FRAUDULENT CHECKS…ARE IN THE MAIL
We receive many questions at EverSafe regarding whether we believe banking online or at “brick and mortar” institutions – is safer. We recommend that using technology to protect against internet fraud is critical. Using tech tools to “fight fire with fire” can ensure that many online scams are identified and shut down well before an account statement arrives in the mail. Moreover, it is now widely known that check fraud has escalated in the US. Scammers now sell phony checks on the Dark Web and thieves can gain access to mailboxes and whitewash checks, changing the payee and forging endorsements. Criminals can “simply go to your home mailbox and take the mail you left for the post office to pick up,” according to David Maimon, an associate professor and expert on cybersecurity at Georgia State University.” US Mailboxes, too, are often less than secure. Fortunately, the U.S. Postal Service has taken steps to make it safer to mail checks. They plan to add “12,000 new high-security mail collection boxes across the nation and install electronic locks on 49,000 existing collection boxes, in an effort to block crooks from stealing checks from outbound mail,” according to an announcement made earlier this month. New change-of-address policies will also soon go into effect, which should serve to limit identity thieves’ ability to divert stolen checks.
ELDER EXPLOITATION IS ON THE RISE
Earlier this month, the FBI reported on a surge in elder fraud, referencing an 84% increase in losses in 2022. The Internet Crime Complaint Center’s (IC3) 2022 Elder Fraud Report described this escalation, with “a significant portion of losses attributable to cryptocurrency investment fraud.” According to the report, more than 88,000 victims over the age of 60 reported losses of an astonshng $3.1 billion. Technical-support fraud schemes, where criminals ensnare elders into giving remote access to their computers, ranked second, with Business Email Compromise, in which criminals send an email message that appears to make a legitimate business request from a known source, came in third.