Thursday, February 10, 2011 | Posted by: Fiona Cullinan
Categories: Personal, Protecting your wealth | Tags: business, due diligence, security, fraud, ID theft, deep web mining, forensics, checks, passwords, evidence
It may feel uncomfortable to question the integrity of people we meet, but a little circumspection goes a long way, says Chris Clements, Partner, Forensic & Investigation Services, Grant Thornton.
People are generally trusting – and quite rightly, because most of the people you meet are very honest. But we do regularly see examples of high net worth individuals (HNWIs) who have completely failed to do due diligence and checks into the people they’re doing business with.
I know of one individual who entrusted all his businesses affairs to a fellow pilot that he’d met at an airport concourse – this man then proceeded to rip him off for 10 years before being discovered.
One of the services we provide at Grant Thornton is what’s known as deep web mining. Most of the web is the indexed internet – the information that has being catalogued by Google. But that only represents a very small proportion of what’s actually out there.
By using deep web mining you can actually find lots of detail out about individuals, around issues such as probity and so on. It really is a sensible consideration to check an individual’s background to discover if there is anything that should cause you concern before entering into business or trusting your business affairs with them.
Everyday personal security is important, too. I am constantly astonished how many people have just one password that they use for everything. They’re not just risking the theft of their ID, but opening themselves to being blamed for any fraud or theft that has been perpetrated with their identity.
It’s best to use a minimum of nine upper- and lower-case letters and numbers and to steer away from obvious things – just as we can use the web for research, so can others and it’s very easy to discover the name of children or schools that are often used as passwords.
A particular problem area is the temptation for people to do their own detective work if things take a turn for the worse. It may seem logical to start playing around with computers, hacking into accounts if a business partner has made off with a pile of assets, but it’s the worst thing you can do.
You can damage the information and inadvertently tamper with evidence, which means that you won’t be able to rely on it in court. You’ve got to make sure that you get the right professionals in and you get the right advice, in order to make sure things are done the proper way.
The key thing is not to have nightmares, but be prepared. Just because you hear about these problems doesn’t mean that you’re actually going to have them all the time. The worst may never happen, but if it does, then at least you’re ready for it.
For further information about fraud solutions and digital forensics, visit our Forensic and Investigation Services page.
This article first appeared in the Winter 2010 issue of Bespoke magazine. To view a PDF version of the current magazine, just register and download it here. Or to subscribe to receive future editions, either electronically or as a hard copy, please email your name, address and preferred format to email@example.com
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