In the 21st century, protecting yourself from bank fraud no longer means what it once did — being on the lookout for face-to-face grifters and charlatans — and instead it means a fundamental rethinking of your relationship to your money. The story, or perhaps legend, of Roswell Steffen, kicked off the era we live in now, in which the convenience of computerized accounting and financial services paradoxically makes security both more necessary than ever, and harder than ever.
In 2021 (the most recent year with sufficient available data) fraud in general was on the rise. According to a report by the Federal Trade Commission, there were 2.8 million official fraud reports and $5.8 billion in losses, which amounts to a mind-bending 70 percent increase from 2020. And much of that fraud is online.