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advocacy community education
ual to convert unauthorized checks for
personal gain?
A big problem concerns employees
stealing checks from customers
payable to their employers, and con-
verting them through deposit into their
own personal ATM deposit. With this
new app, will the same individual sim-
ply take a picture of the employer's
diverted check and receive funds on
the deposit?
"And Your Point is?"
A third app of concern relates to sharing
of personal information between smart-
phones. The app allows users to share
personal information by simply pointing
the smartphones at each other.
While dining recently at a shopping
mall, it became apparent to me just
how susceptible users are to unautho-
rized access of information.
I had my iPad with me to purchase a
cover at the Apple store in the mall,
and while waiting for our food at a
restaurant, we used the iPad. What
happened next really interested me ...
As other patrons walked by our table to
use the restroom, several of the other
customers' personal information auto-
matically connected to my iPad, and
came up on our screen as they walked
by us. I hadn't set anything to retrieve
their information, and I suspect they
didn't realize their personal information
was ... well, no longer personal.
The problem? Criminals plant them-
selves in public areas, every day,
attempting to steal personal and finan-
cial information, email access, Internet
access, and any other data to use for
illicit purposes.
As these and other new apps develop
and reach the public, we must review
new wireless capabilities, and ensure
these new venues do not increase the
opportunity for financial crime.
How can you minimize your risk of becoming a
victim of these or other potential schemes?
Ensure your smartphone and cellular devices are password-protected
from unauthorized access. If lost or stolen, the thief will have less of a
chance of accessing your apps and information.
As new apps become available, such as "click transfer," determine if
you really need such an app. If you really don't need it, don't install it.
The fewer apps and access available on your smartphone and cellular
device, the less access an unauthorized user will have to your data and
Monitor new capabilities released for your smartphone and cellular
If capabilities are "automatically" installed in your smartphone and
cellular device by your provider (instead of by you personally selecting
to install an app), inquire as to ways those types of services can be
removed or disabled by the carrier.
Ensure the security features of your smartphone or cellular device are
active and configured to share only information you want to share, if
you want to share anything at all.
And, as always, vigilantly monitor your activity, bank accounts, debit
cards, and credit cards on a very regular basis to detect issues as early
as possible.
Trust me, it happens.
Stephen Pedneault, CPA, CFE, CFF, FCPA is the principal of
Forensic Accounting Services, LLC in Glastonbury, specializ-
ing in forensic accounting, employee fraud, and litigation
support matters. He is the author of Fraud 101, Anatomy
of a Fraud Investigation, and Preventing and Detecting
Employee Theft and Embezzlement. He can be reached at