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Consumer alert issued for emerging fraud trends using recent technological advancements

CENTRAL COASt REGION, Calif. – The Ventura County District Attorney's Office detailed some new trends in fraud in the surrounding area that involve the use of recent technological advances.

Synthetic identity fraud is a crime where perpetrators piece together your identity by finding important information such as your name, social security number, or birthdate to open bank accounts or credit cards or even commit financial crimes using your identity.

In 2020, there was an estimated $20 billion in financial losses tied to synthetic identity fraud detail Ventura County District Attorney's Office.

Deepfakes are fabricated media, often created by artificial intelligence (AI), to impersonate an actual person or event.

Fraudsters can use deepfakes to fabricate audio recordings, videos, and documents to make it appear as if a person approved a transaction, for example. Deepfakes have also been used to impersonate celebrities to endorse a product or service.

Account takeover fraud is when a victim's online bank accounts, email, or social media profiles are taken over that fraudsters use to spread malware, solicit or steal money, or steal identities.

According to the Ventura County District Attorney's Office, account takeover fraud saw an approximately 74 percent increase in 2021 and is the fastest growing financial crime.

While cryptocurrency-based scams are not new, the newest trend is to use fabricated cryptocurrency exchanges, phishing emails, and fraudulent scams where investors are promised high returns over short periods of time when in reality, there money is simply being stolen.

Money stolen in cryptocurrency-based scams is rarely recovered state Ventura County District Attorney's Office.

Maybe the most difficult scam to detect are insider threats. Employees with access to sensitive information can use that information to solicit money from their own employers, hence the insider description of the scam.

“Being aware of fraud trends and scams is one of the best ways to prevent becoming a victim of these technological fraud schemes,” explain Supervising District Attorney Investigator James Espinoza. “Just a few extra steps can ensure your account security.”

Investigator Espinoza has these seemingly simple but effective steps:

  • Enable two-factor identification on all accounts
  • Monitor open and active accounts
  • Close inactive or unnecessary accounts
  • Keep track of your credit report

If you believe you are the victim of fraud, immediately change your password(s) and report your suspicions to your local law enforcement agency.

Article Topic Follows: Your Money
artificial intelligence
consumer alert
crime and courts
financial crimes
san luis obispo county
santa barbara county
ventura county
Ventura County District Attorney's Office

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Andrew Gillies

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