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In this episode of “Militarily Speaking,” Tom, Jodi, and guest Jeremy Roe, Senior Vice President, BSO, Enterprise Fraud Officer of both Academy Bank and Armed Forces Bank, discuss the different forms of financial fraud, how social media plays a role in fraud, and proactive steps you can take to protect yourself.
In the era of digital transactions and online communication, the risk of identity fraud and financial data theft is a constant concern. The dangers are particularly relevant as evolving technology introduces new methods of compromising our assets.
Financial fraud refers to wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial gain. An offender uses fraudulent methods to mislead a victim into releasing money or sharing confidential information. Notably, the fraud tactics spanning a wide range of tactics - from card skimming and SIM swapping to complex scams involving AI voice cloning.
Social media platforms bring forth an unprecedented potential for fraud. Cybercriminals can glean personal information from users' behaviors, interests, likes, and comments on these platforms. Shared content often exposes data like birthdays, favorite teams, pets’ names, etc., which aids fraudsters in committing identity theft.
In our discussion, Jeremy pointed to the ‘big four’ in this area: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. Unfortunately, personal details shared on these platforms may potentially end up in a malicious actor's hands.
Dating apps have introduced another vector for fraud. An example case included an airman building a relationship on such an app, and was later blackmailed for money under the threat of sharing their private conversations and explicit pictures publicly.
Known as sexploitation, this type of fraud preys on the victim’s fear and love to milk out payments. Any platform enabling private interactions and image sharing may facilitate such scams.
Emerging technologies have brought in advanced and undetectable fraud tactics. Take, for instance, Bluetooth skimming – a refined version of card skimming fraud that no longer requires the physical retrieval of the skimming device. Fraudsters can merely drive within Bluetooth range and remotely download the harvested card data.
otably, you can find skimmers not only in gas pumps but also self-checkout stands, retail checkouts and even at local fairgrounds where someone asks to swipe your card.
Optimally protecting your financial identity requires a proactive and diligent approach:
- Check your financial statements and credit reports regularly: It’s essential to regularly review your credit reports readily available annually from AnnualCreditReport.com or other credit monitoring services. Meanwhile, consult your financial institution for accessing your statements electronically.
- Engage with your financial institution: Your bank or credit union should be more than willing to provide guidance regarding fraud prevention. Jeremy encourages Armed Forces Bank and Academy Bank clients, as well as the public, to use them as resources.
- Use cybersecurity tools: Use cybersecurity tools and credit monitoring services to preemptively detect potential breaches and promptly act upon them. Many financial institutions are providing identity theft protection within their products, like the Access Rewards Checking Account offered by Armed Forces Bank and Academy Bank.
- Be cautious on social media: Think twice before taking quizzes on social media platforms that may reveal potential password clues or openly participating in message threads that involve sharing personal experiences.
- Update contact information: Regularly updating your contact information with your bank ensures you can be reached promptly in case a suspicious transaction is noticed.
Remember, though technology lures us into the convenience of online transactions and digital banking, it simultaneously demands us to be extra cautious about our personal and financial security.
Jodi introduces the Military Minute segment of the show, beginning by closing out last episode’s Military Minute.
Tom closes the episode by asking listeners to go to www.afbank.com and subscribe to the show, as well as leave a rating and comment on your favorite podcast platform such as Apple Podcasts or Spotify.