Preventing the Rising Threat of Financial Fraud | Kanebridge News
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Preventing the Rising Threat of Financial Fraud

By ABBY SCHULTZ
Wed, Jul 19, 2023 7:52amGrey Clock 4 min

Corporations and banks have boosted their security infrastructure and employee training to avoid getting hit by financial fraud, including cybercrime, but individuals and families often are less prepared and, as a result, are a softer target for criminals.

“They’re not giving due consideration to the scores of ways they’re vulnerable and fraud can happen,” says Mona Manahi, head of personal CFO services for Geller, an independent multi-family office firm.

Several stats back this up, including a 30% rise in consumer scams reported by the Federal Trade Commission and a rise in mail fraud by criminals getting access to credit cards and checks reported by the U.S. Postal Service this past spring. A UBS survey found 63% of U.S. family offices reported being targeted by cyber threat actors.

The “great wealth transfer” to a younger generation is also putting large amounts of cash into the hands of millennials and Generation Z, “and they tend to be a little bit more lax in their trustworthiness,” Manahi says, citing how much younger people share information on social media and use electronic payment services.

“What’s happening now feels like a big paradigm shift, and people really need to pay attention,” she says. “It’s like a perfect storm.”

But families can protect themselves often with simple steps, such as wiring big amounts of money through credible financial institutions instead of putting a check in the mail. Manahi and Scott Bush, Geller’s chief client officer, detailed a range of fraud-prevention measures recently with Penta.

Avoiding Cyber Threats

The rise of technology in people’s lives has given criminals more sophisticated ways of commiting crimes, enabling them to target wealthier individuals and families.

A decade ago, criminals might have put a skimmer on a gas station credit card machine to glean data from just about anyone. Today, criminals break into household wireless networks to access email and phone communications that tell them where a family spends money, why they spend it, and where they can find pools of capital to tap, Bush says.

“What’s changed is that the more organized, very high-quality criminal networks have started to realize that they get better bang for the buck if they focus on ultra-high-net-worth families,” Bush says.

Most families allow all their personal financial information to be accessed through the same wireless network they use for watching Netflix or checking email, believing it’s safe because the network is password protected.

“What they often don’t think about is when their children give that same password out to that server to their friends so they can use the Wi-Fi or they plug in the gaming console or they allow all of the people that are helping them maintain the house access to the Wi-Fi so that they can plug their phone in when they’re working at the house,” Bush says.

A simple way to avoid a password getting into the wrong hands is to have two networks in the house, one for personal financial information and another for access to wireless services that anyone can use.

Also, despite lots of education on the topic, most people continue to create weak passwords that criminals can easily decipher, especially once they’ve learned the names of family pets and children, or other personal details.

“If you can focus on securing your household and securing how you manage your personal information, there’s a high likelihood that bad guys just will decide to go somewhere else,” Bush says.

Breaking the ‘Fraud Triangle’

Wealthy families often believe they can keep tight control over their finances if fewer people are involved. But that strategy can lead easily to theft that can go undetected for years. This past December, for instance, a 74-year-old Texas woman pleaded guilty to a scheme of embezzling at least US$29 million from a Dallas charitable foundation and other companies owned by a family, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Manahi brings up this incident in an article for Geller on how families can lower their risks by breaking “the fraud triangle,” a term coined by a Brigham Young professor Steve Albrecht decades ago to refer to the three elements needed to execute a fraud: motive, opportunity, and rationalization. Families can’t address a criminal’s motive or rationalization, but they can remove the opportunity. That greatly reduces the potential for fraud, Manahi says.

Often, that means not giving a single personal assistant, or bookkeeper in the Dallas case, too much access or authority to your finances. One of the simplest controls families can put in place is “segregation of duties,” she says. For example, don’t allow one person to have authority to set up a vendor for payments, execute on those payments, and then reconcile the movement of cash in a checking account.

“Regardless of what their structure is, [every family] should have a very clear set of protocols related to how capital moves,” Bush adds. There should be double or even triple authentication for cash transfers, and everybody who works with the family should be aware of “who has the right to move capital and where it might move to.”

Families should also create an employee manual that clearly outlines security and safety protocols. “Just letting [employees] know that there is awareness, that security is an issue, and they are accountable for it is a great way of creating an environment that is secure,” he says.

Also, families should put systems and processes in place to consistently track where money is spent, how it’s spent, and how it relates to a predetermined budget. Then you or an employee can flag when things are out of line. The idea is to show that “the family cares and that at any time, activity can be inspected,” Bush says.

Even the most diligent families can let down their guard during the summer months or the winter holidays, particularly when they are traveling to far-away or remote locations, which is not unusual for a wealthy family. “They’ll be on safari and all of a sudden there’s a flurry of activity in their account when they’re not available,” Bush says.

Having formal protocols in place to ensure no single person can move money will help. Any protocols should also include instructions for what to do in case of an unusual transaction.

“Not only segregating the responsibilities during that time, but also educating [employees] on what they should be looking for and reviewing and increasing their responsibility during that time,” Manahi says.



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Saudi Arabia’s 2024 Summer TOURISM Plans Unveils New Incentives and Global Attractions

“Saudi Summer is Next Door” plans to boost tourism in the Kingdom over four months across seven destinations.

Wed, May 22, 2024 4 min

Saudi Arabia has unveiled its plan to attract international tourists this summer. The strategy includes appealing visa options, complimentary airline tickets for families, a lineup of major events, and opportunities for tax-free shopping.

The initiative, organized under the guidance of Ahmed Al Khateeb, Minister of Tourism and Chairman of the Saudi Tourism Authority (STA), is named “Saudi Summer is Next Door.”

Jeddah

Extensive Summer 2024 Tourism Activities

The initiative will span four months, ending in September, and will be hosted across seven key destinations: Aseer, Al Baha, Taif, the Red Sea, Jeddah, Riyadh, and AlUla.

It features over 550 tourism products and more than 150 specially tailored offers and packages for families and various interest groups including adventure enthusiasts, luxury seekers, and cultural and heritage buffs.

The launch event of the Saudi Summer Program 2024 was attended by notable figures such as Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, in addition to more than 250 key partners from both public and private sectors, prominent media personalities, and influential opinion leaders.

Showcasing Global Events and Cultural Richness

This year’s program will also welcome back the Jeddah Season and introduce the Aseer Season, each filled with various activities and events for families. The Kingdom will host several significant events as part of the summer program, including the first Esports World Cup in Riyadh, an eight-week competition featuring top esports athletes, and various boxing tournaments in Riyadh and Jeddah.

During the event, Al Khateeb highlighted the latest global tourism trends, the Kingdom’s growth in the tourism sector, and the record-high tourist numbers that have propelled Saudi Arabia to the top of the UN World Tourism list and the G20 nations list.

Al Baha

Al Khateeb emphasized, “Saudi Arabia is witnessing a transformative period in tourism, driven by our vision to position the Kingdom as a premier global destination. The Saudi Summer Program 2024 is our commitment to showcasing the rich cultural heritage, natural beauty, and unparalleled hospitality that Saudi Arabia offers. “We invite local and international tourists to experience the diversity of our seven unique destinations and take advantage of the exceptional offers and packages designed to create unforgettable memories. “This initiative, supported by our strategic partnerships and groundbreaking efforts like the eVisa and increased flight connectivity, demonstrates our dedication to making Saudi Arabia more accessible and appealing to tourists worldwide. “We look forward to welcoming visitors from all corners of the globe to explore and enjoy the vibrant experiences that await them this summer.”

Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization, also remarked, “Saudi tourism is witnessing unparalleled development at all levels, achieving great leaps in recent years, which I witnessed during my multiple visits to this hospitable country.”

Riyadh

“Saudi Arabia has global indicators related to the number of tourists, which has qualified it to top the UN World Tourism list of significant tourist destinations.”

“All of these great achievements for Saudi tourism would not have been possible without proper planning by those in charge of the sector in the Kingdom and the great potential it possesses in terms of diverse climates, stunning natural landmarks, and the generosity of Saudi people who are distinguished by their hospitality, raising the ceiling of ambitions for new achievements.”

STA CEO Fahd Hamidaddin said: “While temperatures in the region rise to high levels during summer, temperatures in the highlands of Saudi Arabia in the southern region decrease to the extent that we even witnessed snowfall in Al Soudah yesterday.” “Through the promotional campaign for the Saudi Summer Program 2024, we seek to highlight the uniqueness of our destinations and their climatic, natural, and cultural diversity, along with the exceptional events and activities happening during summer. “This year’s summer program includes more than 550 tourism products and 150 special offers designed in collaboration with STA’s partners, which include attractive offers from hotels, airlines offering free tickets for children in partnership with major travel, tourism, and aviation companies, and exceptional products in the Aseer Season and Jeddah Season like tax-free shopping offers and many new and exciting experiences such as private beaches for tourists and ladies’ beaches.”

“The campaign slogan “Saudi Summer is Next Door” embodies an open invitation to explore the magic of Saudi destinations and their diversity. This diversity is expressed with simple words that reflect the uniqueness of each destination, such as “Closer,” “Cooler,” “More Beautiful,” and “More Affordable.”

The private sector is a very important component of the success of tourism programs and initiatives, and the Saudi Tourism Authority is committed to empowering it by fostering demand for products and offers that align with the aspirations of tourists globally.

The launch of the Saudi Summer Program 2024 marks a period when visiting the Kingdom has become easier, smoother, and safer through measures such as the availability of the eVisa to citizens of 66 countries, a 20 percent reduction in eVisa prices, and a significant increase in the number of weekly flights from

Gulf cities to Saudi summer destinations, now totaling 1,100.

Residents of the GCC can also benefit from the GCC residents visa, which allows them multiple entries and a stay of up to 90 days in the Kingdom over a year. Moreover, the number of hotel rooms available to travelers is set to increase, with an additional 25,000 rooms expected to be added this year.

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