Written and published on 11 January 2021
Here is a chilling confidence game to look out for. I call it ‘the Slide’ …
The Slide occurs when a confidence man or woman is able to move money or stocks or bonds or other financial instruments from your own financial institution to their own account, without your authorization.
Cybercrime is so prevalent online these days that, I feel, the FBI cannot hope to keep up with our online reports to them of cybercrime perpetrated against us. Although most cybercrime likely is done by adults, it seems to me possible that even a young person might engage in hacker/cloner activities so as to achieve ‘the Slide’ these days, to help with family finances during the pandemic.
The possibility that ‘the Slide’ might occur is greater these days because of the ease with which transfers of money from one institution to another can be authorized online. Within a few days, through online transfer, a person’s savings might be transferred to another account.
How might ‘the Slide’ occur? Here is one scenario: A hacker/cloner might find out your username and password for your bank or brokerage , for instance. Then they would be able to get into your bank account online.
They might set up another bank or brokerage account with the same institution. Then the confidence man might log into your bank account and initiate a transfer of all or part of your assets to the partnership, corporation, or trusteeship.
How could the confidence man or woman ‘take in’ your bank or financial institution in this way? Here are three possible ways I thought up:
The first is for the confidence person to create a false ID for themselves, using your name and social security number. I looked it up; I think the FBI calls this ‘identity theft’. In other words, the con man assumes your name with the intent to commit fraud.
In this first scenario, the false ID is set up, and the identity theft bank or brokerage account. Then the crook gets into your account online and initiates the transfer. When the assets arrive at his fake account, he withdraws them.
I figure there might be a second scenario in which the con artist transfers your individually owned assets to a new bank or brokerage account he has set up. This new account is not that of an individual, but that of a different entity. The entity might be a partnership, a trust, a company, a corporation, or a nonprofit institution the con artist sets up, pretending that you (his intended ‘mark’) are a principal in the business … a partner in the partnership, a trustee of the trust, an owner or officer in the company, or an officer or member of the board of the corporation or non-profit, for instance.
Thus it might make sense to your bank or brokerage to let your assets be transferred to this other entity … not an individual entity, like yourself, but an entity in which they believe you play a role and to which you might be assumed to be contributing an ownership share, thus increasing your assets held in this other entity.
So lets say that … taken in by the confidence man … your bank or brokerage approves the transfer of your assets to the non-individual entity created by the crook. Then when your assets arrive at the ‘paper entity’, the con artist makes off with your assets.
There is a third scenario I can think of, that hits home pretty hard because of its cleverness and deviousness. This scenario involves your account, another financial account you used to have online, and which is now closed, and a ‘paper entity’ account as described above.
You may find that after you cancel out of an online financial account, it is impossible to truly get the account to go away from online. Two years later, you might take a look at the cancelled account, and find that by entering your username and password the account comes up again online, ready to have money transferred into it from your financial institution.
Thus you may have a cancelled account sleeping peacefully online, and to which you may not give a second thought. Yet by hacking/cloning your contacts in Cloud, the con man or woman finds out about the dormant financial account, and also finds out about your bank or brokerage account.
The con artist creates a ‘paper entity’ (as described above) at the same financial institution as that of your cancelled account.
The Slide that next occurs is a ‘Onesie-Twosie’ Slide which goes along like this: The con artist makes an online transfer of your assets from your bank or brokerage to your dormant online account number 2, and from there he slides the assets into his ‘paper entity’ at the same financial institution number 2. Then he ‘lifts’ the assets.
I have heard of even more devious con artist scenarios, in which the confidence person creates several ‘paper entities’, all with the same name and the same officers. For instance, there might be a non-profit and a corporation, both with the same name and officers. Or there might be a non-profit and five or six corporations, all with the same name and officers.
Let’s say the confidence person persuades you to donate a modest sum of money to the non-profit. Then he hacks into the bank or brokerage through which you transferred the money to the non-profit. Then he ‘lifts’ some or all of your assets to the non-profit. Then he moves the stolen assets successively through various corporations by the same name, till they are so deeply hidden they cannot be found by your aggrieved bank or its cybercrime sleuths.
With the money safely ensconced in his fifth ‘paper corporation’ he can spend it as he may. He might be in Tahiti a few days from now, sitting in a beach chair on a sandy beach, Mai Tai in his hand, laughing at you an your bank or brokerage! That would be a fine state of affairs, would it not?
What can be done about the state of cybercrime in the world today? How are you to keep your assets safe? My thought is, the more people know about the methods con artists use, the less the con artists will be successful in attempting them. So, I feel, it is good to ask your financial institutions to look out for ‘the Slide’, and to alert you if anyone tries to transfer money, stocks, or bonds out of your account.
It is good to remember that banks and brokerages only insure your savings up to a point, so if ‘the Slide’ does occur … despite your transaction alerts and despite your talks with your financial account managers … then you will only be reimbursed by the financial institution up to the amount of their insurance for what was ‘slid’ away from you.
As I recall, there are different insurance limits for different sorts of financial instruments, whether cash, stock, bonds, and so on. It might be a good idea to talk with your bank or brokerage about what the insurance limits are, and what to do if you are lucky enough to be ‘over the limit’. For instance, you could ask your money manager if moving part of your assets to another financial institute would result in your assets being wholly insured.
In love, light and joy,
I Am of the Stars
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law, law enforcement, con games, confidence games,