Scams and con artists have only proliferated in the modern era, it seems. With many transactions involving money, cryptocurrency, and investments, there is plenty of opportunity for fraudsters to take advantage of unsuspecting people. In recent memory, one of the worst cases was the Ponzi scheme perpetrated by Bernie Madoff, for example. Ranging from the intricately complex to the straightforward, financial exploitation can affect many different kinds of people. That said, there are some types of people and institutions that are particularly vulnerable to these crimes.
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Industries That Are At Risk
Fraudsters often target industries based on their perceived vulnerabilities. This vulnerability and risk comes in a variety of different ways. Below are a few of the most commonly scammed industries and businesses in the world.
Even though financial institutions like banks and credit unions are often in the know regarding current financial exploitation trends, the fact that they handle monetary transactions on a daily basis makes them the most targeted type of industry. Con artists may forge checks, bounce checks on purpose with the knowledge that it takes several days to verify checks, or even send phishing emails in an attempt to access the institution’s private data.
Retail Shops and Other Commerce Sectors
Another commonly at-risk industry is the commerce sector. Shopping centers, retail outlets, and other businesses that operate by selling consumer items are often victims of crime. For example, thieves may seek to “return” items for either money or in-store credit, even though those items were not actually purchased at the store.
In areas like the United States, which does not have a universal healthcare system, the price of surgeries, treatments, and medicines can be exceedingly high. For this reason, there is a high risk of patients committing financial schemes to avoid paying these often crippling bills. This can be combated in a variety of ways, including being transparent about the billing process and even offering avenues for assisted payments so that patients do not feel desperate.
Institutions that specialize in education can also be targeted by con artists for similar reasons as healthcare facilities: namely, high prices. Fraud is usually committed because the scammer desires some advantage (whether that is money, social standing, or powers). In this case, school applicants may falsify information on their applications to increase their odds of being accepted into an educational institution. They might also commit this kind of crime on financial aid applications in order to get assistance that they are not actually qualified for.
Types of People Who Are At Risk
Individuals are also at risk for scams, in addition to industries. We will look at a few types of people who might be more vulnerable to this type of financial crime below.
People Who Work for Large Organizations
Scam artists often pose as members of the same organization as the target person. This is because of the principle of similarity, by which people tend to trust others who are in their same social group. For example, a con artist might request a transfer of funds while posing as:
- a member of a different department within the same company
- a higher-up or authority figure within the company
- an independent contractor hired by the company
In these situations, the target individual might feel pressured into transferring the information or funds, not knowing that the person requesting these materials is a phony.
Even among the elderly and aging population that does not show signs of degenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia, there is some evidence that the risk of fraud correlates with rising age. This is particularly true of individuals who are socially isolated, have a history of making transactions over the phone or internet, or are not sufficiently literate.
Whether you work for an industry that is targeted or fall into one of the vulnerable groups listed above, protecting yourself from financial exploitation is vital to having a sound financial base. Make sure you never give away information to someone you don’t know, never reveal passwords or PINs, and verify all investment opportunities before committing.
For more tips and information on financial soundness, get in touch with the experts at Global Asset Management.