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Learning Center Experience
By Stanley W. Self, Full-Time Faculty, Kaplan UniversityPublished December 2014
Two cases of financial
and credit card fraud are presented this month. Following those examples, some FAQs
are presented as possible steps that can be taken to minimize potential risk of
financial and credit card fraud.
can take many forms. The most notorious examples in recent memory include
Enron, WorldCom, and Bernie Madoff, among others. Sometimes, these crimes seem
too remote to be relevant to us. However, we all are affected either directly
might be defined as any theft that occurs when money or property is stolen or
used in an unlawful or dishonest manner. Financial crimes typically involve
deception and the abuse of trust and are usually not included as common theft
or robbery. But, some types of financial crimes do hit closer to home, such as credit
This first example
is typical of a growing problem with credit card transactions. And, the first
indication that a problem exists may be when a credit card holder has a card transaction
In the example, a credit
card holder went to make a credit card purchase but the card was declined. The
card holder immediately called the credit card company for an explanation.
The credit card
company representative told the card holder that there had been two very large
purchase attempts made on the card in Dubai. Further, the credit card company
representative stated emphatically that the transactions were not electronic in
nature. A physical credit card was used in an attempt to make a purchase at a
precious metals dealer in Dubai. That is, a physically forged credit card was actually
carried into a store and a standard purchase was attempted.
That meant that
not only was the legitimate cardholder’s information stolen, but the image was
used to create a replica of the actual card. Investigation yielded the process
used by the fraudsters.
In a previous transaction
at a restaurant by the true card holder, the legitimate credit card was
processed to purchase a meal; but a second, illicit reader was used to capture
the electronic information. In addition, a cell-phone was used to capture front
and back images of the credit card. All of the electronic and physical
information was sold to a forgery network. The credit card was duplicated and
by all appearances, was the actual credit card.
was fortunate because they were proactive and the credit card company was able
to recognize the unusual activity. Sometimes, action is taken too late to stop
an illegitimate transaction.
lived on a rural highway and had a USPS mandated mailbox in a location that
made its visibility difficult. The cardholder did not notice that a credit card
statement was late one month.
It was not until reviewing
the next moth’s statement that the cardholder discovered unusual transactions
exceeding $10,000 to a boarding school in England. The cardholder immediately
called the credit card company to dispute the charges but significant inconvenience
the process used to perpetrate this fraud:
By the time the
fraud was discovered, the ring operators had vanished. Although the cardholder
was eventually released from the debt, the unfortunate students were forced to
withdraw from the school and were returned, at the students’ expense, to
To learn more
about ways to protect yourself from financial or credit card fraud, visit the
Frequently Asked Questions.
W. Self is a full-time faculty member with Kaplan University. The views expressed in this
article are solely those of the author and do not represent the view of Kaplan
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By Stanley W. Self, CFE
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