The email looked like one of the client’s typical missives: sent from his personal account, written in his typical casual style. He would be traveling again and needed his financial advisor to wire about $40,000 to an overseas account -- a hefty sum for most, but nothing extraordinary for someone of this particular man’s financial stature. Not enough to raise any red flags.

But the email, sent last year, was fraudulent -- crafted by a growing breed of identity thief that targets high-net-worth individuals and their personal financial teams, said Raul Vargas, a fraud operations manager with theft recovery service Identity Theft 911 who says he read the email. Combining traditional dumpster diving and computer hacking, the criminals glean enough sensitive information to digitally impersonate victims and exploit their business networks.

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