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Fraud and Your Business: The Latest Ways Thieves Are Trying to Separate You From Your Money

Frank L. Varanavage, CPA, CFE Director, Audit & Accounting, Investment Industry Group

Fraud and your business

Using your mobile device to keep up with your business has become very common. In fact, it is virtually impossible to find a business owner or executive who does not carry a smart device to monitor their business. Research has shown that the percentage of emails opened on a mobile device has significantly increased over the last few years. And in early 2014, internet usage on mobile devices surpassed that of desktop computers.

However, this has created risk. Our constantly expanding technological world and ever-increasing reliance on technology have led to an increase in fraud. It has never been more important to understand your risks and implement fraud preventive measures.

Here are three areas to be particularly aware of as you integrate personal and business information with your mobile devices.

1.  E-wallets

Most credit cards carry a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip that allows payments to be made without entering a PIN or signing a receipt. Technology is now in place to allow newer mobile devices to do the same. When a credit card is placed in close proximity to a mobile device, the information is captured for future purchases.

The problem lies in the way credit card information is transferred to the mobile device. For instance, a potential victim and a crook could be sitting next to each other at a train station, waiting for their ride. The crook can steal the victim's credit card information in a matter of seconds by using a mobile device, even though the victim’s credit card remains in her wallet. Always be aware of your surroundings, especially when seated in public areas, and consider an RFID blocking wallet.

2. App Scams

Apps are designed to make life easier but in some situations they can also make your information more vulnerable. Fraudulent apps have been created to make you think you are downloading something you want, but in reality are stealing your personal information through malware.

Most app stores have layers of security to prevent fraudulent apps from being made available for download, but in some cases, these phony apps can slip through the cracks and gain access to your information. Before downloading that app you simply cannot live without, ensure it has been available for a lengthy period of time and read the reviews provided by other users.

3. "Year in Review" Emails

This time of year you are more apt to see "year in review" emails landing in your inbox. These emails are sent by various news outlets and reflect on the past year's results and trends to expect in the coming year.

Pay special attention to where these emails are coming from; fraudsters have been known to hack the email accounts of legitimate organizations. Their hope is that email recipients click on an included link that then allows the criminals to access both company and personal data on the device. If an email looks suspicious, bypass the email link and go directly to the company’s website.

Frank L. Varanavage can be reached at Email or 215.441.4600.

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Frank L. Varanavage, CPA, CFE

Frank L. Varanavage, CPA, CFE

Director, Audit & Accounting, Investment Industry Group

Investment Industry Specialist

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