Author Topic: Does your Net Worth make you a target for financial fraud?  (Read 4526 times)

BlueHouse

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Does your Net Worth make you a target for financial fraud?
« on: January 16, 2020, 10:12:34 AM »
I recently watched "The Guardians", a documentary about corruption in family courts, targeting the elderly to steal their income, assets, and real estate.  It was chilling how easily these court-appointed crooks could just "snatch up" old people and steal everything they have.    I'm currently helping my mom transition into a CCRC and I'm taking over all of her financial and banking responsibilities, and it's soooooo easy to impersonate someone you know well, especially when their memory starts to go. 

Do you think your net worth or your willingness to share financial details here or anywhere else, or your assets make you a target for any kind of financial fraud?  Do you think about what would happen to all of us if Vanguard were hacked? 

What steps do you take to minimize the risk or make yourself a smaller target?

 

BECABECA

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Re: Does your Net Worth make you a target for financial fraud?
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2020, 10:27:07 AM »
I have thought about what would happen if Vanguard were hacked, quite recently actually. They have a good fraud guarantee where they will reimburse you as long as you havenít given the fraudsters your password or permission to access your account:
https://personal.vanguard.com/us/help/SecurityOnlineFraudPledgeContent.jsp

Living a Mustachian lifestyle, I look less well off than an average person, so I donít think Iím a target of strangers. As for my family members, Iím giving them all advice on setting up vanguard accounts and how to invest and retirement planning, so soon everyone in my family will be pretty proficient. I find that when people have a clear path to financial security, they donít start getting extra creative about ways to illegally make money, since that would risk their current financial standing.

As for a family member impersonating me to access my vanguard account, at vanguard I have the voice recognition turned on as another factor in authorization, so that protects me from all but about two family members whose voices sound similar enough to mine that our Siri confuses us. So while not foolproof, itís reducing the pool of people who could potentially beat the authorization checks.

nereo

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Re: Does your Net Worth make you a target for financial fraud?
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2020, 10:31:16 AM »
First, people should understand that there is a wealth of information on you that's available to whomever is willing to pay a few bucks (actually up to about $115) to any of the major data-collecting agencies.  This typically includes obvious things like where you live, what you pay for rent/mortgage, who shares the home with you, what your job is (and often salary - particularly if its public sector) - but also all the data collected from all the rewards cards, cell phones, social media sites and web surfing.  Assuming you have a cell phone and/or a FB/Instagram and/or a computer and/or credit card they can distill how much you spend and on what, where you (or more specifically your phone) is in 6 second intervals, what you post about online.... and **then** what all the same information from your family, friends and colleagues. 

So there's little a stranger can't find out about you that someone who followed you around for several days also couldn't figure out.

Put another way, I don't share any details here that someone who knew my name couldn't find out with a few clicks.  It makes me worried for the future, and anyone who thinks they are smart enough to never fall for a scam is naive.  Anyone can spoof a number or email address to make it seem like a phone call is coming from someone you know, and it's becoming increasingly easy to impersonate someone's voice and even looks ("deepfakes"). 

My main defenses are to remain vigilant and skeptical.  I have a credit freeze which (allegedly) prevents anyone (including ymself) from opening an account for 30 days, and I periodically check my credit reports to look fro any suspicious activity.  Likewise, all my financial accounts have multi-week holds to prevent someone from lceaning out an account in a couple of hours.  If the systems work as they should I will be notified of the activity.  On that front, as much of a pain as it is, two-factor authentication helps a great deal, as it requires thieves to both know something specific (a password, my SS#) but also have access to something physical (my phone).

Never in history has there been a way to 100% protect yourself from bad actors.  The key IMO is to make it much harder to get money from you than it is from the average person.  As my assets go up that will make me more of a target, but hopefully if I keep making my assets harder to access than people with a similar amount of wealth I'll be ok.

BECABECA

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Re: Does your Net Worth make you a target for financial fraud?
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2020, 10:36:45 AM »
@nereo Iíve already got my credit frozen, but what is this multi-week hold on your financial accounts? Can you explain that, and how you set that up?

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Re: Does your Net Worth make you a target for financial fraud?
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2020, 10:58:07 AM »
@nereo Iíve already got my credit frozen, but what is this multi-week hold on your financial accounts? Can you explain that, and how you set that up?

You basically talk to whomever your brokerage is to set it up.  In my case it is VG - and I have an automatic 30 day hold on any disbursements from any of our investment accounts.  If I (or anyone else) tries to sell shares from any of my accounts it triggers an automatic hold, and I'm notified both in writing and via email about the pending transfer. 

It's basically designed to prevent someone from learning my password and a few details about me (none of which are terribly hard to get for someone determined to do so) and emptying out my accounts before I could notice.

The downside of course is that - should I need to make a very large purchase I need to think a few weeks ahead.  But we have credit cards and an e-fund and a typically a surplus of cash each pay period, so it's never been an issue for us.

BECABECA

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Re: Does your Net Worth make you a target for financial fraud?
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2020, 11:12:43 AM »
@nereo Iíve already got my credit frozen, but what is this multi-week hold on your financial accounts? Can you explain that, and how you set that up?

You basically talk to whomever your brokerage is to set it up.  In my case it is VG - and I have an automatic 30 day hold on any disbursements from any of our investment accounts.  If I (or anyone else) tries to sell shares from any of my accounts it triggers an automatic hold, and I'm notified both in writing and via email about the pending transfer. 

It's basically designed to prevent someone from learning my password and a few details about me (none of which are terribly hard to get for someone determined to do so) and emptying out my accounts before I could notice.

The downside of course is that - should I need to make a very large purchase I need to think a few weeks ahead.  But we have credit cards and an e-fund and a typically a surplus of cash each pay period, so it's never been an issue for us.

Thanks for the info!

YttriumNitrate

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Re: Does your Net Worth make you a target for financial fraud?
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2020, 12:31:53 PM »
Do you think your net worth or your willingness to share financial details here or anywhere else, or your assets make you a target for any kind of financial fraud?  Do you think about what would happen to all of us if Vanguard were hacked?  What steps do you take to minimize the risk or make yourself a smaller target?

No, I don't think it makes me a target. Viewing it from the opposite perspective, if I was looking for a place to scam people I would stay away from forums like this one where the level of financial savvy seems to be higher than average. Religious forums, vacation related forums, and AARP type forums would be much better.

RWTL

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Re: Does your Net Worth make you a target for financial fraud?
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2020, 10:02:13 AM »
I'm not so much afraid of fraud in my current situation.  I keep very secure passwords and am cautious about business transactions - never give out information on inbound calls.  I'm slightly concerned that as I grow older, I may become a target. 

DW and I were walking around the Tampa RV show this week and overheard a number of young salesman with some aggressive language towards older folks.  It made me wonder if I will have less ability to critically think or make judgement errors during a time when my net worth is likely the highest and my ability to go back to work is the lowest.



orcateeth

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Re: Does your Net Worth make you a target for financial fraud?
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2020, 10:10:27 PM »
Yes, because I'm a public employee, and anyone who knows my real name can Google it and my salary comes up. I really don't like this, but I have no choice. I feel kind of naked and uncomfortable.

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Retire-Canada

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Re: Does your Net Worth make you a target for financial fraud?
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2020, 06:29:23 AM »
Do you think your net worth or your willingness to share financial details here or anywhere else, or your assets make you a target for any kind of financial fraud?  D

I don't see the type of scammer that seems to be common connecting my MMM persona with my IRL identity to start scamming me. Seems like way too much work. Even if they did which of the current scams that are going around would I be vulnerable to? I can't think of any as I am at peak cognition and fairly high on the various intelligence scales for the human population. Finally the majority of my net worth is not easily available to transfer. ~85% of my NW is home equity or registered retirement accounts and the remaining 15% is taxable account. Even the taxable accounts are fully invested so accessing that value is not trivial. I keep under $300 in my wallet and bank account.

Now in 30 years when VR and other tech is common place perhaps a much older version of myself would be vulnerable, but for the moment I feel pretty safe. I doubt this forum will exist in 30 years.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2020, 07:23:00 AM by Retire-Canada »

LWYRUP

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Re: Does your Net Worth make you a target for financial fraud?
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2020, 06:56:17 AM »

I do worry about this, and I talk about my networth in an opaque manner.  (e.g., we have saved a lot but are not yet FIRE due to living expenses, etc. or this year our investments provided more than our living expenses but wouldn't in a different economy.  Or I say I live in "expensive city" in most threads but not where.)  If someone obsessively followed me around they could probably figure things out, but the goal is to mostly make sure I am not an easy target. 

I use two-factor authentication whenever I can, most notably with my e-mail.  That's the biggest protection and I have gotten e-mails about someone trying to access varying accounts but failing.  With two-factor authentication, even if they hacked my password they can't get in, so that gives me comfort.  I have thought about creating a separate e-mail so that certain websites / people only have my secondary e-mail and not one also linked with important accounts.  I probably should do that.

My parents have friends whose parents were scammed out of literally millions.  Multiple people.  It becomes very hard when people get older, and they have a lot of assets but they are slowing down in terms of their ability to handle themselves.  There are evil people who know this, and they target wealthy, elderly people for this reason.  (They are less interested in financially savy 30 year olds trying to get their first million, which is probably the average person on this forum.)  I think it would be prudent for people in their 60s to start planning for this before it happens so they protect themselves and their families. 

I use personal capital and sometimes it makes me uncomfortable, but on the other hand because I check it frequently I would be more likely to notice a discrepancy in one of my underlying accounts.  So on balance it may actually reduce the risk of fraud rather than raise it. 

DaMa

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Re: Does your Net Worth make you a target for financial fraud?
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2020, 07:35:06 AM »
@nereo Iíve already got my credit frozen, but what is this multi-week hold on your financial accounts? Can you explain that, and how you set that up?

You basically talk to whomever your brokerage is to set it up.  In my case it is VG - and I have an automatic 30 day hold on any disbursements from any of our investment accounts.  If I (or anyone else) tries to sell shares from any of my accounts it triggers an automatic hold, and I'm notified both in writing and via email about the pending transfer. 

It's basically designed to prevent someone from learning my password and a few details about me (none of which are terribly hard to get for someone determined to do so) and emptying out my accounts before I could notice.

The downside of course is that - should I need to make a very large purchase I need to think a few weeks ahead.  But we have credit cards and an e-fund and a typically a surplus of cash each pay period, so it's never been an issue for us.

Thanks for the info!

+1  I'm going to be calling Vanguard and Fidelity on Monday.

iris lily

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Re: Does your Net Worth make you a target for financial fraud?
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2020, 11:39:06 AM »
Ptf

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Re: Does your Net Worth make you a target for financial fraud?
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2020, 08:42:19 AM »
I worry alot about getting scammed as I get older for two reasons (1) I know I'll be more susceptible, it's just a fact of aging, and (2) at the rate technology is advancing, the difference between real and fake is narrowing.

I worry that I've put enough about myself on this forum that someone who knows me in real life would recognize me, but that's more from a concern of divulging something that I wouldn't tell someone face-to-face (I doubt I would tell anyone my net worth for example, or my salary).

I don't worry that the scammers are on here trying to glean anything....now I'm worrying that I should be worrying.....  :-)

damyst

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Re: Does your Net Worth make you a target for financial fraud?
« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2020, 11:43:15 PM »
First, people should understand that there is a wealth of information on you that's available to whomever is willing to pay a few bucks (actually up to about $115) to any of the major data-collecting agencies.  This typically includes obvious things like where you live, what you pay for rent/mortgage, who shares the home with you, what your job is (and often salary - particularly if its public sector) - but also all the data collected from all the rewards cards, cell phones, social media sites and web surfing.  Assuming you have a cell phone and/or a FB/Instagram and/or a computer and/or credit card they can distill how much you spend and on what, where you (or more specifically your phone) is in 6 second intervals, what you post about online.... and **then** what all the same information from your family, friends and colleagues. 

Can you give some examples of agencies that would provide this granularity of information for a fee? Some of the data you described is clearly protected, and its leakage into the public sphere is kind of a big deal.
State actors will have this data, and black-hat hackers will occasionally get access to a some parts of it, but I strongly doubt that any above-board operator would be selling your purchase history or geolocation info to unrelated parties for a fee.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2020, 01:52:31 AM by damyst »

nereo

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Re: Does your Net Worth make you a target for financial fraud?
« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2020, 05:16:00 AM »
First, people should understand that there is a wealth of information on you that's available to whomever is willing to pay a few bucks (actually up to about $115) to any of the major data-collecting agencies.  This typically includes obvious things like where you live, what you pay for rent/mortgage, who shares the home with you, what your job is (and often salary - particularly if its public sector) - but also all the data collected from all the rewards cards, cell phones, social media sites and web surfing.  Assuming you have a cell phone and/or a FB/Instagram and/or a computer and/or credit card they can distill how much you spend and on what, where you (or more specifically your phone) is in 6 second intervals, what you post about online.... and **then** what all the same information from your family, friends and colleagues. 

Can you give some examples of agencies that would provide this granularity of information for a fee? Some of the data you described is clearly protected, and its leakage into the public sphere is kind of a big deal.
State actors will have this data, and black-hat hackers will occasionally get access to a some parts of it, but I strongly doubt that any above-board operator would be selling your purchase history or geolocation info to unrelated parties for a fee.

Take a look at any of the major data-brokers, including Acxiom, Corelogic (formerly ID Analytics), Epsiolon and even Experian, plus the more familiar social media sites like Facebook (which keeps files even on non-users).    Due to the latest DOJ settlement Facebook has to provide you with all the info they've collected on you.  Google offers a similar service, and includes info from all the searches and internet shopping you've done .  All of these companies share your personal data wth other companies, and your information is all for sale without your consent or knowledge. 
in order for your cell phone to work your provider tracks where your phone is - otherwise you couldn't connect to send or receive calls. And if you have features lke Google Maps on your phone, it also tracks where you are continuously - obstensibly to allow it to quickly give you directions and recommendations to places near you.  This happens even when you turn off "Location History" and despite Google's claim that "your location will not be stored"

BlueHouse

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Re: Does your Net Worth make you a target for financial fraud?
« Reply #16 on: January 27, 2020, 12:43:50 PM »
First, people should understand that there is a wealth of information on you that's available to whomever is willing to pay a few bucks (actually up to about $115) to any of the major data-collecting agencies.  This typically includes obvious things like where you live, what you pay for rent/mortgage, who shares the home with you, what your job is (and often salary - particularly if its public sector) - but also all the data collected from all the rewards cards, cell phones, social media sites and web surfing.  Assuming you have a cell phone and/or a FB/Instagram and/or a computer and/or credit card they can distill how much you spend and on what, where you (or more specifically your phone) is in 6 second intervals, what you post about online.... and **then** what all the same information from your family, friends and colleagues. 

Can you give some examples of agencies that would provide this granularity of information for a fee? Some of the data you described is clearly protected, and its leakage into the public sphere is kind of a big deal.
State actors will have this data, and black-hat hackers will occasionally get access to a some parts of it, but I strongly doubt that any above-board operator would be selling your purchase history or geolocation info to unrelated parties for a fee.

Take a look at any of the major data-brokers, including Acxiom, Corelogic (formerly ID Analytics), Epsiolon and even Experian, plus the more familiar social media sites like Facebook (which keeps files even on non-users).    Due to the latest DOJ settlement Facebook has to provide you with all the info they've collected on you.  Google offers a similar service, and includes info from all the searches and internet shopping you've done .  All of these companies share your personal data wth other companies, and your information is all for sale without your consent or knowledge. 
in order for your cell phone to work your provider tracks where your phone is - otherwise you couldn't connect to send or receive calls. And if you have features lke Google Maps on your phone, it also tracks where you are continuously - obstensibly to allow it to quickly give you directions and recommendations to places near you.  This happens even when you turn off "Location History" and despite Google's claim that "your location will not be stored"
yep.  My [close family member] works for ****, a Geospatial Information Systems company.   Family member [FM] has demonstrated to law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and DHS instances where they "draw a circle" around a building that they're interested in.  They use cell phone data to determine who's there, then build webs from each person to their social media accounts, their phone records, their location services, public property databases, etc.  In the demo, they identify not only who is in the building at the time they are watching, but every person in contact with that person.  So they know that "individual-1" may have traveled from the office building to his home address 6 times in 6 days, to a school that has 2 students that ind-1 is "friends" with on SM, frequent telephone calls to another number that also shares these two SM friends and who also is listed on the tax database.  In those 6 seconds, law enforcement just found out who is in the building, where he lives, who he is married to, where his children attend school, etc.  That seems pretty innocent until YOU"RE the person they decide to target during the demo.  The LEO were picking their jaws up off the floor. 

Lucky13

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Re: Does your Net Worth make you a target for financial fraud?
« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2020, 12:55:22 PM »
Thanks for the tips, I will take more steps to protect myself after reading this. Living in the U.S., personally I'm also worried about the prospect of being sued (e.g. bogus claim by someone who knows my net worth) so I got an "umbrella" insurance policy. I know its one of the core frugality principles to not get unnecessary insurance, but sometimes I feel like it's worth it to protect my assets.   

damyst

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Re: Does your Net Worth make you a target for financial fraud?
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2020, 12:52:53 AM »
First, people should understand that there is a wealth of information on you that's available to whomever is willing to pay a few bucks (actually up to about $115) to any of the major data-collecting agencies.  This typically includes obvious things like where you live, what you pay for rent/mortgage, who shares the home with you, what your job is (and often salary - particularly if its public sector) - but also all the data collected from all the rewards cards, cell phones, social media sites and web surfing.  Assuming you have a cell phone and/or a FB/Instagram and/or a computer and/or credit card they can distill how much you spend and on what, where you (or more specifically your phone) is in 6 second intervals, what you post about online.... and **then** what all the same information from your family, friends and colleagues. 

Can you give some examples of agencies that would provide this granularity of information for a fee? Some of the data you described is clearly protected, and its leakage into the public sphere is kind of a big deal.
State actors will have this data, and black-hat hackers will occasionally get access to a some parts of it, but I strongly doubt that any above-board operator would be selling your purchase history or geolocation info to unrelated parties for a fee.

Take a look at any of the major data-brokers, including Acxiom, Corelogic (formerly ID Analytics), Epsiolon and even Experian, plus the more familiar social media sites like Facebook (which keeps files even on non-users).    Due to the latest DOJ settlement Facebook has to provide you with all the info they've collected on you.  Google offers a similar service, and includes info from all the searches and internet shopping you've done .  All of these companies share your personal data wth other companies, and your information is all for sale without your consent or knowledge. 
in order for your cell phone to work your provider tracks where your phone is - otherwise you couldn't connect to send or receive calls. And if you have features lke Google Maps on your phone, it also tracks where you are continuously - obstensibly to allow it to quickly give you directions and recommendations to places near you.  This happens even when you turn off "Location History" and despite Google's claim that "your location will not be stored"
yep.  My [close family member] works for ****, a Geospatial Information Systems company.   Family member [FM] has demonstrated to law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and DHS instances where they "draw a circle" around a building that they're interested in.  They use cell phone data to determine who's there, then build webs from each person to their social media accounts, their phone records, their location services, public property databases, etc.  In the demo, they identify not only who is in the building at the time they are watching, but every person in contact with that person.  So they know that "individual-1" may have traveled from the office building to his home address 6 times in 6 days, to a school that has 2 students that ind-1 is "friends" with on SM, frequent telephone calls to another number that also shares these two SM friends and who also is listed on the tax database.  In those 6 seconds, law enforcement just found out who is in the building, where he lives, who he is married to, where his children attend school, etc.  That seems pretty innocent until YOU"RE the person they decide to target during the demo.  The LEO were picking their jaws up off the floor.

Sounds like your family member works for Palantir or some similar outfit.

All the companies mentioned above fall into one of these categories:
  • Companies that provide great granular analytics to customers where the customers are the ones providing the data (law enforcement, national defense agencies).
  • Companies that own a bunch of data and sell access to anonymized aggregates of that data for a fee.
  • Companies that own a bunch of data that they use internally for their marketing / advertising efforts.
We still don't have an example of a company that will sell granular, personally identifiable information "to whomever is willing to pay a few bucks (actually up to about $115)".
And we won't, because such a company will be getting a visit from the FBI within a week of opening up shop.

Is there too much data about us out there? Sure.
Are governments and corporations using it in ways that ought to be illegal? Absolutely.
But it's not true to say that our personal information is available to anyone willing to pay.

nereo

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Re: Does your Net Worth make you a target for financial fraud?
« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2020, 08:53:38 AM »
Iím not sure what else you want, @damyst.  The personal privacy laws within the US are notoriously lax - in fact itís one of the sticking points in trade with US companies that want to operate within the E.U. (Which actually has more thorough privacy standards).

We do deep background check on senior positions all the time - many companies do as part of their vetting process.  And the important part is itís perfectly legal. And as a consumer in the US you are leaving digital bread-crumbs everywhere you go... from ďfreeĒ rewards cards to your cell phone to your browser history.  As I noted earlier there are a dozen large private companies that harvest your personal data and sell it for a profit.  THatís their entire business model.  Who do you think there selling it to?  )(answer: whomever wants to pay for it). 

damyst

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Re: Does your Net Worth make you a target for financial fraud?
« Reply #20 on: February 19, 2020, 09:25:38 AM »
Iím not sure what else you want, @damyst.

I want a discourse grounded in facts rather than misinformation and FUD.

Quote
We do deep background check on senior positions all the time - many companies do as part of their vetting process.  And the important part is itís perfectly legal.


Nobody is selling you geolocation data or purchase history for your candidates as part of the vetting process.

Quote

And as a consumer in the US you are leaving digital bread-crumbs everywhere you go... from ďfreeĒ rewards cards to your cell phone to your browser history.  As I noted earlier there are a dozen large private companies that harvest your personal data and sell it for a profit.  THatís their entire business model.  Who do you think there selling it to?  )(answer: whomever wants to pay for it).

We have no disagreement on that part. I provided some detail about that business model in my previous comment. I'd like to see much better data privacy regulations in North America, but we're not going to get there by misrepresenting the status quo.

damyst

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Re: Does your Net Worth make you a target for financial fraud?
« Reply #21 on: February 19, 2020, 09:36:38 AM »
I'm also concerned that readers of this thread would conclude that there's no point trying to protect their information, since it's all out there anyway. That would be a disservice to the community.

You don't need to protect your information from infiltration by the NSA or the Chinese PLA (unless you're trying to overthrow one of those respective regimes). You need to protect it to the extent that people who are able to access it would have more valuable targets to spend their resources on. The bigger your stash is, the more protection it deserves.

nereo

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Re: Does your Net Worth make you a target for financial fraud?
« Reply #22 on: February 19, 2020, 11:58:58 AM »

And as a consumer in the US you are leaving digital bread-crumbs everywhere you go... from ďfreeĒ rewards cards to your cell phone to your browser history.  As I noted earlier there are a dozen large private companies that harvest your personal data and sell it for a profit.  THatís their entire business model.  Who do you think there selling it to?  )(answer: whomever wants to pay for it).

We have no disagreement on that part. I provided some detail about that business model in my previous comment. I'd like to see much better data privacy regulations in North America, but we're not going to get there by misrepresenting the status quo.

Again - Iím not really sure where the disagreement lies then.  You seem to acknowledge that data is constantly being collected and that our digital privacy laws (at least in the US) are severely lacking - but you donít seem to accept that those date are being sold...?

Weíve had whole threads on this and a few more concrete examples above.  The 2016 election is a small window into what was possible four years ago; The RNC had a digital background on virtually every single voter with over 3,000 data points on each person. It included specific information like your age, address and close family member, and also where you were most likely to shop, what your favorite sports and sports team were and whether you had traveled outside the country.

If you want to know specifically about geolocation data - The NY Times had an entire expose on this very subject a couple months ago ([img= https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/12/19/opinion/location-tracking-cell-phone.html]http://Link[/img]), part of their digital ďPrivacy ProjectĒ. Whatís significant is the Times got these data simply by going to a data company that specializes in geolocation services, and they legally bought all this info. By-and-large individual data points of where someone was months ago arenít terribly useful, which is precisely where big data and data mining comes in.  As an entry-level example, by looking at frequency of occurrence one can deduce whether you are more likely to shop at Walmart or Target, and whether you tend to run errands in the evening or over the weekend

You may have skimmed over my earlier comments entirely.  I, too, do not want to give the impression that itís futile to take steps to protect your financial assets.  In fact, Iíve argued against that.  But, people need to understand that there is already a wealth of information about them out there and available to anyone who cares to look. So the methods to protect yourself canít rely on hiding personal information, and the driving reason why roughly 10MM Americans have their identities token each year.  Instead you need to take steps like never duplicating passcodes, using two-factor authentication, and placing credit freezes and transaction freezes whenever practical.  Periodic monitoring of your credit report is also prudent. In short, you donít (and canít!) make your digital life impregnable - but so long as you arenít an easier target than most people of your net worth you will probably be ok.

damyst

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Re: Does your Net Worth make you a target for financial fraud?
« Reply #23 on: February 20, 2020, 09:04:41 AM »
Weíve had whole threads on this and a few more concrete examples above.  The 2016 election is a small window into what was possible four years ago; The RNC had a digital background on virtually every single voter with over 3,000 data points on each person. It included specific information like your age, address and close family member, and also where you were most likely to shop, what your favorite sports and sports team were and whether you had traveled outside the country.

Well yes, and as we all remember that turned into a pretty massive scandal, with Congressional hearings, new legislation and regulations etc. The fallout from that is still ongoing.
I'm not saying this kind of thing doesn't happen. I'm objecting to your characterization of this situation as routine.

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If you want to know specifically about geolocation data - The NY Times had an entire expose on this very subject a couple months ago ([img= https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/12/19/opinion/location-tracking-cell-phone.html]http://Link[/img]), part of their digital ďPrivacy ProjectĒ.

Thanks for the very interesting read!

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Whatís significant is the Times got these data simply by going to a data company that specializes in geolocation services, and they legally bought all this info.

Where are you getting this? Here's what the article actually says about the source of the data:

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The data was provided to Times Opinion by sources who asked to remain anonymous because they were not authorized to share it and could face severe penalties for doing so.

If you manage to go out and legally purchase any individual person's geolocation history, then trace it back to the identity of that person, I will gladly refund you double what you paid up to $230 :-)

nereo

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Re: Does your Net Worth make you a target for financial fraud?
« Reply #24 on: February 20, 2020, 10:20:24 AM »
The amount of data that the RNC/Trump campaign had on all registered voters was indeed a shock to many - but it didnít result in any new federal regulations.. This is an industry largely devoid of federal regulations.  In fact, with regards to the RNC, they have actually expanded their digital database for the 2020 election, meaning they have even more data on people than before.  And likewise the DNC is doing similar things, though their digital operations (AFAWK) is not as extensive or sophisticated.

Is this commonplace?  Iíd argue strongly that it is, and the more we learn the more we see how extensive it is.  FBís latest settlement with the DOJ came about only because they continued to sell userís data after they had opted out (denied consent).  As part of the settlement FB had to Ďpeel back the curtainí for those the requested it and show all the information FB had and who it had been sold to - in many cases it was hundreds of pages which had been sold dozens of times to various brokers in just a six month time period.

Likewise ATT & Verizon have been selling geolocation data for years, and have only stumbled into legal jeopardy because they were doing it even when Ďgeolocation servicesí were turned off on users phones (cell phone towers can provide that data to, and are required for the phone to function properly).

As for the article  - if you read deeper into their Privacy Files you can see that the TImes obtained this one data file legally from a data broker.  The help they obtained was to obfuscate the fact that they were doing investigative reporting, but nothing they did was illegal, or terribly hard to accomplish. 

That $115 figure I cited early on wasnít just a number I pulled out of my hat.  Thatís what my own organization pays to run background checks on all senior-level hires as part of the vetting process.  The reports we get verify everything from criminal record to previous addresses, employers, credit reports, close relatives.  As part of it HR gets a Ďconsumer summaryí which summarizes the candidates likely viewpoints on a variety of issues.  Per company policy this is private information and only available to a select few in HR, but the hires can view their file, and I viewed mine.  We also content to a background check as part of our hire, though thereís no legal requirement that we get consent before running a check (we donít).  It was a bit eye-opening what a simple, routine request could provide.  Not all the information was 100% accurate, but more of it was accurate than not.

damyst

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Re: Does your Net Worth make you a target for financial fraud?
« Reply #25 on: February 21, 2020, 11:28:03 PM »
As for the article  - if you read deeper into their Privacy Files you can see that the TImes obtained this one data file legally from a data broker.  The help they obtained was to obfuscate the fact that they were doing investigative reporting, but nothing they did was illegal, or terribly hard to accomplish. 

I have now read most of the article series and have not found any such mention, so I would appreciate a more exact reference please.

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That $115 figure I cited early on wasnít just a number I pulled out of my hat.  Thatís what my own organization pays to run background checks on all senior-level hires as part of the vetting process.  The reports we get verify everything from criminal record to previous addresses, employers, credit reports, close relatives.  As part of it HR gets a Ďconsumer summaryí which summarizes the candidates likely viewpoints on a variety of issues.

This is just a normal background check..? They are nothing new. I must have done them six times over the years for immigration permits, work placements, security clearances etc. And BTW if you think this is intrusive, try living in a small village sometime. Or in a mid-century working class neighbourhood. We modern city dwellers are accustomed a degree of privacy that's unprecedented in human history.

As a reminder, this is what you wrote at the beginning of this exchange:

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First, people should understand that there is a wealth of information on you that's available to whomever is willing to pay a few bucks (actually up to about $115) to any of the major data-collecting agencies.  This typically includes obvious things [...] but also all the data collected from all the rewards cards, cell phones, social media sites and web surfing.  Assuming you have a cell phone and/or a FB/Instagram and/or a computer and/or credit card they can distill how much you spend and on what, where you (or more specifically your phone) is in 6 second intervals, what you post about online.... and **then** what all the same information from your family, friends and colleagues.

This is false. No one can pay a fee to obtain *your* location history, credit card statements, or phone call metadata. What The Times did was an exercise in deanonymizing a large dataset. It's certainly concerning that they were able to do so, but an organization with the required resources would be deploying them going after bigger fish than you or me.

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Re: Does your Net Worth make you a target for financial fraud?
« Reply #26 on: February 22, 2020, 07:11:04 AM »
Youíve clearly got some cognitive dissonance on this subject, and no amount of examples or explanation seems adequate to rid you of it. Clearly weíve agreed on at least the following
  • There is a vast amount of data being collected on individuals
  • this data is bought and sold by data brokers
  • It is not difficult to buy such data, regardless of your intentions
  • Federal privacy laws are woefully lacking

Consider that identify thieves arenít likely to start with one target and then dig up all the information on them they can.  Rather, they start with thousands if not millions, and then filter those to get a very specific demographic (e.g. widowed white males over 65 with assets above $1MM with accounts in MMM bankĒ.  At that point - as explained ad nauseam - they have all the aforementioned digital information.  The Privacy Files article should have made that abundantly clear.  Targeted data requests, such as the ones I mentioned, do provide far more information than most people realize.

At the heart of your argument seems to be this idea that strangers donít already have or canít get all this private information about you.  Sorry, but your data is already out there, and at present there are no laws or tools to prevent it.

damyst

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Re: Does your Net Worth make you a target for financial fraud?
« Reply #27 on: February 22, 2020, 08:00:15 AM »
Thanks for the ad hominem. That's correct, I'm saying that some parts of the data you explicitly claim to be "out there" simply aren't, as a general rule.

Let me know when you find that reference I asked for.

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Re: Does your Net Worth make you a target for financial fraud?
« Reply #28 on: February 22, 2020, 08:19:24 AM »
I recently watched "The Guardians", a documentary about corruption in family courts, targeting the elderly to steal their income, assets, and real estate.  It was chilling how easily these court-appointed crooks could just "snatch up" old people and steal everything they have. 

This has come up on this forum before.  Here are some links relevant to the discussion:

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/now-this-scares-the-crap-out-of-me/

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/court-appointed-guardian-system-failing-elderly_us_59d3f70be4b06226e3f44d4e

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nG2pEffLEJo

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/10/09/how-the-elderly-lose-their-rights

https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=228930

https://www.nextavenue.org/guardianship-u-s-protection-exploitation/

https://stopguardianabuse.org