Fraud Report 1/15/21

THANK YOU.  This issue begins the fifth year of the Baker Fraud Report.  Thanks for your support. I continue to shocked at the massive amount of fraud perpetrated on the public around the world.  And I’m always impressed with the great work being done by law enforcement agencies. Progress has been made, and if we keep working together we can continue to protect people and punish those who wreck lives with fraud.

Top Stories

New US law requires registration of shell corporations; registration to be handled by Treasury Department

World’s largest dark web marketplace taken down in international effort; Germany arrests Australian head of it; sold drugs, counterfeit money, stolen credit cards, malware etc.; had 500,000 users

Many agencies have warned of an increase in scams involving virus vaccines; phishing emails, of course, as well online sales that take your money but don’t deliver.  And I would hardly be surprised to see sales of counterfeit vaccines.  See this from the FBI

Virus benefit theft

BBB studies: They can all be found here. There are links below to several topic areas, and there are also studies on puppy fraud, tech support fraud, romance fraud money mules, apartment rental, crooked movers, government imposters, online vehicle sale scams, and rental fraud

Full report here

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Fraud Report 1/7/2020

Top Stories

UK saw record numbers of romance frauds in 2020; trace back to Ghana and Nigeria; social media companies warned to cooperate or be regulated

Federal Communications Commission announces two new rules to fight robocalls

Sunburst hacking attack may have affected 250 organizations

DOJ gets $10 million criminal fine from Ticketmaster; hacked into system of competitor; plan was to choke off competing business

Chapter: How US authorities obtain evidence that is in other countries

Virus benefit theft

Full report here

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Fraud Report 12/30/2020

Top Stories

Canadian man extradited from Spain faces charges in New York

  • Sent mailings to elderly and vulnerable pretending to French Psychics Marie DuVal and Patrick Guerin
  • Had them send back money; usually between $5 and $50
  • Took in $180 million
  • Over 1 million US victims
  • Scheme went on nearly 20 years
  • US Postal Inspection Service effort
  • Operation previously shut down by DOJ civil suit

India busts fifth call center in two weeks; this one focused on ripping off job seekers

NPR interview with Steve Baker on puppy scams

Virus benefit theft

Nevada:  Man illegally in the US from England charged with fraud in getting unemployment benefits

Full report here

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Fraud Report 12/23/2020

Top Stories

Massachusetts:  Man already in prison for another fraud pleads guilty to money laundering

  • Defendant ran a bitcoin business
  • Romance and lottery fraud victims paid him cash of at last $630,000
  • He then sent the bitcoin overseas to scammers after taking his cut

FTC does a close look at scams using gift cards to get money from victims; payment method used in 25% of scams; eBay gift cards most often used

FTC releases campaign and materials to fight gift card fraud

US seeing huge surge in fake package delivery messages; up 60% from last year; some messages contain ransomware

UK has seen huge increase in package delivery scams where people think email or text is about delivery; £240,000 lost in six months; victims pay small sum, then get a call supposedly from their bank, telling them their account is compromised and they must put all their money into a new “safe” account —  but it really goes to scammers

India arrests 54 in Dehli call center; called the US and other countries; claimed to be law enforcement; tactics used by social security scammers; took in $14 million

IRS warns people are getting text messages claiming virus relief money has been deposited into their bank account; phishing scam to get personal and bank information

Virus benefit theft

Full report here

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Fraud Report 12/17/2020

Top Stories

Interpol announces Operation First Light in battle against phone and internet scammers

  • Global effort
  • More than 20,000 arrested
  • $153 million seized
  • Includes BEC and romance scams

Europol announces major effort against counterfeit medicine

  • 27+ countries
  • Seize €73 million worth of products
  • 667 arrested
  • 453 websites taken down

Virus benefit theft

FULL REPORT HERE

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Fraud Report 12/10/2020

Top Stories

Pet fraud in the UK has eight times the complaints as in 2019

Pittsburg: Cameroonian student who was living in Romania arrested and charged with pet scams against US victims

Virus benefit theft

Arkansas man gets two years prison for PPP fraud; sought $8 million

Full Report here

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Fraud Report 12/3/2020

Top Stories

BBB updates study on  pet frauds in the US and Canada

  • Huge spike in BBB complaints this year; five fold increase from 2017
  • Losses double from 2019
  • Scammers now get money through Zelle, Cash App
  • Very few prosecutions
  • Use pandemic to explain why you can’t see in person
  • Want money for “Covid compliant” crate for shipping

Europol and partners do major disruption effort against stolen credit cards; analyze 90,000 cards; stop fraud costing € 40 million

Texas: Owner of India call centers gets 20 years prison; impersonated IRS and US Immigration; responsible for $8.9 million in losses

Europol and 26 countries announce crack down on money mules; 4000 identified; 437 arrested; 227 of those were mule recruiters

US announces money mule crackdown; action taken against 2300 mules; at least 35 arrested; coordinated with European effort

Virus benefit theft

Full report here

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Fraud Report 11/25/2020

Virus benefit theft

Full report here

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Fraud Report 11/19/2020

Top Stories

Interview with the man who wrote fraudulent sweepstakes mailing and why they worked

Why you should delete old online accounts you never use

DOJ indicts owners of India-based Voice over Internet phone provider that allowed tens of  millions of scam robocalls into the US

  • Handled calls for IRS, Social Security, and loan scams
  • Also injunction and court order against Florida server farm that worked with them
  • Losses of at least $20 million

Virus benefit theft

BBB studies: They can all be found here. There are links below to several topic areas, and there are also studies on puppy fraud, tech support fraud, romance fraud money mules, apartment rental, crooked movers, government imposters, online vehicle sale scams, and rental fraud

Full report here

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Fraud Report 11/5/2020

Top Stories

Minnesota: Three indictments in massive case against fraud in magazine sales to the elderly

  • 60 defendants in 14 states and 2 Canadian provinces
  • Ran 20 years, took in at least $300 million
  • At least 150,000 victims
  • Charge call center owners, telemarketers, lead brokers

Error last week: Correct link to State of Scams Report

Virus benefit theft

Full report here

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