store credit cards and our PII. That’s an issue.
Common sense rules here. Downloading free AV apps may be riddled with malware so that’s not the answer. Stick to known security apps from reputable companies and legitimate places.
TIP: Be smarter than your phone. Protect the information stored on your phone using the same info-sec precautions as you would on a PC, laptop or tablet.
We give away information all the time. Businesses regularly ask for our personal information and we give it freely. When was the last time you asked someone requesting your personal information these questions:
a) What do you need it for?
b) What are you going to do with it?
c) How and where is it going to be stored?
d) Who will have access to it?
e) When is it going to be destroyed and by whom?
The truth is… very few businesses really need all the personal information they ask you for to conduct a transaction. There are steps you can take before handing over your information.
TIP: If there isn’t a justifiable business reason for someone to have your personal information, or you don’t feel comfortable with their responses, don’t give it!
Compassion and Trust
When a natural disaster occurs, human compassion dictates that we try to help. That’s the right sentiment but fraudsters play on our emotions and desire to do the right thing. In fact, shortly after the horrific crash of Malaysian Airlines flight MH 17, which is alleged to have been shot down by a surface to air missile, there’s evidence that disaster fraud is already occurring.
Our emotions, and the desire to help, also play into our getting victimized by e-mail requests for financial assistance, like “Stranded Traveler” scams. I.e. Someone you know is traveling and struck abroad – send money. These show up in our in boxes almost every day thanks to malware and viruses sent to acquaintances who aren’t protecting their computers properly.
Given the number of natural disasters we’ve had lately, requests for financial assistance are up. Likewise, more money is given to charity and aid related organizations so disaster fraud is on the rise.
TIP: Be a smart donor! Don’t stop giving to people in need…but before you do ask questions, do your homework and take steps to ensure you’re giving money to legitimate organizations and not getting jacked by criminals playing on your charitable good will.
The Bottom Line
There are many more themes which lead to your money and information getting financially jacked than the five listed here. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Be smart. Think about your information, who you give it to and where you post it prior to doing so. Take measures to protect yourself, your money and your information before you’re jacked and it’s too late.
Those are my insights. I’d like to hear yours.