Sunday, October 25, 2009

Be Careful What You Tell!

Despite all of my life's grand scale of adversities and a few afflictions that saw me on pinned on God's mat in 2007, I have always maintained an overly at times, optimistic outlook.

Last week I had close to $500 fraudulently taken out of my bank account by a sophisticated scam. I noticed it hours just after it happened and called the bank to get answers. After no explanations, I drove to the branch and signed some papers to declare that it was not me or anyone I knew that removed funds. The money had been taken out via a telephone bank transfer, and I was told days latter that this is not new, nor is it uncommon.
It seems that many of us that embrace the social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Plaxo, Linkedin, and in some cases those of us who share stories of the personal nature on blogs, are giving out enough clues for sophisticated cyber criminals to figure out important pieces of information to claim to be "us".

We leave trails every day, and I always thought that those "things" only happen in movies and to those "other" people that don't practice safe banking habits etc.
Not so.
I do bank on-line and purchase the odd ticket on line. This is not how my fraud was perpetrated. I had criminals that somehow got enough information to go on to the automated telephone banking service and transfer just under $500 to someplace that I have yet to figure out or be told.

Think about it: How many times do we drop information about us in our day to day stuff?
To get passwords at times, many organizations ask us the secret question that only we would know: "What is your Mothers maiden name?"
Now think about how easy that is to find out in one of the many places where we chat/frequent/visit/leave messages etc.

Anyway, the bank is making good, and I am a little more careful things I write in the places I go.
The first question that the security folks from the bank asked me is if I post on facebook.

Makes ya think what you write about, and who is reading it. I naively believed that unless you were my "friend" there was nothing you could see about me. Man is that wrong I am told.
Anyway, a new experience that gives me yet another look at a changing world.

I heard a story about a couple that were excited about a weekend away in celebration of an anniversary. Like we all do they posted their "status" on Facebook to let the world know their excitement.
"Bob and I are excited to be leaving this morning for Niagara on the lake for the weekend"
They came home on the Sunday night to find their house emptied of all the electronics.

A business colleague of mine was going away on a week long get a way with his wife a few years ago. They ordered some furniture from a national chain.
The trucking company that delivers for the chain phoned to advise them that their sofa was to be delivered in a few days.
My colleague's wife pipes up, "But we are going to Barbados for two weeks and will not be back until..."
Arrived home to an empty house.
Neighbours thought they were moving!

For every security option their is a better scam.
For every mousetrap there is smarter mouse.

As I started to write in this post, I am still optimistic that the world is OK.
I like this place and find a lot more good people than not so good.
I am not naieve, I just hold out hope that the human spirit is wonderful, and I know that there will always be that element of evil and bad that takes from us. Robs us of our possessions for the sake of a lazy way of getting ahead or just surviving.

I just have to be more careful.




Government Funded Blogger said...

Thanks for posting this Dave Its a good warning for all of us online denizens. Happy that you recovered your funds

Trust no one is the watchword and its a damn shame that its come to this.

Tom Hannon said...

David: before I retired I had this on my old website: "You go through life dropping little tidbits of data about yourself everywhere. Following right after are big vacuum cleaners sucking them up." Evan Hendricks, Editor of Privacy Times

And I was in the vacuum business. Although retired I still keep up with the business I was in for 35+ years, now I get stuff on feeds. If ya want to read some interesting stuff go here:

"If 6 was 9" Jimi Hendrix 1967

Lori said...

Thanks for sharing this information. I just cannot imagine anyone doing things like this but I know these people are out there. I like to believe that there are far more good people then those that want to inflict pain or hurt. I hope to stick to that belief as long as I can!
Anyways, thanks for the reminder about being careful!

Green said...

I used to have a next-door neighbor who was retired from the FBI. He wrote a book about protecting yourself and your home. One of the things I remember from his book was that you should brag about your trip AFTER you return, not BEFORE you go. You're supposed to tell the fewest people possible when going on a trip.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

You are right, of course. It is easy for someone with evil intent to collect dropped bits here and there. I still choose to be positive, but I will probably be a little more careful.