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Investment Fraud

Not that long ago, investing your hard-earned cash meant balancing between stocks and bonds. Retirement funds were managed by large organizations and made all the decisions for you. Today, investment management incorporates everything from your 401(k), IRA’s, to annuities, coin, cryptocurrencies, etc. – with more autonomy than ever before.

Many average investors think about or seek some form of assistance with their long-term financial goals and concerns. Enter investment managers. With nearly 17,000 investment companies in the U.S, and managed assets are expected to grow to $145 trillion USD by 2025. That is trillion, with a “t”. With this much money transferring hands, investment managers are not the only ones looking to put your money in motion. Cybercriminals also know consumers are looking for investment options and this provides opportunity for fraudsters to scam them out of their hard-earned money.

A recent article from the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance sounds the alarm to investment managers. Cybercriminal scams are aimed at not only themselves, but their clients as well. Email remains the primary attack vector, but the scams keep getting better. The Wall Street Journal reported a cyber scam where an AI-generated voice, programmed to mimic CEOs of companies, successfully tricked staff into making wire transfers straight to the fraudsters. It appears the fraudsters from 2015 who perpetrated a sophisticated voice-based scam leveraging UBS’s brand, have learned to automate their process.

What you perceive, may not be real

Cybercriminals are becoming increasingly aggressive, luring unsuspecting investors to their fake hedge fund websites. Reuters reports hundreds of cloned hedge fund sites have appeared – a large increase over prior years. Ordinary customers might fall prey to promises of huge returns, banking on the brand value of the hedge fund being cloned. Sadly, government regulators do not have the tools they need to control search engines that lead to these bogus investment sites. Fraudsters continue to flourish and find success during the lengthy time it takes to remove these sites.

For companies that are managing 10+ Billion in assets, you can be sure you are a target. If you do not take any measures to defend yourself against the onslaught of cybercrime, regulators are likely going to be knocking on your door.

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