It's long been theorized and declared that a good defense in football or any other sport wins championships.

You can apply that same methodology to your finances and tech devices too -- a good defense on your part can help win a championship -- so to speak -- in keeping social engineers and cyber and financial criminals away from your life.

Defense Attorneys, Chris and Deb Gramiccioni of Kingston Coventry LLC., spent years in a number of different roles in law enforcement or in the courtroom -- Chris' background includes serving as the Monmouth County Prosecutor and Deb's as a Superior Court Judge in New Jersey.

Both Chris and Deb joined us on 'Shore Time with Vin and Dave' on Sunday morning as we asked for their insight and expertise on a number of topics including cyber-crimes, financial scams, bail reform, state of police, and education and correctional behavior in court and in a facility such as the MCCI in Freehold.

Whether it's following a natural disaster like a Superstorm Sandy or Hurricane Ian/Nicole this year, or the Covid pandemic, an economy heading towards a recession, or something else, there are criminals out there looking to take advantage of people especially when they're at their most vulnerable through any number of scams, schemes, and crimes of opportunity.

"The idea is to get two things: money in hand -- if you're a bad person trying to commit crimes or some kind of, what I call, personally identifiable information like your social security number, your bank account number, your credit card number," Chris said.

One such example, which rings especially true to many here at the Jersey Shore, is contractor fraud.

New construction home framing against blue sky

"'You want us to come pump our your basement or remediate your water damaged house, you're going to have to put down 50-75 percent, we're going to need your credit card information' -- and low and behold, they will lie about being licensed when in fact they're not. Unfortunately, consumers never see that money back," Chris said. "There are scams that -- following natural disasters -- where people need to replace prescription medications, so, they'll be people calling saying, 'hey, we're with medicare or medicaid, we can help you get the medicine that you need, I realize that you might not have access because of the storm damage, I just need your medicare or medicaid number and a little bit of personal information and we can mail you out your prescription' -- that's another example of one of the more common fraud schemes, and, they exploit senior citizens who generally tend to be more reliant based on age or infirmity with medication or things like that."

Another part to all this are the phone calls plus the emails and other ways criminals try and contact someone.

Close-up of a email address on a computer screen
Medioimages/Photodisc, Getty Stock / ThinkStock

"The idea that the most vulnerable amongst us in the community, starting with the elderly, are not accustomed to using online platforms and so, they're somewhat more susceptible to giving PII (Personal Identifying Information) over the emails, which, of course, we should be scrutinizing those emails very closely, same with over the phone -- not just the elderly, but, all of us are really likely to give personal identifying information to people that call us without doing the requisite vetting," Deb said. "Don't provide the PII over the phone, don't respond to an email, even have something that that you're going to say to get off the phone quickly -- just things that you can do from a training perspective."

Whether it's from one of the aforementioned scams or something else -- someone may be trying to take advantage of you donating to a special cause or non-profit or reach out in a sophisticated way that social engineers and others do -- and there are signs to look out for and certain steps you can take to avoid any of this from happening to you.

credit cards
(Getty Stock / ThinkStock)

If it's specifically a financial related crime, there are steps you should take to try and help yourself right away.

"Usually, the first step we recommend is to call the bank and report it as a questionable or fraudulent, suspicious transaction," Chris said. "Banks are different, but, a lot of them won't penalize the person who's been victimized. The other thing is that you can call each of the three credit reporting agencies and you could put a flag on your credit -- in other words, if someone tries to open credit, they'll have a mechanism in place where they'll contact you first, so that if anyone should get any of your personally identifiable information to try and open a line of credit, there's an extra step in there."

You can listen to the full audio from our conversation with Defense Attorney's Chris and Deb Gramiccioni on 'Shore Time with Vin and Dave', right here.

Audio Conversation Part One:

Audio Conversation Part Two:

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