Phone fraud is on the rise and don’t fall for it.  From fake credit card offering to lower your credit rate to Microsoft calling to say you have downloaded a virus.   Many people get phone calls from scammers, what most people don’t realize is the number calling them may not be real either.   The number that shows up on your phone is called the Caller Id number or CID.  This information can easily be manipulated or even changed to whatever the caller wants it to say.phone1

What the criminals want is either your credit card number or checking account number. Some want access to your computer so they can install a program to get directly into your bank or retirement accounts and steal your money.

Many people don’t understand the banking systems and forget that many times that individual retirement and business accounts do not fall under the protection of the FDIC.  A criminal can wipe anyone out.  Many rich people have found this out the hard way; by trusting one of the major identify theft services.  Many of them tout that they have insurance but their own limits are quite low as some of their wealth clients found.  A court filing for a loss totaling more than 50 million dollars is still in dispute the contract covers up to 1 million in loss.

Criminals connecting to office systems are looking for customer records and usually these attack are very targeted. Before you assume you don’t have any data anyone would want. If you collect name, dates of birth address and social security number you have all the key information needed to create fake identification.

In January of 2013 a company out of Canada was accused of realizing a malware infection, and then having employees call companies infected to remove the application.  There have yet to be any arrests in the cases.  Many times there is not enough complaints to law enforcement agencies to cause any type of action let alone across international borders.

The information that crooks look for are anything of value.  Many offices keep contact information for their customers in e-mails, and in databases.  Many firms regularly collect dates of birth, home address and social security numbers of its clients.   This type of information is the golden egg for identity thieves; worse many of these small companies don’t report to news papers their loss of information.  Fearing the negative repercussions, of their lack of security.

What business many times find even after losing control of their information on their computers, that the credit card protections that consumes enjoy are not available to business credit card accounts.   Grace payment periods and amounts of liability are just two of the protections available for consumers but not for business credit cards.

What you can do is bring this up at your next office meeting and inform your fellow employees of the problem.  Don’t allow anyone to have access to your computer or your company’s customer lists.

Trip Elix is a public speaker and author and has been published in several newspapers and blogs. His website is  

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