Fraud Alert

By: Karin Murphy Caro

People are surprisingly bad at detecting fraud. Perhaps we are too trusting or just naive but even when on the lookout for signs of deception, we don’t always detect it. However, technology has helped people to increase our accuracy. It has been stated that Americans lose approximately $50 billion a year to fraudulent activities against them. But now, technology can be used to protect us.

Did you know that criminals can circumvent pop-ups and spam filters to gather information about you? It’s true and these criminals will cultivate a relationship with you over time. People need to stay diligent and be aware of key phrases and words. For example, a message could contain a statement of surprise, the mention of a sum of money, and a call to action. These types of messages can come from someone you thought you knew and are the trademark of the email scams we have all seen for some time.

What if I told you that your smart phone will soon be able to detect criminal/fraudulent activity? Such a possibility sounds impossible, but your phone company is already gathering information from all the phones in its network, allowing tech firms to develop voice-biometrics software that can identify individuals and even catch emotional patterns that may indicate liars and frauds. High-tech fraud-prevention companies have enough data on your behavior: where you are, what you’re doing, what you like/dislike, and so on…to be able to give a heads-up anytime someone tries to take advantage of you. The technology that’s being developed is equivalent to having a constant spy watching us—but one that does its best to act as our friend and protector.

Could you imagine a world that we are able to detect scammers…even before they target their first victim? Each year, examiners study known groups of scammers. They check their habits, demographics, patterns and specific characteristics in order to gain insights on the types of people most likely to commit fraud. As our understanding of fraud evolves, we may be able to develop predictive algorithms that could identify scammers based on patterns of behavior. There are scientist that would like to use brain scans to determine these qualities just like they can when revealing psychopaths.

It would be interesting to identify characteristics of likely con artists, and then intervene before they cause trouble. Save the day 🙂


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