Bringing it all home

July 27, 2015 Kevin Whalen

bringing it all home

Doing the checkbook on the weekend can be a thankless job. This weekend it turned into an adventure, not dissimilar to a situation that many companies find themselves in.

After logging in to my bank, I noticed something was amiss. There was a mystery $300 “Moneygram” order. Not a good feeling. Noted philosopher Charlie Sheen once said of uncertainty, “It is a sign of humility, and humility is just the ability or the willingness to learn.” I can tell you, I was ready to learn. What happened? How bad was it? How long it had been going on? Records were checked. Files examined. User activity was evaluated. Thankfully, no insider threats were identified!

Still, my personal finance perimeter had been breached and I had no idea the extent of the damage. I notified the bank and they told me the transaction took place Friday in Brooklyn, NY. I was in Boston, at Fenway Park. Damn Yankees fans!

Even though I identified the fraud before the funds had left my account, the transaction had been authorized, and the bank informed me that it will go through. Then, I file my claim and likely wait it out for two weeks before getting the money back.

I asked the in-house technology expert, the house CSO if you will, about suspicious activity. They mentioned that I was recently in Brooklyn, about a month ago. Maybe it was my fault? They were reminded who the boss was, and told to immediately go and clean their room.

Not a catastrophic financial loss, but certainly a productivity killer. It made me wonder how many thousands; tens of thousands, of others were simultaneously dealing with something similar. I am fortunate that the amount was small enough not to hurt, but many others aren’t so lucky. They face real hardship when this happens.

At a Town Hall meeting, held at the kitchen table, there were a lot of questions….

Would the person get caught? I told them that it was very unlikely.

How did they do it? All it takes is your credit card number and bad intentions.

Who do you think did it? It could have been someone who had access to my card during my recent trip to Brooklyn, as the house CSO so astutely pointed out, or it could be totally unrelated. The truth is that I don’t really know. It’s hard to figure out, and one reason why the bad guys get away so often.

Could it happen again? We talked about the importance of being careful and controlling what you could control (best practices). However, the reality is that there are so many factors involved this likely won’t be the last time. That’s why it’s important to be vigilant, know who you’re doing business with, monitor activity and have a response plan ready to go. We had just worked out our response plan in real-time. It’s clearly much better when you have one in place ahead of time!

How do you get your money back then? Businesses plan for this type of thing and have a process in place to pay fraud victims back.

Aren’t they losing money then? Unfortunately, this is such a frequent thing that they consider this a cost of doing business. They factor these losses into the cost of running the business.

That stinks for everyone then doesn’t it? Sure does.

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