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Archive for the ‘CyberCrime’ Category

An article on MSNBC, shows just how gullible people can be. First of all, there is no way that the federal government will be paying for your utility bills especially if you have to give them your personal information. There are state programs to help people pay for their utility bills but there is no such federal program.

As a result, scammers are using a form of identity theft that has already claimed thousands of victims. These scammers are so bold they will even contact you by going door-to-door with this bogus utility bill payment scam. They are convincing unsuspected people that a special federal government assistance program has been set up – they describe it as a bailout authorized by President Barack Obama’s administration- to help pay utility bills.

But here is the catch, you have to “register” with them and give them your Social Security number and other personal information, i.e. bank account number. Obviously there is no such program. But these scammers are shrewd, they us door-to-door solicitation, Facebook, emails and tweets to convince people. Then these victims pass it on to their family and friends through these social networks. This is how the scam is growing.

Once again, if it is too good to be true it’s probably a scam. If you are having problems paying your utility bill, contact your utility company and work out payments with them. They are often very willing to get payments from you than no payment at all.

Being number 1 in the U.S. as having the most fraud cases is not an honor; however, Colorado is ranked number 1 in this case.  For  identity theft, Colorado comes in number 11 which is also not an honor to have. Fortunately, local law enforcement agencies are working hard to help the public understand the differences and to help them to protect their identities.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, fraud and identity theft are similar but not the same. Fraud is when someone may take  things out of your account or may use your name. Identity theft is when someone assumes your identity and poses as you. As a result, they will use your credit to buy expensive items or even take out a home loan.

The best defense you can do is to be proactive and protect your identity. Be aware of where your credit card is being used. If you are in
a restaurant and your server is gone for five or ten minutes, ask them what was the hold up or contact the manager of the restaurant to be sure that your identity wasn’t stolen. Another idea is if you bank online you shouldn’t search online with the same computer because there are hackers out there waiting to find you and steal your identity.

This article comes from MSNBC that reported a coordinated network pulled off one of the largest, most complex banking heists ever via cyber space. Back in March of this year, the crime gang withdrew $13 million in one day from ATMs in six countries.

Fidelity National Services Inc. (FIS) located in Jacksonville, Florida was the target of a massive breach. This firm processes prepaid debit cards. This is what happened. The attacker first broke into FIS’ network and gained unauthorized access to the company’s database that holds debit card customer’s balances. The prepaid debit cards do include a fraud protection policy that limits the amount cardholders can withdraw from an ATM with a 24-hour period. Also, once the balance on the cards is reached, the cards cannot be used until their owners put more money back onto the cards.

But these slick cyber criminals knew just what to do. They obtained 22 legitimate cards, eliminated each card’s withdrawal limit, and  cloned them, sending copies to conspirators in Greece, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine and the United Kingdom. When the prepaid limit on each card got too low, the hackers simply reloaded the fraudulent cards remotely.

At the close of the business day on Saturday, March 5, the criminals began taking out money from ATMs. By Sunday evening, the scam was over, and the attackers had stolen $13 million.

Unfortunately, it is not clear who is behind the attack on FIS, although the characteristics of the scheme put it in line with similar
crimes perpetrated by cyber criminals in Estonia and Russia.

Cyber crime is becoming a huge threat to every country’s economy. Too bad these criminals can’t use their imagination for doing good instead of doing bad.