The details of the Michael Bloomberg fraud case are in two fold. First, two checks were deposited into two separate bank accounts in the amounts of $230,000 and $190,000 by a single person working alone. Second, another person actually transferred $10,000 from Mr. Bloomberg’s bank account to a stock trading account which he ultimately spent the entire stolen cash. According to the case investigators, there was no evidence that the two people were actually connected to each other or planned the crimes together, although, both crimes occurred within a period of two months.
There are two observations I would like to draw from both of these crimes.
First, with regards to the forged checks, although it’s not very easy for anyone to create a counterfeit check, it’s also not extremely difficult to create them with some basic knowledge of check components and computer software. However, the person who created the counterfeit check in the Michael Bloomberg fraud case must have had some basic information about the bank account, Mr. Bloomberg’s address, and the bank itself. A copy of his signature would also be helpful to deposit the check and conclude the crime. Although, bank transactions are now closely monitored post 9/11, the fact that Mr. Bloomberg is a high target identity, made the criminal think that he can get away with two check deposits of large sums as it should not be very unusual for a billionaire to write large amount checks to purchase products or services. That’s why I think that high target identities are at a much higher identity theft risks than others because they tend to have multiple and bigger bank accounts than others and also more frequently exchange larger sums of money in single transactions. Now, the question is how did the person collect the necessary personal information to execute the Michael Bloomberg fraud case? I think investigators would have to ask the criminal to answer this question but as individuals we should secure our personal information including cancelled checks from predatory eyes, which can be used to facilitate an identity theft crime against us.
Second, how did the second person gain access to Mr. Bloomberg’s bank account to make the cash transfer from the account to his stock trading account? Did he discover Mr. Bloomberg’s password and accessed his online account to make the transfer or did he penetrate the bank systems to commit his crime? Or maybe he walked into the bank with a fake ID and account information to make the transfer. Either way, we should attempt to reduce the risks of identity theft in any way we can and one of the solutions is to select strong passwords that are hard to guess by criminals, never shared and secured at all times. Learn about password security.
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