B2B Payments

Some Fraudsters Go Low-Tech To Grab Credit Card, Personal Data

paper check fraud

Paper checks, photocopies.  Fraudulent companies.  Banks and other firms may think payments fraud is all about BEC, but low-tech also has its place in the fraudsters’ arsenal, as some recent cases illustrate.

When chip and PIN came out, the bad guys moved to CNP. And as banks and mobile providers have taken tech in hand to battle CNP, fraudsters have plied their trade through other means.  As we noted in the recent Digital Banking Tracker, the CNP fraud has taken a leg down in favor of fraud that looks to snag credit card numbers.

Sometimes the methods are decidedly old school.  Consider the case reported by goingconcern.com, where an executive assistant at EY, Sukhbir Mawkin, and her husband Anil, were sentenced earlier in the month for stealing credit card and personal data from several employees over several years…by intercepting paper mail and lifting details from cards and wallets and photocopying them.

The low-tech approach seemed to work, as the duo allegedly stole more than 76,000 pounds and used the ill-gotten gains to buy items like clothing and mobile phones. They took the details and applied for credit cards.

Check Fraud, Too

In another example of decidedly low-tech fraud, in Oklahoma, a woman recently sentenced to prison stole $400,000 from her employer through signed paper checks.  The woman, Gina Preble, had stolen from TransWood Carriers by creating what were termed fraudulent “draft checks” that were subsequently paid for. She also submitted a false tax return in 2016, omitting those funds as income.

Separately, invoice fraud of course remains popular, as illustrated by a case in Silver Spring, Maryland.  In that example, an employee allegedly stole more than $855,000 from a hospitality firm and an airline company by submitting fake invoices between 2008 and 2015.  Rebecca Jelfo worked separately at the two companies, which wound up paying for personal expenses in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to authorities.  Vendors even made payments to Jelfo’s credit card accounts, according to reports in patch.com.

In other examples, the establishment of suspect or even phony companies to take in funds and use them for personal gain has been a hallmark of fraud.

The website Kentucky.com reported that a group in Florida filed suit against the executives behind what is being billed as a “failed battery manufacturing plant,” where millions of dollars were taken in and squandered on personal expenses and “fruitless trips overseas.”

The investment firm Dapco LTO Investment, based in Florida, invested $3 million in Enerblu.  Enerblu in turn existed simply as a firm domiciled in Kentucky that was, according to a suit, never more than “drawings on a piece of paper.”  The funds were allegedly used by executives, who had said that a range of contracts had been in various stages of completion — but had not in fact been in place.  The company raised about $9.6 million in total funding, and executives had tens of thousands of dollars in reimbursed expenses and put relatives on the payroll.



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.