Hackers recently stole almost $1 million from a Bank of the West customer’s account. How safe is your money? Do you worry about online thieves draining your accounts?
You probably should!
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According to the research organization, Gartner Inc., illegal access to bank accounts is one of the fastest-growing financial crimes. Bank and credit card accounts are easily hacked. You can even find detailed “how to hack a bank account ” instructions online.
According to John Zurawaski, Vice President of Authentify, an online security firm, “The attacks on online financial accounts are continuous. The level of activity is routinely high because the likelihood of being caught is extremely low.”
The world is filled with hacking victims. Doesn’t that make you feel warm and fuzzy? Is this a crime wave? You bet!
A Christmas Eve cyber-attack (DDoS) against the Bank of the West Website in California helped to distract bank officials from spotting an online account takeover against one of its clients, Ascent Builders in Sacramento. Thieves netted more than $900,000. Sixty-two individuals were conned into acting as “mules” to launder the money from the Christmas Eve heist.
By the way, beware ads reading “Make big money from home, ” and never agree to accept and transfer cash as these “mules” did. It equates with money laundering.
How do scammers get your information? According to Zurawaski, there are many ways your information can be “skimmed”: At an ATM, at a parking garage, swiped by a disgruntled employee, and other diabolically creative ways. Can you prevent this from happening? Probably not.
You might want to join the growing number of Americans who are hiding their cash in “wacky places” like under the mattress or in a jar buried in the backyard. It is said that Michael Jackson stashed green trash bags stuffed with cash around his house. Ideal cash hiding places are limited only by your imagination:
- In attic or a fake drain in the garage
- In watertight plastic bottle in the tank on the back of toilet
- In tampon box or toilet paper roll
- Bottom of dirty clothes hamper
- In fake plant or under potted plant
- In cookie jar
- Inside a teddy bear or other stuffed animal
- In plastic baggie in freezer
- Inside an old sock in sock drawer
- In envelope taped to bottom of kitty litter box.
What ever you decide, use common sense with regard to bank and credit card accounts. Check your accounts regularly and question unexplained charges, shred mail, and be careful about which ATMs you use. Do not enter private information on public computers at the library or cyber cafes. Keep antivirus software installed on your computer and mobile phone up-to-date.
And, above all . . . .keep your fingers crossed.
- Karma: What goes around comes around, nothing or ‘no one’ escapes Universal Law
Feel free to post your favorite cash “hiding places” below.