Security Blog
Wednesday, 31 May 2017 14:21

So Why Target High Net Worth Families?

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Targeting the affluent is more complex than it might appear. And it's not just because they might have more money or better credit than the average consumer.

Higher net worth individuals certainly have more to steal. But they also present a much bigger payoff for thieves, in a very different way, and with a much lower risk:

  1. The affluent often have more accounts and with higher deposits, making it much harder for them to protect themselves. While the average consumer might have as few as one or two bank accounts (a checking and savings), a higher net worth target may have as many as twenty different accounts, when you include business accounts, brokerage and investment accounts, and even trust accounts.
  2. Protecting so many accounts is like spinning plates. With so little security spread over so many accounts, it's easy to understand why some plates might come crashing down.
  3. These targets have more than money to steal and to worry about. They're equally worried about their privacy, their reputation, the protection of the family, their standing in business and social circles, their access to the right people, their business deals and investments, their access to funds and liquid assets, and the need to protect multiple accounts.
  4. The crooks that target them are usually very sophisticated and persistent, making them much harder to defend against. And those crooks increasingly want access to things like personal secrets and communications, corporate secrets and business transactions, conversations with advisers and partners, social and business connections, and especially peccadillos, infidelities and transgressions.
  5. It's relatively easy to steal the personal information of these victims and clone their identity because there is much more information about them in the public domain. Information that can be very difficult to remove or to bury.
  6. They're often too busy to think about protecting themselves. And maybe they're also falsely confident or perhaps even arrogant) that either no one would dare try to snatch their beloved identity away from them, or they'll just be able to make it go away if it does happen.
  7. Often the focus of the attack is simply to find a backdoor into another business, corporate partner, or financial institution, or merely as a backdoor to an even higher net worth target.
  8. These victims often feel uncomfortable about reporting the crime in case it causes embarrassment or reputation damage. And if the individual runs a business, bad press over a security breach can also be financially costly and especially if it impacts potential future business dealings. And the likelihood of never being caught, prosecuted, punished or even reported can seal the deal for criminals.
  9. With enough information, thieves can successfully attack the same victim again and again. For the victim it ends up being a high-stakes game of whack-a-mole, never knowing where the thieves can pop up again.
  10. And finally, Affluent consumers typically have more points of access and vulnerability – meaning more people around them, from employees to advisors, who can be exploited for access. Not to mention more accounts, more relationships, more purchases, more credit cards, more spending, more travel – all of which increase exposure and opportunity.

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