Knoxville FBI warns against fraud; what you need to know to protect yourself

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – From massive data breaches to cyber-crimes, it seems like fraud is everywhere. The FBI wants you to know you could be at risk any time you swipe your credit or debit card, and even when you use your email account.

The Knoxville division of the FBI put on a free event Thursday called “Fraudapalooza” to help teach people and businesses what to look for to avoid becoming a victim of fraud. Speakers covered everything from cyber crimes to white collar crimes and even bank extortion and kidnapping cases like the two investigators are trying to solve from earlier this year.

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Special Agent in Charge Ed Reinhold said the FBI is trying to reach financial institutions and retailers to let them know they’re targets for fraud.

“Cyber intrusions are huge,” said Reinhold. “The amount of cyber investigations that we do is just exponentially growing. Everybody’s networks are vulnerable to some degree.”

Reinhold said there are certain things you should be aware of to help protect your financial information.

The Knoxville division of the FBI put on a free event Thursday called "Fraudapalooza" to help teach people and businesses what to look for to avoid becoming a victim of fraud.
The Knoxville division of the FBI put on a free event Thursday called “Fraudapalooza” to help teach people and businesses what to look for to avoid becoming a victim of fraud.

“The most common way of somebody getting into your system is through fishing,” he said. “They’ll send you an email, which is going to have malicious software or malware on it.” He if you’re not expecting an email or don’t know the sender, don’t open it, or any links that come in it.

“If you get an email at home, and you think they’re asking you to verify something, I would not click on it,” said Reinhold. “You’re just asking for somebody to infect your computer which them in turn allows them access to the networks you connect to.”

If you get an email that looks like it’s really from your bank or credit card company, but you’re still worried it could be fake, the FBI suggests you call your bank, which will likely be happy to double check up front instead of having to deal with fraud later.

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