Liquid assets are the lifeblood of any supervillain's organization. Converting a vast treasure horde into legal tender is tedious and time-consuming, enchanted armament can sit around gathering dust for literal eons while you await a buyer, and second-hand blasters depreciate steeply after they have been discharged a few times. The simplest, quickest, and most efficient way to amass a substantial sum in your local bank is to leave them where they originated, but just to draw your lines around them marking them as your own.
- Go offshore. While the American banking establishment is far from impeccable, over time it has acquired enough impediments to the free and easy penetration of the wealth it contains to make it a relatively unattractive place to store your ill-gotten gain. You should do what criminals round the world do instead and set up a bank account somewhere else, frequently a tiny island or boring principality somewhere where the restrictions on what kinds of things you are allowed to do with the money are just a little more lax, and while they might notice what is up, you can easily use your influence (financial and other) to keep their authorities from taking any action based on this knowledge.
- The black hat. These are the valuable hackers who can get you past the financial institution safeguards in order to tap in to that sweet sea of capital. They are sometimes difficult to come to terms with, as they tend to have very specific attitudes when it comes to the sorts of evil to which the proceeds will be put, and you may find some individuals in this group are of the rare sort who cannot be bought off by money alone. Be careful, too, of the black hats who have been coerced by the authorities to provide them information about the underworld, as these can explode like a grenade at the most inconvenient moments.
- Go phish. The most vulnerable part of the banking system these days is the part where the account holder enters their password or PIN to access their account electronically. Given the tiny capacity of the human brain, this piece of information is tiny, frequently written down on paper, seldom changed, and frequently the same as other online passwords they use. It is laughably easy to convince most people to give up that information as well, along with the account number, simply by asking them about it in a socially engineered fashion which plays on their weak emotions. As a side benefit, you can laugh at their haplessness literally all the way to the bank where you can then authorize fund transfers to your shell accounts with ease.
- Interbank transfer. Understanding exactly how money flows through these pipes is key to knowing how to subvert the system. You may find that the trick is to amass the funds at one institution, transfer them offshore to another, split them into smaller pieces and bring them back onshore (essentially laundering the proceeds) as funds owned by shell companies you control, and then trickle them in to your main holding account offshore disguised as legitimate disbursements. Acquiring an expert in the ways of these manipulations is a splendid way to shore up your intellectual capital.
Strokes of genius
- Rubber hose attack. Some villains of a violent disposition are most comfortable with the direct approach, where the account information and security codes of a well-to-do individual is persuaded out of them through threats (possibly in conjunction with pharmaceuticals). The trick is to carry this off with someone who will not immediately go to the authorities, either because of their own personal indiscrtions
- Shoulder surfing. A minion equipped with powerful binoculars can often pick up personal identification number as they are punched on the keypad of an ATM. Then it is simply a matter of liberating the debit card from the person in question's wallet and running up charges before they can be reported.
- Foreign trade gambits. One of the nice things about doing business in different sovereign nations is the little quirks of the different legal systems allows a person to exploit slight mismatches, so long as the inefficiencies are not widely known in the financial community. Exchange rate fluctuations of the most ephemeral sort can also be exploited using high-speed trading systems in a way which adds no value to the global financial system itself.
Traps for mere fools
- Going too far past the decimal point. While it is technically true that computers are subject to a round-off error because they use rational numbers instead of real numbers, relying on scraping up what is lost in rounding transactions hundreds of digits past the decimal point in practice is difficult because the number of individual transactions needed to make this amount to something decent would exceed the number executed in the worldwide banking system by a large degree.
- Precious metals. Despite the allure of gold, silver, platinum and the rest, when large sums are involved they become unwieldy and, ultimately, non-portable. Stick to the intangible sums of money.
- Honeypots. These are fake accounts designed to lure the cybercriminal in where they may be identified and neutralized. If it all looks too orderly and easy, be suspicious.
- Matters of the heart. Humans are usually the weak link in the system, when it comes to security, irrational attachment to financial instruments, improper weighting of risk and reward, and in many other areas. If you can turn your affairs over to a completely dispassionate, rational being that you can trust, you can stay away from the most prevalent errors of this sort.
- White hat hackers.
- Multinational law enforcement.
Precious and needful
- Hacker chic wardrobe.
- Keylogging software.
- Phishing spam network.
- Fake credit cards.
- Ponzi scheme.
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- Image credit Canadian Cashpoints, Bah! by psd
- Image credit Buck eye by Roger Smith
- Image credit $5700 by AMagill