Fool Me Once: Scams, Stories, and Secrets from the Trillion-Dollar Fraud Industry

Title: Fool Me Once: Scams, Stories, and Secrets from the Trillion-Dollar Fraud Industry 

Author: Kelly Richmond Pope

Hardcover: 288 pages

Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press

Publishing Date: March 21, 2023

Who is this book for? 

  • Anyone who has ever wondered why investors were easily duped by Elizabeth Holmes, or how any of the thousands of scams fraudsters pull off each year is successful.
  • Anyone who has ever wondered how to identify the scams that cost consumers and businesses trillions of collective dollars annually. 

What’s inside this book?

  • Fascinating stories and insightful analysis on fraud, culled from Pope’s years as a forensic accounting expert.
  • On-target tips for recognizing fraud and protecting yourself from becoming a victim.

4 questions this book will answer for you:  

  1. How is it possible for scammers to dupe successful mega-businesses, as well as educated, bright consumers?
  2. What really motivates whistleblowers?
  3. Are my beliefs about fraud legitimate?
  4. What really makes perps tick and victims gullible?

What people are saying about this book: 

Fool Me Once is insightful, educational, and highly entertaining. Based on hundreds of hours of direct personal contact with fraudsters, Kelly Richmond Pope offers a riveting take on the human side of fraud. A must-read!” — Bethany McLean

Fool Me Once is required reading for anyone who wants to better understand perpetrators, victims, and whistleblowers and how to better prevent, detect, and investigate fraud.” — Cynthia Cooper

“Accessible, humorous, and engaging, Fool Me Once includes fascinating stories from the perspective of one of the nation’s foremost fraud research experts. I recommend this book for corporate and academic discussion or for anyone interested in understanding and preventing fraud. I do not recommend it for potential fraudsters!” — Paula A. Price

Fool Me Once sets the bar high for how to protect yourself from scammers. It is an essential read.” — Joe Navarro

TikTok Inspo: Can you sell us on picking up a copy of this book? Give us your take on Fool Me Once in a 15-second video. 

10 Tips for ATM Safety

With shorter days approaching, bringing more hours of darkness along with them, it’s more important than ever to brush up on ATM safety. Using a compromised machine can mean risking identity theft and/or having cash stolen. With this simple machine, all it takes is a few short minutes for a victim’s life to be completely ruined. 

Here at Advantage One Credit Union, we take our members’ safety very seriously. We use multiple protective measures to keep you, your information and your money safe when you use one of our ATMs. We keep our machines well-lit, have security cameras in place and we’re careful to place them in areas with lots of foot traffic to keep isolation to a minimum. 

However, it’s important for you, as the member, to be aware of basic ATM safety so your transactions are never compromised. As with all banking platforms, you are the first and best defense for protecting your personal information and your money. Here are 10 tips to help you keep your ATM transactions completely secure.

1.Keep your PIN private. Your personal identification number should always be kept personal. Don’t share this number with anyone and don’t write it down anywhere or keep it stored in your phone. It’s also a good idea to choose a unique PIN for all your accounts and to change your number once a year to keep it fresh.

2. Check the ATM for a card skimmer. Scammers are experts at hiding their tracks and often do so by attaching a card skimmer to the payment terminal of an ATM. The skimmer fits right over the card slot and will read the card information as soon as it’s inserted. It is then passed onto the criminal, who may be hiding just a few hundred feet away. Sometimes, a skimmer is instead placed over the keypad to pick up the PIN. Look for a skimmer by checking to see if the card slot feels loose, is colored differently than the rest of the machine, or if the keypad is too thick or looks newer than the ATM. 

3. Bring a buddy. A lone target is always more vulnerable. If possible, and especially if you’re using an ATM late at night, bring a friend along. 

4. Be aware of your surroundings. As you use the machine, it’s crucial to be aware of your surroundings and to look for anything suspicious, like characters lurking nearby or dark cars parked in the area for far too long.

5. Use your body as a shield. Never let an ATM you are using be in easy view of a criminal. Stand close to the machine to block it from view and cover the keypad with your hand while you input your PIN. This way, no one will be able to steal your information just by watching you complete your transaction. 

6. Have your debit card ready to be used. Make sure you can remove your card in just a few seconds when you reach the ATM. Those precious few moments of rummaging through your purse or wallet until you find your card can give a criminal the time they need to make their move. 

7. Put away all cash as soon as you complete your transaction. If you’re making a withdrawal, be sure to move all cash out of sight as soon as the machine spits it out. Have your wallet or an envelope ready so this takes as short a time as possible. Never count cash in public; you can check that you’ve received the right amount when you’re safely in your car.

8. Lock all doors and roll up passenger windows when using a drive-thru ATM. If you’ll be remaining in your vehicle to complete your transaction, keep it as secure as possible.

9. If you suspect foul play, leave immediately. If something, or someone, looks suspicious, cancel your transaction, grab your card and leave the area as soon as you can.

10. Be sure to take your receipt. Don’t leave any evidence of the transaction you just completed.

If you think you’ve been the victim of ATM fraud, report it immediately. If you report the scam within two days, your liability is capped at $50. 

Stay safe!

Your Turn: How do you protect your information and your money when using an ATM? Share your tips with us in the comments.

8 Ways To Avoid Getting Scammed On Craigslist

woman visibly upset and closing eyes while on the phoneThe arrival of spring and the deep house cleaning it inspires means more people are putting their old furniture, devices, sports equipment and clothing up for sale. That’s why the amount of items like these on sites like Craigslist swells considerably during this season. If you have the time and patience to sift through the offerings, there are wonderful treasures to be found. Conversely, if your own spring cleaning unveils hordes of sellable stuff you don’t use anymore, you can make good money selling them online.

Unfortunately, though, when there’s money to be made, the scammers are never far behind. Craigslist is riddled with scammers looking to make a quick buck off people’s naivety. Stay one step ahead of scammers and keep your money safe by following these eight tips when using Craigslist.

1.) Be familiar with Craigslist and the services it offers
Lots of Craigslist scams can be avoided by knowing basic information about the site. Before using Craigslist, make sure you know the following:

The Craigslist URL is http://www.craigslist.org. Scammers often use fake sites to lure buyers into paying for items that don’t exist. Always check the URL before finalizing a purchase.
Craigslist does not back any transaction on its site. If you receive an email or text trying to sell you purchase protection, you’re looking at a scam.
There is no such thing as a Craigslist voicemail service. If a contact asks you to access or check your “Craigslist voicemails,” you’re dealing with a scammer.

2.) Deal locally.
The “barely used” couch that’s up for sale a couple of states over might be better-priced than the one being sold just a 10-minute drive away, but it’s always safer to deal with locals on Craigslist. According to the site’s advice on avoiding scams on their platform, you’ll avoid 99% of the scams on Craigslist by following this rule.

Keeping your transaction local will enable you to finalize a sale in person. Plus, there’s less of a chance of there being a language barrier blurring the details of the deal.

3.) Examine the product(s) before finalizing a sale.
Never rely solely on pictures to get the full scope on what you’re buying. Ask to look at the item in person. If you’re purchasing an electronic device or something else that needs to work in order to be valuable, ask to try it out as well.

4.) Don’t accept or send a cashier’s check, certified check or money order as payment.
Fraudulent checks can be impossible to fight. Also, a bad check can seem to clear on sight, so you’ll agree to the sale and use the money that’s supposedly in your account. A few days later, though, you’ll realize the check bounced. By that time, the buyer has vanished with your goods, leaving you responsible for covering the funds you used while presuming it cleared.

On the flip side, if you pay for an item with a money order or wire transfer, you’ll have no way of recouping your loss if the seller fails to come through with the goods.

5.) Use cash—safely.
The most secure way to pay or collect funds for a Craigslist transaction is with cold cash. If the idea of handing over a large sum of money to a stranger scares you, you can make the exchange of money and goods in a safe place like your local police station or even at Advantage One.

When accepting cash for a sale, bring along a counterfeit detector pen (which can be found at most office supply stores and online) to be certain you’re not getting scammed with bogus bills. These retail for as little as $5, but they can save you from big losses.

6.) Never share your personal information with a buyer or seller.
As always, when online, keep your personal information to yourself. There’s no reason a buyer or seller needs to know your checking account number, your date of birth or even your mother’s maiden name. If a contact is asking too many questions, back out of the deal.

7.) Be wary of fake escrow service sites.
Escrow services, in which a company holds onto a large sum of money for two parties in the middle of a transaction, can be super-convenient when buying and selling things online. However, they can also be a clever trap for unsuspecting victims. Scammers often create bogus escrow service sites to lure victims into dropping their money right into the scammers’ hands. The site will be a copycat of a reputable escrow service site, with some slight deviations you wouldn’t notice unless you looked for them.

When using an escrow service site, it’s best to find the site yourself instead of following a pop-up ad or a link. Check the site carefully for spelling mistakes and poor syntax. Also, make sure the URL is secure and matches the site of the service you intend to use.

8.) Create a disposable number.
When conducting business on Craigslist, you may need to share a working phone number. You can create a cost-free, disposable number on Google Voice instead of giving out your real number. Your Google Voice number will be untraceable and will expire within 30 days of non-use.

Your Turn:
Have you ever been targeted by a Craigslist scam? Share your experience with us in the comments.

SOURCES:

https://www.fraudguides.com/internet/craigslist/

https://www.craigslist.org/about/scams

https://www.thestreet.com/amp/personal-finance/craigslist-scams-14707309

https://www.efraudprevention.net/home/templates/?a=96