Fraud Report 5/13/21

Article: Which domain name registrars and web hosting companies  support cybercrime web sites? Naming names

Online scams increase 1500% in the UK; tied to Brexit and Covid

Detroit: Four from Russia and Estonia plead guilty to running “bullet proof  hosting” for criminal groups which sent malware, ran botnets, and stole banking credentials  

Ransomware shuts down largest US oil pipeline

Biden signs executive order on cybersecurity

Notes and thoughts:  Has the time finally come to bring some real forces to bear on ransomware scams? Prosecutions have been exceedingly rare, and the harm continues to grow.   I don’t know if you saw this last week.  US forms new ransomware task force; sends 81 page report to White House. But I’d hope that a serious effort is in the works.

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Fraud Report 5/6/21

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Great look at a nationwide web of magazine scammers indicted in Minneapolis; at least 185,000 seniors lost more than $335 million

Review and recommendation:  I highly recommend the movie Created Equal, Clarence Thomas in his own words.  From a childhood that began in poverty in Georgia, to Yale law school, the Missouri Attorney General’s office, and to his confirmation for the Supreme Court.  It is a fascinating account of an intellectual and spiritual journey.  Note that this movie has been pulled from Amazon streaming.

Studies I’ve done for BBB can all be found here. Here are links to some of the study topics: puppy fraud, tech support fraud, romance fraud money mules, apartment rental, crooked movers, government imposters, online vehicle sale scams, rental fraud and gift cards.

Coronavirus

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Fraud Report 4/29/21

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Analysis of the Supreme Court’ decision that autodialers used in robocalls may not be subject to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, and thus limit private legal action  Note, though, that this decision does not affect the FTC’s National Do Not call enforcement authority

New York man pleads guilty over selling lists of older people that were used to send letters claiming recipient had won a lottery or for psychics

Online bitcoin scams in Australia claiming endorsements from Chris Hemsworth and Nicole Kidman

Italy arrests 30 Nigerian members of Black Axe gang for drug trafficking, prostitution, illegal immigration, internet fraud, ‘romantic fraud’, and money launderingBBC story on the arrests

Confession of a scammer who offered to “sell” timeshares in Mexico

New York Times on fake charity impersonating MacKenzie Scott, former wife of Amazon owner Jeff Bezos; follow up article in Nigeria

Pittsburgh: Criminal charges for puppy fraud against Cameroonian man extradited to the US from Germany

If your phone rings do you answer it?  My generation grew up before answering machines, and it was nearly unthinkable to not answer a ringing telephone.  This may explain why telemarking scammers have more luck reaching older victims.  But people are learning. And something is lost when we now have to email someone and arrange to talk by phone when we could once just pick up a phone and easily reach out.

Review and recommendation:  Oliver,  a musical based on Oliver Twist, which won best picture in 1968.  A great story, wonderful production and music.

Studies I’ve done for BBB can all be found here. Here are links to some of the study topics: puppy fraud, tech support fraud, romance fraud money mules, apartment rental, crooked movers, government imposters, online vehicle sale scams, rental fraud and gift cards.

Full Report here

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Fraud Report 4/22/21

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Seattle: Ten years prison for Ukrainian man extradited from Germany; was part of NI7, group that stole millions of credit and debit card numbers; losses exceed $1 billion

SEC sues massive binary options investment fraud in Israel that has victims around the world

Federal court in Australia finds Google guilty of deception; even if you turned off location information on Android devices another program still collected that data; how to turn it all off

Virus Benefit Theft

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Fraud Report 4/15/21

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Singapore police arrest 329 for romance fraud, other frauds, and for being money mules

Hong Kong arrests nine for laundering money for investment and romance fraud; had 300 bank accounts; handled $HK 900 million

New York: Scammer who was based in Dubai gets 50 months prison for two frauds

  • First was using phone spoofing and voice altering to get information from customer service centers at banks to get access to bank accounts of victims in the United States.
  • Second, laundered money for BEC fraud
  • Other defendants in this case from Canada, the UK, Georgia in the US

EU issues Organized Crime Threat Assessment

Canada:  Scammers calling victims and telling them to call their bank. Victims hang up, dial their bank and don’t realize the phone was not disconnected from the original call and they are giving personal information to scammers

Virus Benefit Theft

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Fraud Report 4/8/21

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Review and Recommendation:  A great movie is House of Games, a David Mamet play made into this movie starring Joe Mantegna.  How even a very bright psychiatrist can be taken in by a good con.

US databases begin sharing complaints again.  The FBI’s IC3 at one time contributed its complaints to the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel system, making it easier to search for complaints and do analysis.  Some years ago this ended.  But the two are now sharing at least some complaints once again.  As the FTC recently said: “This year, the FTC welcomed the data contributions of the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection. Twenty-five states now contribute to Sentinel.” Note though, that the amount of data shared seems to be limited.

Studies I’ve done for BBB can all be found here. Here are links to some of the study topics: puppy fraud, tech support fraud, romance fraud money mules, apartment rental, crooked movers, government imposters, online vehicle sale scams, rental fraud and gift cards.

Full report here

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Fraud Report 4/1/21

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Justice Department releases efforts to fight pandemic fraud to date

  • 474 charged so far; attempts to obtain $569 million
  • 120 charged with PPP fraud
  • Have seized $580 million in EDIL loan fraud
  • Arrested 140 people for unemployment fraud; use stolen identities; much of this by international organized crime groups
  • Also done dozens of cases against bogus treatments or cures, PPE issues, and has taken down hundreds of fraudulent websites

Joint US/Canadian Crackdown on Grandparent Scams

Virus Benefit Theft

Studies I’ve done for BBB can all be found here. Here are links to some of the study topics: puppy fraud, tech support fraud, romance fraud money mules, apartment rental, crooked movers, government imposters, online vehicle sale scams, rental fraud and gift cards.

Full report here

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Fraud Report 3/25/21

March 25, 2021

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India busts call center, arrest 34; operation ran tech support and social security impersonator scams

UK consumer watchdog buys fake Google reviews for its fake companies

Prison for Russian and Macedonian; operated crooked online Marketplace with slogan: “In Fraud we Trust;”  responsible for purchase and sale of over 4 million credit and debit cards

Grandparent frauds now asking victims to deposit cash into a Wells Fargo ATM; give them a one time access code

Counterfeit check frauds continue to grow

  • Industry updates numbers every two years; latest available for 2018
  • In 2016 a study said bank themselves lost $789 million; a 25% increase from two years before; and banks stopped 7.8 billion in fake checks in  2016
  • In 2018 counterfeit checks cost banks themselves $1.3 billion, and the banks stopped $13.8 billion, or 91% of those
  • So losses up considerably; more than 50%

Virus Benefit Theft

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Fraud Report 3/11/21

My new study for the Better Business Bureau:  Gift Card Payment Scams

  • Gift cards are now the top payment methods for complaints to the FTC (excepting online purchases)
  • BBB complaints from people who paid with gifts card triples in last two years
  • Providing numbers from the back of cards is like sending cash
  • Most common cards scammers ask for are eBay, Google Play, iTunes, Amazon and Target
  • Older people more likely to be victims

Claim forms are going out for the $125 million settlement between MoneyGram and the FTC/DOJ

Two from Ukraine extradited to the US and charged; laundered money for cyber thieves that stole money from online bank accounts

FINRA releases study on chronic fraud victimization and steps to intervene

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FTC and SBA give advice for businesses that are asked to repay loans even though they never received one

Full report here

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Fraud Report 3/4/21

Better Business Bureau releases 2020 scam risk report

  • 25% increase in scam tracker complaints
  • Two thirds of those who lost money were victims of an online purchase fraud
  • Pets and pets supplies largest problem in online purchases
  • Employment scams and fake checks still major problems

Robocall study for the US; calls down 10%, but are 25% of all phone calls

A close look at the operations of a Romanian ATM skimming operation centered in Mexico and protected by local politicians 

Agari issues new report on Business Email Compromise fraud

  • More phishing emails refer to COVID-19 vaccines
  • New tactics to get money from investment commitments
  • 333% increase in paycheck diversion
  • More than half of BEC attacks request gift cards
  • eBay cards 25% of the time

Virus Benefit Theft

Full Report here

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