Kount Reveals America’s Top Five Fraudulebrities

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From the Red Carpet to the Green Jacket, Even A-List Stars Fall Victim to Fraud

Recent news headlines underscore the data breaches, identify theft and stolen credit card incidents that have become commonplace today, with Javelin Research estimating that 12.7 million U.S. consumers were affected by fraud last year alone. This frequency demonstrates the scary fact that fraud can affect anyone and everyone, sneaking past the velvet ropes and bodyguards to hit some of America’s favorite celebrities and athletes. Kount, a leader in fraud and risk management, today released its list of the top five Fraudulebrities, celebrities who have fallen victim to fraud, to remind consumers to be mindful of where fraud lurks and how people can protect themselves.

Top Fraudulebrities Overall:

1.    Oprah Winfrey: This media titan is one of the world’s most influential celebrities, but that didn’t stop a fraudster from stealing her identity and using the information to influence banks and brokerage firms to authorize purchases and transfers from her account. And the criminal behind this scheme didn’t stop with the queen of media: he also collected personal information from over 200 other wealthy Americans to convince banks and other financial organizations to make wire transfers up to $10 million before he was caught.
2.    Kim Kardashian: Kim Kardashian’s personal information was hacked and used by scammers in Florida to open new credit card accounts in her name. And Mrs. West is no stranger to hacks, as her Social Security number, bank statements, and credit reports were also posted to a website, along with the financial information of other stars.
3.    Tiger Woods: Like Oprah, this golfing legend’s identity was also stolen for someone else’s financial gain. A fraudster used Woods’ name and Social Security number to apply for multiple lines of credit and racked up thousands of dollars in fraudulent purchases before he was nabbed.
4.    Jennifer Aniston: America’s sweetheart’s experience proves that it’s just as easy to be scammed by someone to which you have knowingly given your information. A spa owner saved Jennifer's credit card number from her spa treatments, along with that of many other of her famous clientele, and ran false charges on the card at a later time.
5.    Michael Jordan: While Jordan managed to avoid having his talent stolen in Space Jam, he was not as lucky with his bank account information. Equipped with MJ’s bank account information, a scammer was arrested for identity theft after trying to impersonate Jordan over the phone.

“No one is safe when it comes to fraud, underscored by its rampant growth and extensive list of victims targeted – from everyday people to the world’s top celebrities,” said Don Bush, VP of Marketing, Kount. “And, as digital commerce continues to grow and people increasingly leverage their mobile devices to share personal information and conduct transactions, it’s crucial that the public is aware of the risks and take the necessary precautions to thwart fraudsters. As importantly, businesses must be vigilant in implementing the technology and anti-fraud measures necessary to protect themselves and their customers. It is up to all of us to stop fraud.”

This very real threat of fraud means that consumers should not be complacent when it comes to protecting themselves online, offline and on their mobile devices. Here are steps consumers should take to keep their data from falling into the wrong hands.

Kount’s top consumer protection tips include:
1.    Do your research. When making a transaction, many retailers and corresponding applications ask for sensitive information, but that doesn’t mean you always have to offer it. Determine which transactions, such as applying for a store’s credit card, require sensitive information and only share when absolutely necessary. Also, determine which companies make customer and information security a top priority and do business with them.
2.    Go back to the basics. At the very least, safeguard your information by protecting your devices and computers with strong passwords. Avoid conducting activities that require sensitive information when you’re on public Wi-Fi networks (e.g. at the airport, local coffee shop or other public hotspot). Be cautious when you give your personal financial information out over the phone – always call your bank or credit card company directly rather than revealing information to someone who initiates a call with you. Finally, you should be patient when making a big-ticket purchase; vendors and banks put security measures in place to detect unusual spending, which may delay the purchasing process. Have no fear; as businesses get more sophisticated (and expedient) with their fraud detection measures, good purchases will more easily flow through while fraudulent purchases are stopped in their tracks.
3.    Keep close tabs. Monitor your credit activity, including credit card fraud alerts, and pay attention to your credit report. There are also plenty of services that track all of your accounts to monitor for ID or credit card theft. Also, keep your eye out for news of vendors whose data has been compromised and pay special attention to your accounts if you had transacted with them before a breach.
4.    Be vigilant. Shred receipts, insurance forms, bank statements, old credit cards, and other important documents rather than throwing them out intact. If you are mailing anything with sensitive information, bring it to the post office directly rather than leaving it unprotected in your mailbox. Similarly, make sure to bring incoming mail in from the mailbox as soon as possible, and request a hold with your local post office if you are planning to be out of town.
5.    Don’t overshare. Providing personal details on social media sites (such as your current location, hometown or mother’s maiden name) can provide fraudsters with enough information to reset your passwords on email and bank accounts.

About Kount
Kount helps businesses boost sales by reducing fraud. Our all-in-one, SaaS platform simplifies fraud detection and helps online businesses accept more orders. Kount’s turnkey fraud platform is easy-to-implement and easy-to-use. Kount’s proprietary technology reviews billions of data points and provides maximum protection for some of the world’s best-known brands. Merchants using Kount can accept more orders from more people in more places than ever before. For more information about Kount, please visit http://www.kount.com.

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Nikki Neumann
Dotted Line Communications
+1 518-669-6455
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