Back to basics – low-tech fraud

20-04-17 12:16 | Digital banking | The Digital Hub

Yesterday I took the train between Stockholm and Gothenburg. It was the afternoon train and was, as always, completely full.

I like the train ride. It’s three hours of relaxation, when I can read a book or even work a bit. If it’s a good book I almost wish the train will be a little late. But something happens to people when they travel by train that fascinates me. For some reason they think they are invisible, and that what’s being said on the train stays on the train.

There are conversations going on intended for a coffee break at work, someone talking loudly on their mobile phone about a boyfriend, while another is engaged in a salary negotiation. The man next to me leaves his computer unlocked at his seat while he goes to the restaurant. It’s a golden opportunity for me to install a virus on his computer or, even simpler, read his e-mail and private information.

There’s a couple in front of me who work for an insurance company. They had attended a conference, with a huge party in the evening. Sounded like a fun and lavish party, and they went through the escapades, sparing no detail – information that was definitely not meant for my ears.

The prize, however, went to some employees at a large, well-known company that classified and categorised its customers. Some examples are the greedy customer, the grouchy customer and the stupid customer (I couldn’t help but wonder which one I was…).

There are infinite examples, but you probably get it. I learned the personal identity numbers,  names of colleagues and employees, business secrets and other information that should not be public. 

It’s interesting to consider what a fraudster could do with this information and a couple of hours on a computer. It could easily be used to penetrate a company and commit a CEO fraud, perform a fairly sophisticated phishing scam and even use it to steal someone's identity to order goods online, start a subscription or even to buy a fake ID card online.

So, next time you’re travelling, mind what you say.

/Anna-Karin Kjellgren, Fraud management at Nordea.

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