Fraud Report 2/25/21

Top Stories

New Jersey issues report on unlicensed bitcoin machines

  • Many don’t comply with federal regulations
  • Scammers get victims to deposit money into them
  • Propose state licenses and some regulation

New study on how scammers also spend huge efforts contacting customer service centers to try and get access to accounts of others

  • Call volume up 42% at these call centers during virus
  • Record levels of fraud calls, especially in financial services and insurance industries
  • 5% of all calls fraudulent or suspicious
  • 80% of call centers say fraud a very serious issue

Competition Bureau in Canada settles with online travel agency over deceptive terms, fake online reviews; company to pay $5.8 million

Virus Benefit Theft

Full report here

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Fraud Report 2/18/2021

Top Stories

New law lets law enforcers subpoena U.S. offices of foreign banks for records, even if the records are not in the U.S.

US indicts three hackers from North Korea

  • Responsible for Sony hack
  • Theft of money from banks around the world
  • Cash out scams on ATM’s
  • Canadian-American man pleads guilty

New York: Six arrested across the US for laundering money for Ghana-based scam enterprise; handled funds for romance fraud; virus relief fraud; and BEC scams

Virus Benefit Theft

Full report here

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Fraud Report 1/12/21

Top Stories

FTC releases summary of 2020 complaint data

Nigeria orders all citizens to register their SIM cards within two weeks

UK Supreme Court rules that the Serious Fraud Office can not make companies produce documents held overseas

Virus Benefit Theft

full report here

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Fraud Report 2/4/2021

Top Stories

DOJ enters deferred prosecution agreement with huge Colorado marketing firm that sold leads to scammers targeting older victims

  • To pay $150 million; most to be refunded to victims
  • Many leads used for sweepstakes/lottery fraud
  • Sold information on 30 million people
  • Charging document here 

DOJ announces criminal case, and arrest of Canadian man, in operation that took down international Netwalker ransomware operation

EU warns it is already seeing forged virus vaccination certificates

Competition Bureau in Canada settles with scam “free trial offer” company; to pay $15 million

National Consumers League releases top ten scams of 2020; sweepstakes/lotteries top the list, followed by romance scams

FTC settles with Amazon over failure to pay full tips to Amazon flex drivers; company to pay $61.7 million

Virus Benefit Theft

Full report here

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Fraud Report 1/28/2021

Top Stories

New York: Two men, one Australian and the other Chinese, extradited to the US and charged; made millions with text messages for horoscopes, trivia gossip, etc. and charged victims for receiving them without consent; took in at least $50 million; hundreds of thousands of victims; charges appeared often unnoticed on cell phone bills

US, Europol take down huge EMOTET botnet, loaded malware with email attachments

The New Yorker: Taking down a dark-web marketplace

New York Times: A visit to India to talk to a scammer about tech support scams located there

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 1/21/2020

Virus benefit theft

List of 50 DOJ PPP fraud cases; links to complaints and indictments

California charges nine prison inmates with fraud in getting unemployment benefits

FBI in Kansas gets search warrant for 60 year old woman that got $113,000 in virus unemployment benefits

California: DOJ settles first civil case of PPP fraud; retailer that is now bankrupt; must pay $100,000 fine

Texas man charged with PPP fraud; invented employees; took in $5 million

California: Bank of America sued over failing to stop unemployment fraud

Fraud in virus loan relief exceeds $360 million

Scammers get unemployment benefits using names of Ohio governor and his wife

Reviews and Recommendations:  the first episode of a new series called “Trafficked with Mariana Zeller” by National Geographic goes to Jamaica to interview lottery scammers and to Tel Aviv Israel to look at worldwide binary investment frauds.

Full report here

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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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