FraudJournal Blog

April 11, 2011

Fighting Fraud By Connecting and Detecting Globally

As the world gets smaller from people traveling more, gaining greater access to information via the internet, movies, television and cellphones, we seem to be sharing at a rate that astounds and thrills the number crunchers. We now share everything from secrets to solutions, inventions to investigations, and things that shouldn’t be mentioned let alone take place. This includes new ways and means to commit fraud including establishing complex webs that challenge the best of us in fraud investigation, as well as ways to counterfeit almost every product manufactured. But as fraud fighters, we are learning how to use that to our advantage. As much as the internet causes us to throw our hands up in the air in frustration we also have shouted loudly with joy when a fraudster unwittingly leaves a trail for us to follow. And we thank them for that.

The best way each of us can reduce the risk of fraud is become educated, connect with each other and work together as transparently as possible. The more we leave the old ways of hoarding our tips and tricks, the stronger we become in unity. By now, most cities, counties and states as well as federal agencies are beginning to understand this and the old network of closed doors is opening up to free-share ideas and solutions. But even better than this is that a new level of young professionals have grabbed onto the possibilities and are both teaching and putting into place ways to be more efficient and effective in the fight against fraud. I applaud all of you who work to share your concerns and network to find solutions. In my effort to continue sharing, I have listed below some sites I have come across recently for you to review and share with each other. I by no means participate in them, or receive any benefit from them. Nor do I present them as the perfect find, but I do find the information to be interesting and provide some ideas to pursue for further consideration and self-education. Keep up the good fight and continue to stay true to your morals and ethics as we all continue to be challenged in life as times become more difficult and trying of faith and patience.


December 7, 2010

Tis The Season To Be Thieved

I know, it’s not a real word. But recently two of my friends found out their debit/visa cards had been compromised. Both of these people are careful with their information. So, how did this happen. There is no real way to determine exactly what happened, but we have pin-pointed when it started and worked our way back to the most likely place it happened. So I decided that because most of us will hear from someone we know who had their holiday interrupted by a fraudster. So let’s be prepared to stop them as best we can by staying sharp and prepared to act quickly should something happen.

Once you find out or suspect, contact the bank or lending institution’s fraud department. Go over the recent purchases for the few days. You will need to answer some questions and fill out a form you receive in the mail. If you card is compromised, you will need to cancel the card and wait till you get a new one. Some credit unions can now reissue a card on site, others require you to wait till they can mail the replacement.

Advise the 3 credit union reporting agencies that your card was compromised. Now this is key, you can put a ‘freeze’ for three months or just have it on file that no more purchases can be made on a previous card/account. If you freeze for the three-month period, you cannot open any new accounts or take loans out without going through a process. So think carefully on what you want to achieve. The credit agencies will walk you through your options. I would also suggest getting a three to six month credit watch to catch any other potential problems.


First you need to remember that fraudsters plan for the holidays just like the rest of us. And they know that this is the time we get scattered and forgetful. Here are a couple of scenarios to think about as you shop and eat your way through the holidays. Take some time to find out what is going on out there and then stay aware.


These people can memorize numbers, names and pictures in a what seems nanoseconds. And, this is most likely what happened to one of my friends. This scheme happens when someone stands behind or within visual range of your activity at a check-out stand (cashier). When you pull out your card to swipe it, most of us hang on to it or set it down while waiting for the cashier to finish what he/she is doing. In that moment, the individual behind you memorizes the card name, number and necessary details. Yes, it’s that fast. They often don’t purchase anything, they excuse themselves from the line with some excuse and get into another line later. They only need to do this a couple of times to get enough card numbers to go and create a fake card and then test it out by purchasing small items. Usually at a grocery store or gas station. If all goes well, they try again with a higher amount and if that works, they go for broke.


Another way is when hand the card to the cashier and he/she is processing the card and the card gets skimmed either along the side of the register or underneath the register. This is a more rare scenario as most of us would see this action. However, if you are at a restaurant, the card goes back with the server and can get skimmed by them and then processed at the restaurant as well.


Also, it is a good idea to make sure the server returns your credit card and not a substitute. ALWAYS check the card returned to you. Accidents do occur, and that could make someone else who gets your card and leaves a happy scammer to, but you can avoid that easily by making sure you check the card you received as well as the receipt you sign.

In closing, it’s always best to Google current fraud schemes. You would be amazed at what fraudsters come up with each season. At the same time, it’s very sad that the same old con-methods continue to work every day. Stay safe and be aware during the holidays.


I have just started to check out this website Scambusters. They have some good information regarding fraud, but they also sell products. I will let you know if I get valuable information later on after some time to review their ongoing newsletters.

Another recent find, today to be exact, is this site InventHelp. They have quite a variety of scam and fraud information. I will report back later on how their information was helpful to me. But they did have some helpful information.

And don’t forget the FED‘s; the love a good take-down on the bad guys. Also, this site IC3 is good for information and to report fraud crimes. They work very closely with the FED’s and have good information for Internet safety protocol and scam information.

Stay Safe and Report Fraud!


July 27, 2010


Filed under: Fraud Schemes,Fraud Trends — fraudjournal @ 2:26 PM
Tags: , , ,

One of the discussions running around the fraud blogs and LinkedIn groups is about how fraudsters have been able to get past CAPTCHA. So is it dead? That question was asked in a 2007 article when Google filed for a patent that would allow computers to read images that contained a graphic of morphed characters. (

And if you ask the internet about CAPTCHA, you will find various requests to locate a program that would essentially ‘kill’ the CAPTCHA program temporarily when dealing with other languages. So is it dead? Not yet. Businesses and websites still are using this program as a security measure. So what is the fuss?

Most of you have already experienced CAPTCHA without knowing it. This is when you are required to type in what you see on the screen (usually a set of twisted or distorted letters, numbers or combo of both) when you purchase or create an account with an online storefront or organization. If you don’t, here is a link to Wikipedia to learn (

Recently in New York, scammers created another work around by setting up a network of users to purchase tickets online from Ticketmaster. The company under indictment ‘’, purchased the maximum of number of tickets to big name concerts and events by employing a vast network of purchasers who could type in the semi-obscured graphic used as a security measure to stop scammers from purchasing more than the allowed number of tickets. These tickets were then scalped online for prices far above the normal retail value. So, now you know why some of those concerts were sold out so fast and so many tickets were for sale online. ¬†You can read the article here: .

So how does this effect the fight against fraud? It means that fraud has truly become a global concern. While it creates jobs in India and China, it also allows fraud rings to branch out and work towards becoming an even bigger menace than before. If the sources of scamming is off-shore, then the process to shut them down becomes much more complicated and deals with multiple jurisdictions. Plus their costs are minimal, they have a dedicated work effort can be a 24/7, and you and I can’t see them at work. It allows them to blend in or hide in plain sight.

The economy is already creating budget havoc for everyone. Law enforcement is already overwhelmed with fraud on the grand scale, which means it is up to you and I to stay aware of what we see on the Internet and around us today. Help your local and regional fraud teams by reporting fraud when you see it. And don’t buy scalped tickets – most often they are not your everyday you and me that ended up with spare tickets. It’s guys just like the scammers ‘’ that stole your right to purchase them at the retail price in the first place.

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