The hazard warning line-up

Mar 12, 2020

Pinning down a one-size-fits-all profile of a fraudster can be tricky. But there are a few serial offenders. Can you spot these six typical financial-crime perpetrators?

The Insider
Usually in a position of trust, the strategically placed insider is feeding business and security intelligence to their criminal network, whether willingly or under sufferance. While the insider might not be the direct attacker, they will be responsible for weakening defences, turning a blind eye to attacks or even making good use of some free security training.

The Money Launderer
Usually working as part of a group, the money launderer’s networks could be vast and far-reaching, vanishing into thin air when pressed. Know them by their reticence in providing information (what they do supply is often incomplete or inconsistent). They may also make unusual or unpredictable transactions.

The Cyber Criminal
The cyber criminal could be operating as part of an organised gang or as a lone wolf. They could be feeding the intelligence gathered to wider networks carrying out the attacks. Personal motivation (theft, disruption, activism) is key here, so the profile can vary greatly.

The Organised Criminal
This attacker could be involved in various operations, with money laundering and fraud linked to serious crimes such as drugs trading and people trafficking. Warning signs include heavy credit-card use or large deposits in unusual places. The organised criminal will have fingers in various illegal pies, with an extensive network of hackers, underworld criminals and, possibly, insider fraudsters. These criminals may also be linked to a more sophisticated orchestration with nation-state sponsorship.

The Early Adopter
The early adopter is able to make use of any new tech available to carry out their crime. Because they are so tech-savvy, they are always one step ahead of the game. Their methods could include anything from mobile takeovers and video scams to AI-enabled fraud and biometric hijack. The moment the crime is discovered and thwarted, they’re on to the next new thing.

The Retro Fraudster
While we’re all marching ahead, this old-school criminal has realised that we’re neglecting to look behind us. While technology has developed apace, with consumers increasingly good at recognising commonly known scams, they could be reducing their vigilance in other areas. This retro fraudster runs Ponzi schemes, bounces cheques and creates fake jobs. The sums involved are often small enough to pass undetected. Digital technology can update and facilitate some of the oldest tricks in the book.

(Editor's Note: The article was written by Michael Farr; original article here. Reposted with permission.)

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