July 17, 2024

Even celebrities can fall prey to scam artists. Television host, Andy Cohen, recently discovered this when he became entangled in a complex credit card scam. He discussed this encounter on The Today Show, shedding light on how an imposter fraud led to the loss of money from his bank account.

As the Federal Trade Commission explains, imposter scams involve a fraudster impersonating a trusted person, such as a bank officer or a government official, to swindle the victim’s money or private data. These scams rank high in most-occurring frauds, based on FTC reports, with over 600,000 cases noted in the U.S in 2023, amounting to losses over $2 billion.

A Closer Look at Andy Cohen’s Scam Story

In his account shared on The Today Show, Cohen stated that his troubles began when he misplaced his debit card. A seemingly genuine email from his bank’s fraud alert followed the very next day. Succumbing to the scam, he clicked the link in the email, opening up access to his account for the scammers. Their request for his Apple ID login further intensified his suspicions.

A day later, he received a phone call and a text message, both seemingly from his bank, inquiring about his card activities. When he denied any involvement, he received ‘codes’ which, unbeknownst to him, facilitated wire transfers from his account. Following their instructions, he activated caller forwarding on his phone, unwittingly directing all phone calls to the fraudsters.

The scam only came into light when Cohen noticed a considerable sum wired out of his account upon visiting his bank. However, he chose to not disclose the exact amount lost during the show.

Celebrities Are Not Immune to Scams

Barbara Corcoran, founder of the Corcoran Group, a real estate brokerage firm, and a panelist on ABC’s Shark Tank, got entangled in a close-call scam in 2020. She almost lost $400,000 to this email scam.

As reported by CNBC, the scam took place when Corcoran’s bookkeeper was duped by an email posing as an instruction from the her assistant. The email demanded approval for an invoice tied to a non-existent investment property in Europe. Luckily, Corcoran’s team spotted the anomaly when the bookkeeper involved the real assistant in further correspondence using her actual email, uncovering the fraud in the process.

In the aftermath, even though the fraudsters were successful in withdrawing funds from Corcoran’s account, quick response from her New York-based bank helped freeze the funds before they reached the fraudsters, leading to a complete recovery of her money.

To learn about various types of scams ranging from romance and business fraud to government imposter scams, check out the FTC’s guidance here.

The 20 Most Common Passwords Found on the Dark Web – Time To Change Yours!

Likely, your go-to password is something simple and memorable. But is it secure? Mobile security company Lookout recently released a list of the 20 most common passwords found in leaked databases on the dark web. Unsurprisingly, many passwords are variations of “12345”, or as uncomplicated as “Iloveyou”. Such passwords are a direct invitation to hackers.

While it is easier to remember simple passwords, remember that easy passwords are just as easy to crack. With NordPass stating that an average person manages over 100 online accounts, remembering every single password becomes difficult. But your passwords need to be strong, not just easy.

An old-fashioned notebook-stowing all passwords in one secure place can be a solution. Vary your passwords with a combination of numbers, letters, and symbols for enhanced security.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an imposter scam?

Imposter scams occur when a fraudster impersonates a trusted figure, such as a bank officer or government official, in order to gain access to the victim’s money or personal data. Impersonator scams are among the most common types of fraud reported to the FTC. In 2023 alone, over 600,000 such scams were reported in the U.S, leading to losses of over $2 billion.

How did Andy Cohen become a victim of the imposter scam?

Andy Cohen fell victim to an imposter scam after he misplaced his debit card. He received an email seemingly from his bank’s fraud alert, which led him to click a link, granting the scammers access to his bank account. In later correspondences, he ended up activating call forwarding on his phone, enabling the fraudsters to intercept all his calls. He discovered the scam upon finding a significant quantity of money wired out of his account.

How was Barbara Corcoran almost outsmarted by a scam?

Barbara Corcoran almost lost $400,000 to an email scam. Her bookkeeper was tricked by an email pretending to be from Corcoran’s assistant, urging approval for an invoice concerning a non-existent property in Europe. The scam was only discovered when the bookkeeper involved the real assistant using her genuine email id, revealing the fraud. Even though funds were withdrawn from Corcoran’s account, swift action from her bank resulted in a freeze on the funds before they reached China, ensuring a complete recovery.