The Fraud Examiner

Beyond the Office: How Fraud Examiners Can Protect Against Fraud in Their Personal Lives

Kate Pospisil, CFE
CFE Exam Program Coordinator, Association of Certified Fraud Examiners                                 

Fraud is everywhere. As a fraud examiner, you know this better than anyone and can likely list off a multitude of ways to prevent, combat, deter and avoid it. However, when you’re used to dealing with complex fraud schemes as part of your daily work, it can be easy to have blinders on when spotting the ways fraudsters target consumers. In addition to your knowledge, training and experience, it’s important to remember that there are still small things you might be doing every day that can make you a target of fraud. Here’s a look at a few seemingly mundane scenarios you may regularly encounter that present opportunities for fraudsters.

Fraud at the gas pump

Picture this: You are running late, and you need to stop for gas. You pull up to the pump, swipe or insert your card, fill your tank and race off to wherever you have to be. Shortly after, your card issuer is calling you about suspicious transactions — unfortunately, fraudsters had installed a skimming device on the pump. Luckily in this scenario it was quickly caught, the card was canceled and you were issued a new one without being held accountable for any fraudulent transactions. But what if you used a debit card, or worse, used your PIN for the transaction? That means fraudsters gained direct access to your bank account and they could empty it swiftly before you, or your bank, is able to catch it.

To avoid skimming devices that are popular for fraudsters to install at gas pumps, your best bet for gas is to go inside and pay. If you choose to pay at the pump, the “tap and go” feature or a mobile app payment is safest, followed by a credit card. With the advent of chip-enabled cards, skimming is less of a concern, but fraudsters have stayed one step ahead with shimming — using microchips and flash-storage to acquire your card’s information. Use well-trafficked and lit pumps, and if you feel any resistance upon inserting your card, alert the station staff.

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