New and old frauds

Interesting story about a fraud targeting American home owners, linked from

There are a number of aspects of this story that make it very newsworthy. Firstly, the ease with which criminals made use of publicly available information, including fee-based Web databases, to obtain all the data they needed to perform identity fraud. Secondly, the sophistication of the attack which made use of caller-id spoofing and the transferring of telephone lines. Thirdly, the fact that the banks involved fell for the scam – in spite of increasingly sophisticated analytical controls designed to detect the likelihood of fraud being committed – and transferred hundreds of thousands of dollars to overseas bank accounts.

For all the sophistication of that fraud, it’s interesting to read that some of the old tricks are also still working. A quick search of the LexisNexis database turned up an article published a few months ago detailing a cheque based fraud sounding remarkably similar to that made famous by Frank Abignale back in the 1960s.

Two ends of the same scale in terms of sophistication, both with the same outcome, and both worked.