The Fraud Examiner

Coronavirus and the New Age of Fraud
 

Linda Miller, CFE, Principal, Fraud Risk Management, Grant Thornton, LLP, and Kurtis Minder, CEO of GroupSense

Even before the coronavirus phenomenon, the unfortunate reality is that there has never been an environment more conducive to fraud than there is today due to the way the internet and technology have established sophisticated new tools for fraudsters to use. The coronavirus pandemic, with the fear and anxiety of the public coupled with a large amount of federal funding available, makes this environment significantly more challenging in the fight against fraud.

Stolen digital information accelerates and enables fraud. This simple truth is we need to change the way organizations think about protecting themselves from fraudsters. A recent example drives this point home. Ridesharing has become part of our daily life — Uber and Lyft are ubiquitous across the U.S. and abroad. In a recent scheme, a fraudster would order a ride and then contact the driver via phone, which passengers get access to once a ride is hailed. The fraudster spoofed the calling number to make it look like it came from the rideshare headquarters. When the driver answered, the fraudster would tell them to cancel their ride with “Mark,” which the driver recognized as the passenger’s name, and pull over. Most drivers, seeing the phone number and the fact that the caller knew the name of the passenger that they were about to pick up, immediately complied. The fraudster would then walk the driver through an exhaustive review of the billing settings, eventually telling the driver that money was not getting deposited correctly and directing them to input a new account number, which the fraudster provided. The drivers, assuming they would not be paid otherwise, were happy to input the new number. All future funds for those drivers were then funneled to an offshore account.


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