Bloomberg says: Identity Theft Fraud Falls 34%, Victims Pay More (8-Feb-2011)


Identity theft fraud fell 34 percent last year to $37 billion, the lowest since Javelin Strategy & Research began tracking data in 2003.

About 8.1 million identities were stolen in 2010, the fewest since 2007, according to a Javelin study released today. Out-of-pocket costs to victims rose to $631 in 2010 from $387 in 2009, according to the Pleasanton, California-based market- research firm.

Image representing Bloomberg as depicted in Cr...

Image via CrunchBase

“There are fewer cases of identity fraud than there were in previous years. The bad news is there’s more consumer cost,” said James Van Dyke, Javelin’s president and founder. “That’s really due to a shift in the types of fraud.”

Debit-card fraud accounted for 36 percent of crimes committed with cards already in circulation in 2010, up from 26 percent in 2009. Debit-card fraud is generally more expensive for consumers than credit card because zero-liability policies, which protect consumers from losses if their cards are stolen, are less common for debit cards, according to the study.

“There’s been a shift from credit to debit in all kinds of transactions, and unfortunately as you have more debit transactions you have more debit fraud,” said Van Dyke.

New-account fraud, in which a criminal opens an account in the individual’s name rather than exploiting an existing account, also contributed to the rise in costs. Out-of-pocket losses for consumers on new-account fraud averaged $1,267 in 2010, up from $787 in 2009.

Consumer Education

Better consumer education and the success of systems that monitor customer accounts for unusual activity have helped to reduce fraud rates and losses, according to Erik Stein, a vice president of Brookfield, Wisconsin-based Fiserv, a financial services technology company and a sponsor of the survey.

High-income households, or ones earning $150,000 or more a year, had the highest fraud rate of 7.3 percent compared with an average of 3.5 percent across all income levels, the study said.

Consumers should regularly check their free credit reports and monitor their bank and credit-card statements for unfamiliar charges, said Linda Sherry, a spokeswoman for Consumer Action.

“I’m always amazed when I hear from people who don’t read their credit-card statement, they just pay the bill,” said Sherry, who is based in Washington. “If they don’t catch something right away it can be an endless torment.”

Opinion Access Corp., a Long Island City, New York, research firm, surveyed 5,004 people by phone between September 2010 and November 2010 on behalf of Javelin.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Ody in New York eody@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rick Levinson at rlevinson2@bloomberg.net.

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India’s Black Money 2011: Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said the tax department would launch prosecution proceedings in relevant cases from the names of account holders given by foreign banks


The news headline in Livemint & Hindustan Times reveals latest update on India’s Black Money…… here is the full article

*****  The PIL claims this is a “colossal failure to enforce the law” due to influential politicians in various parties being involved in the offences. *****

New Delhi: Ahead of a Supreme Court hearing on a public interest litigation (PIL) on black money, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee at a press conference on Tuesday detailed the government’s strategy to deal with black money and said the tax department would launch prosecution proceedings in relevant cases from amongst names of account holders given by foreign banks.

Pranab Mukherjee, Indian politician, current F...

Image via Wikipedia

 

The government has the names of account holders in Liechtenstein’s LGT Bank and information given by German banks.

Mukherjee refused to name account holders citing secrecy clauses attached to legal frameworks with different countries which are used to obtain information on Indian account holders in foreign banks.

The information, however, has been given to the Supreme Court in a “sealed envelope,” Mukherjee, said. The names would be revealed when the tax department launches prosecution proceedings in relevant cases, he added.

The Supreme Court on 27 January resumes hearing a PIL on black money being held in European banks by Indians, initiated by senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani along with some former civil servants, who want the court to examine the issue as well as the falling standards of administration on the part of the government.

The PIL claims this is a “colossal failure to enforce the law” due to influential politicians in various parties being involved in the offences.

According to Mukherjee, the press conference had its roots in a suggestion by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking the finance ministry to place in public domain the strategy to deal with black money. Singh had made the suggestion during a recent cabinet meeting which discussed amendments India had signed with its tax partners to elicit information on foreign bank accounts of Indians.

During a hearing on 19 January, the Supreme Court took a tough position against the union government, asking it why it was not disclosing the names of Indian citizens who allegedly stashed away large sums of unaccounted money in European banks from 2002 to 2006.

The main pillar of the government’s strategy to deal with the problem is to amend tax treaties with different countries to allow for information on bank details to be shared.

Indian Money

Image via Wikipedia

According to Mukherjee, a change in international opinion in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis had played a positive role in amending treaties. 

The G-20 countries had decided to jointly take on countries or tax jurisdictions, which were reluctant to share critical information, Mukherjee, said.

sanjiv.s@livemint.com

http://www.livemint.com/2011/01/25144003/Black-Money–Pranab-says-can.html?h=E

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Black-money-Pranab-to-appear-before-Parliamentary-panel/H1-Article1-655117.aspx

e-promotion by ICICI Bank against Phishing mails !!


Kindly make a note of Phishing mails that can hack into your precious bank / Monetary accounts & fetch-out free money.

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I myself had received such mailers from IDBI Bank asking for personal banking details. On the follow-up with Bank’s Top  officials over mail, it was found that the respective hacking bug was blocked & de-activated.

Here are a few Forensic Triggers mention in the web-poster of ICICI Bank, which is pretty much enlightening.

  • The email ID domain might appear to be Bank name / familiar company / friend’s ID.
  • On moving  the cursor onto the sender’s address, it would reveal mis-matching characters in the URL.
  • The padlock (Security protection) icon would be missing.
  • Generally, mailer will mention the urgent step-by-step action required in order to avoid shut-down of account.
  • It will ask for secret information like user ID, passwords, PINs, CVV number, Credit/Debit Card number, vbyv passcode details, etc.

    Money going e-line

    Phishing Mail

 
 
  Dear Customer, You must have heard of ‘Phishing’ ! It is a trap laid by fraudsters through e-mail. If you reply to the e-mail, you might be ‘phished’ of your confidential banking/credit-card details and end up losing your hard-earned money.

The way to protect yourself against phishing is to identify a phishing e-mail. If you suspect an e-mail to be a phishing attempt, forward it to antiphishing@icicibank.com, and delete from your mailbox. Do not respond to such mails.

 
     
 
 
 
For more details on Phishing, please click here.
 
  Sincerely,
ICICI Bank Ltd.
   
 
epromotion against PHISHING by icici Bank

p.s. – Original structure is modified as to suit the formatting.

 

 

Cyber Crime website to help a Layman get acquianted with some usual online threats !


Today, we all are associated with Cyber related crimes in a way or other.
A must visit website for a layman to understand Cyber threats in a simple lingo ….. be it your simple email A/c, Online Banking, Lottery Scams, silly VIRUSES, Mobile surfing or just Internet surfing restrictions. @ Cyber Crime, you will get familiar with all that benefits you.
Bolo, Cyber Baba ki Jai !!!!

Banking and Politics in Fraud – Fall of the Giant: Banco Intercontinental (or BANINTER


This is an interesting piece of Fraud case listed on Wikipedia that catches our attention upon how the econo-political environment of a country can damage giant business entitites

Banco Intercontinental (or BANINTER) was the second largest privately held commercial bank in the Dominican Republic before collapsing in 2003 in a spectacular fraud tied to political corruption. The resulting deficit of more than US$2.2 billion was equal to 12% to 15% of the Dominican national gross domestic product.[1] The size of the bank meltdown and the mishandling of it by the administration of former President Hipólito Mejía contributed materially to the Dominican economy entering a prolonged steep decline. However, the underlying fraudulent bookeeping and political influence peddling had been ongoing for many years and through the administrations of all major Dominican political parties. Current President Leonel Fernández had previously been hired as an outside counsel for the bank.[citation needed]

Ramón Báez Figueroa and expansion of BANINTER

Banco Intercontinental was created in 1986 by Ramón Báez Romano, a businessman and former Industry Minister. His oldest son, Ramón Báez Figueroa, took over the small bank and helped build it into the country’s number two private commercial bank. BANINTER grew quickly into a typical family-run conglomerate, buying up companies or controlling interests in firms that touched on nearly every aspect of Dominican life.

In the process, Báez Figueroa amassed an empire of varied businesses. Through BANINTER Group, he managed to control the country’s largest media group, including Listín Diario, the oldest and leading newspaper; four television stations, a cable television company, and more than 70 radio stations.

Báez Figueroa became a man of great influence and power. At his lavish wedding, former Presidents Joaquín Balaguer and Leonel Fernandez signed the marriage document as witnesses. In late 2000, Báez even proposed a “national economic program”, which earned him much praise from President Mejía.

“Risk, and I’m talking about calculated risk, is proper of all business and of any human activity. “Whoever doesn’t understand this can’t triumph” Báez said in a 2001 interview in a Dominican business magazine Mercado.[2].

His more than generous gifts to friends, business partners, journalists, commentators, models, beauty queens, military personnel, judges, and politicians over the years became legendary, as were his patronage for many events.[citation needed] former president Mejía got a bulletproof Lexus sports utility vehicle; so did his successor, Leonel Fernández. Colonel Pedro Julio Goico Guerrero (a.k.a. Pepe Goico), who served as Mejía’s Head of Security and who guarded former U.S. president Bill Clinton on visits to the United States, got ten solid-gold President Rolex watches worth US$15,000 each and use of a credit card that the bank would pay off.[citation needed]

Later on, Báez himself would denounce that he called a US$2.4 million credit-card fraud on the part of Colonel Pepe Goico. Although the credit card was issued in Goico’s name, it was meant solely to finance presidential trips. Instead, Báez charged, Goico and his cronies used the card for personal purchases, including planes and helicopters, luxury housing and jewelry. The “Pepe-Gate” may have been the spark, but a mountain of kindling had been piling up for years around BANINTER.

Bank crisis

BANINTER’s octopus-like acquisitiveness raised some eyebrows, as did Báez’s luxurious tastes. In 2002 he bought a US$14,600,000 yacht, the Patricia.[3][4] Moreover, Báez had personal expenses of more than US$1,000,000 monthly.[citation needed].

Speculation about the source of Báez’s fortune ran wild, but nobody considered the explanation being given nowadays by the Dominican authority, that Báez was robbing his own bank.

Rumors that BANINTER might’ve been in trouble began circulating during the fall of 2002, and depositors started to withdraw their savings. The Dominican Central Bank stepped in to support the bank by providing new lines of credit. Anxious for a permanent solution, the government announced in early 2003 that Banco del Progreso, run by Pedro Castillo Lefeld, the brother of Mejía’s son-in-law, would acquire BANINTER. But Banco del Progreso abruptly withdrew from the deal. Government officials said that two-thirds of the money that customers had deposited in BANINTER was kept off its official books by a custom-designed software system.

On April 7, 2003, the government took control of BANINTER. Báez Figueroa’s family owned more than the 80% of the bank, and soon after, a deeper examination supported by the International Monetary Fund and the Inter-American Development Bank, revealed the scale of the meltdown.

Báez Figueroa was arrested on May 15, 2003 along with BANINTER vice presidents Marcos Báez Cocco and Vivian Lubrano de Castillo, the secretary of the Board of Directors, Jesús M. Troncoso, and wealthy financier Luis Alvarez Renta, on charges of bank fraud, money laundering and concealing information from the government as part of a massive fraud scheme of more than RD$ 55 billion (USD $2.2 billion). This sum would be big anywhere, but it was overwhelming for the Dominican economy, equivalent to two-thirds of its national budget.

The resulting central bank bailout spurred a 30% annual inflation and a large increase in poverty. The government was forced to devalue the peso, triggering the collapse of two other banks, and prompting a US$600 million (euro$420 million) loan package from the International Monetary Fund.[5]

Though required by the country’s Monetary Laws to only guarantee individual deposits of up to RD$500,000 Dominican Pesos (about US$21,000 at the time) placed within the country, the Dominican Central Bank (Banco Central Dominicano) opted to guarantee all $2.2B in unbacked BANINTER deposits, regardless of the amount, or whether deposits were in Dominican Pesos or American Dollars and without apparent knowledge whether the deposits were held in the Dominican Republic or in BANINTER’s branches in the Cayman Islands and Panama. The subsequent fiscal shortfall resulted in massive inflation (42%) and the devaluation of the DOP by over 100%.

Former president Mejía and the Central Bank (Banco Central) stated that the unlimited payouts to depositors were to protect the Dominican banking system from a crisis of confidence and potential chain reaction. However, the overall consequence of the bailout was to reimburse the wealthiest of Domincan depositors, some of whom had received rates of interest as high as 27% annually, at the expense of the majority of poor Dominicans—the latter of whom would be required to pay the cost of the bailout through inflation, currency devaluation, government austerity plans and higher taxes over the coming years.

Aftermath and trial

The banking crisis ignited harsh fights over BANINTER group’s media outlets, including the prominent newspaper Listín Diario, which was temporarily seized and run by the Mejía administration following the bank collapse.[5] In 2003, TV commentator Rafael Acevedo, president of the opinion polling firm Gallup Dominicana, had said that in the BANINTER scandal “there has been much complicity at every level of society: the government, the media, the church, the military.”[2].

In November 2005, Alvarez Renta was found liable by a federal jury in Miami of civil racketeering and illegal money transfers in a conspiracy to loot BANINTER during its final months of existence. Alvarez Renta was ordered to pay $177 Million to the Dominican state. To this date, he still hasn’t paid that sum.

The main executives of BANINTER, Báez Figueroa, his cousin Marcos Báez Cocco, Vivian Lubrano, Jesús Troncoso Ferrúa, as well as the aforementioned Alvarez Renta, were prosecuted by the Dominican state for fraud and money laundering, among other criminal charges. Báez Figueroa’s main attorney is Marino Vinicio Castillo, who at the present time holds the position of President Fernandez’s Drugs Consultant.

With 350 prosecutions and defense witnesses slated to testify, ex- president Hipólito Mejía among them, the criminal proceedings against Báez Figueroa began on April 2, 2006. However, the Court decided to postpone the first hearing for May 19, 2006, accepting a motion by the defense lawyers.[6] It was prompted, as detailed at length in the trial by a scandal involving debt writeoffs and sweetheart loans or other financial deals suspected of having favored leading politicians and others.[7]

What remains most curious was that the fraud went undetected for 14 years by the country’s supposed financial gatekeepers—the Central Bank, the Superintendent of Banks and U. S. accounting company PricewaterhouseCoopers. How Báez Figueroa and his cronies were accused and some convicted of pulling it off provided a glimpse into the gift-giving and favor-swapping common between private business and top government officials in the Dominican Republic.

The first trial ended in September 2007.

Sentence and criticism

On October 21, 2007, Báez Figueroa was sentenced by a three-judge panel to 10 years in prison. Additionally, he was ordered to pay restitution and damages totalling RD$63 billion. The laundering charges were excluded, but the other suspected mastermind of the fraud, Luis Alvarez Renta, was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison for money laundering.[8] Marcos Báez Cocco, ex-vicepresident of the Bank, was also found guilty, and sentenced to 8 years.

The accusations against two other defendants, former BANINTER executive Vivian Lubrano, as well as the secretary of BANINTER Board of Directors Jesús M. Troncoso, were dismissed for lack of evidence.

The sentence has been widely criticized for its severe contradictions, but more specially because it’s been alleged that the judges were pressed by “the powers that be”. Noted journalist Miguel Guerrero wrote in his column of the daily El Caribe that the defrauders of BANINTER have been protected “by a dark combination of political, economic, mediatic and ecclesiastical powers” and that the sentence was a mamotreto“.[9] In fact, Guerrero went to the extent of saying that everything was fixed beforehand, and the defendants and their lawyers knew it, as did those representing the Central Bank.

Court of Appeals and Supreme Court decisions

In February 2008, the case went to the Court of Appeals of Santo Domingo and the Court upheld the sentence against Báez Figueroa, Báez Cocco and Alvarez Renta. The decision that had favored Vivian Lubrano was reverted, and she was sentenced to five years in prison and RD$18 billion in damages. Charges against Troncoso Ferrua were definitely dropped.

In July 2008, the Dominican Supreme Court confirmed the decision against the defendants.[10]

Nevertheless, Lubrano allegedly fell into a “deep depression” and suffered from “panic attacks”, and she never went to prison. After much debate, President Leonel Fernández gave her full pardon, on December 22, 2008.[11]

References

  1. ^ DOMINICAN REPUBLIC ECONOMY THREATENED BY MASSIVE BANK FRAUD. | Company Activities & Management > Company Structures & Ownership from AllBusiness.com
  2. ^ a b Hurricane Ramoncito: how Ramon Baez and his cronies broke the Dominican Republic’s largest bank—and almost brought down the country – Top 100 Banks | Latin Trade | Find Articles at BNET.com
  3. ^ Dominican Government seeks failed bank’s assets in Grand Cayman – DominicanToday.com
  4. ^ http://powerandmotoryacht.com/megayachts/0902patricia/index.aspx Yacht Patricia
  5. ^ a b http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071021/ap_on_bi_ge/dominican_bank_fraud_trial_1
  6. ^ Dominicant Today, April 3, 2006
  7. ^ http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20071021/bs_nm/dominican_fraud_dc_2
  8. ^ Business finance news – currency market news – online UK currency markets – financial news – Interactive Investor
  9. ^ http://www.elcaribecdn.com/articulo_multimedios.aspx?id=141702&guid=EF04DB20333D4739BC301542550DEA80&Seccion=134 El Caribe, October 23, 2007.
  10. ^ Hoy
  11. ^ Diario Libre

External links

  • BANINTER promotion.
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