Thursday, 23 October 2008

Credit Crunch causing CyberCrime Shift

The "Credit Crunch" is not only fuelling more cyber crime and online fraud, but the latest malware, phishing and fraud trends show the credit crunch is having an affect within the sinister cyber criminal underworld. It seems the bad guys are having trouble opening new fake accounts, obtaining credit cards with stolen identities, and are even having trouble getting store credit using fake identities.

Why? Well it is because the financial industry have been cracking down and fully vetting credit applications (about time). You really have to ask why it has taken the near collapse of the world's financial system to kick financial institutions into properly checking just who they are actually going to provide credit to, after all that’s what caused all this credit crunch mess in the first place, right?

So this is good news on the identity theft front, but as always in cyber fraud the bad guys just move onto the next lowest hanging fruit, and so are increasingly going after active bank accounts and active credit cards. Which in itself is kind of interesting due to the consumer credit crunch factor, as I guess everyone will be generally be a lot more careful with their money, and therefore will be checking through their bank and credit card statements more often. A lot fraud simply goes undetected due to a particular technique employed by the bad guys, where they embellish small amounts of cash on a monthly basis directly from people accounts. This goes unnoticed by the victims, simply because the victim isn’t scrutinising their statements. According to "ID Theft Protect (Aug07)", 90% of people never check all their transactions on their bank or credit card statements, which underlines why these types of fraud are so successful and can really add up over a long time period.

I mean there are even some legal companies which dupe people into adding a small monthly standing orders on their accounts and credit cards, usually within the small print, or even by illegal means! I had a very popular UK motoring recovery organisation charge a renewal against my credit card without any pre or prior notification recently, even though the account they charged against for was for my wife! I actually had a completely separate account setup with them, they linked the payment details from my account to the other.

So be extra vigilant with those statements, you never know what you might find and save!

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