Contact Information

Center for Identity Management
and Information Protection
Dr. Donald Rebovich,
Executive Director
Utica College
1600 Burrstone Road
Utica, NY 13502



October 24, 2018
Utica College


On October 24, Utica College hosted the 7th annual Economic Crime and Cybersecurity Seminar. The Economic Crime and Cybersecurity Seminar is a collaborative effort by the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) and Utica College that consists of a conclave of Economic and Cybersecurity experts who put together various presentations to help educate and prevent cases of fraud and cybercrime. The seminar contained five separate presentations that all dealt with different themes regarding economic crime and cybersecurity.

The first presentation was conducted by Dr. Leslie Corbo, Asst. Professor of Cybersecurity, of Utica College which discussed the reliability of the upcoming workforce and phishing emails. Phishing is the fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details, often for malicious reasons, disguised as a trustworthy entity, in an electronic communication. Phishing emails are the cause of 91% of all cyber-attacks according to Dr. Corbo. These breaches can be very destructive to small to medium sized businesses and usually forces 50% of businesses to shut down within 6 months since 25% of those businesses have no cyber protocol.

The second presentation was designed by Nicole Lent, Cybersecurity and Fraud Risk Analyst II, NBT Bank & Mike Longo, Systems Development Department Manager, NBT Bank. The presentation introduced the concept of Business Email Compromise (BEC). As described by the presenters, BEC is quite similar to the phishing email scams discussed in Dr. Corbo’s presentation. BEC is a collection of a variety of methods that can involve spear-phishing (i.e., phishing emails designed for a specific group or person), and manipulative social engineering methods designed to groom unsuspecting employees into becoming unwitting “tools” for fraudsters to provide access to sensitive information, much of it financial.

The third presentation was conducted by Eric Lurie, Program Coordinator at Cyber Intrusion Unit of the FBI. Mr. Lurie explained the threat of cyber-attacks and the people behind them. The biggest targets for cyber-attacks are federal/state government agencies and colleges/universities. These institutions can be “attacked” by anyone who knows how to construct cyber-attacks such as a distributed denial of service attack, also known as a DDoS attack. The threat level of these attacks differs depending on the attacker. The lowest threat level would be from an individual and the highest threat level would be perpetrated by foreign governments. The fact that there are no borders when it comes to the Internet introduces a new threat that the FBI must adapt too.

The fourth presentation was introduced by Dr. Donald J. Rebovich, Ph.D., Professor of Criminal Justice, Utica College, and Executive Director of CIMIP. Dr. Rebovich discussed the ongoing problem of identity theft against the elderly. Seniors are most likely to be taken advantage of, which results in an estimated loss of $36 billion dollars a year. Dr. Rebovich explained that, through CIMIP’s study of the financial crime database of the U.S, Postal Inspection Service, it was determined that in over 50% of these frauds committed against the elderly, fraudsters form groups to more easily manipulate their victims. In many of the cases analyzed, the crimes were achieved by promising the victims unusually high return rates for their initial financial investments into entities that were completely fictitious. These fraudsters were found to manipulate the elderly, whose cognitive skills are already declining, by feeding into the loneliness that many elderly experience. Fraudsters develop a “faux friendship” that can often blind the victim from fully accepting that the crime actually occurred. While men tend to dominate the victim group, it is women who tend to lose the most financially, according to the study results.

The final presentation was developed by Ryne Cornacchia, Manager of Risk Services, AmeriCU Credit Union. The presentation delved into the idea of synthetic ID theft, debit card, and car dealership fraud. Synthetic ID theft was described as the creation of a fictitious identity using either fabricated or valid elements, such as a Social Security number, name, address, and date of birth. Mr. Cornacchia described the multiple ways that debit card information can be stolen and used against the victim. Car dealership fraud was characterized as involving the manipulation of credit scores and the cover up of accidents that can negatively affect the consumers by overcharging them without the victims ever knowing.

The event was well-attended by members of the Central New York Chapter of IIA, Utica College students majoring in fraud/financial crime investigation, Cybersecurity, criminal justice and accounting and Utica College faculty and administration.

Author: Nathan Hull, CIMIP Research Analyst