FBI’s Internet crime complaint Center warns of bitcoin ATM’s
- Scammers have victims supply cash
- Provide victims with a QR code to direct payment to scammers
- Using these in romance scams, lottery scams, and government impersonation
DOJ indicts two Ukrainians for ransomware; one arrested in Poland
Tip of the week: When you get dodgy emails, such as those telling you you’re being billed for an antivirus program you’ve never received, or those that come from a bank saying you need to reset your password, look carefully at the email address. This is harder to do when you’re using your phone. Most of the time the email address itself is odd, and it is clear that it is not coming from where it claims. This may seem simple and obvious, but educating people about this option might save people from being scammed.
Review and recommendation: I recently reread Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion wine. It is one summer’s experiences by a ten year old boy in Green Town, Illinois. The story on new tennis shoes alone is worth the reading. It will make you wriggle your toes. And not all is happy. It is a classic and I highly recommend it.
Full report here
Europol announces concentrated effort against 12 major ransomware scammers; efforts in Ukraine and Switzerland
FTC issues new policy statement on free trial offers/subscription traps that spells out needed disclosures; Statement itself here; one Commissoner dissents because of pending rulemaking on this subject
National Consumers League warns scammers are expected to take advantage of supply chain issues to scam victims over the Christmas holidays
Article by DOJ on how they address money mules issues
Thought of the week: Now that scammers have earned millions (maybe billions) from applying online for unemployment benefits they are very likely to replicate that by using ID theft to steal other kinds of government benefits. See the article on Calgary police arresting scammers who applied for student loans.
Justice Department announces meeting with India’s Central Bureau of Investigation to discuss ways to work jointly on telemarketing and other fraud
Review and recommendation: Another Western, this one new, is Old Henry. It stars Tim Blake Nelson, who you may remember from Oh Brother Where Art Thou. It is fully in the tradition of the great old westerns, and has no politics
BBB Studies. Here are links to the study topics: puppy fraud, romance fraud; BEC fraud, sweepstakes/lottery fraud, tech support fraud, romance fraud money mules, crooked movers, government imposters, online vehicle sale scams, rental fraud, gift cards and job scams.
Full report here
CEO of Russian cybersecurity company arrested and charged with treason; may have shared information with foreign intelligence services
Facebook marketplace has grown larger than Craigslist; vehicle scams have moved there; charges that Facebook does not adequately police it
UK says fraud up 30%; £753 million lost in last six months; increasing problem with money mules; becoming national security issue
ScamAdviser releases worldwide survey on scams
- 82% said they were exposed to a scam last year
- 71% said they could recognize a scam, but 67% fell for one last year
- Only 12% thought law enforcement is doing enough
Head of the US National Security Agency says ransomware if a national security threat; discusses plans for fighting it
Reviews and recommendations: One of our stops on vacation was Santiago de Compostela in Spain. This is the end of a pilgrimage trail on which people hike long distances. We saw hundreds of people cheerful arrive there every day. This trip is also the subject of an excellent 2010 movie starring Martin Sheen, and directed by his son Emilio Estevez.
Shipping container fraud: Believe it or not, crooks are now advertising shipping containers for sale. You know, the big metal boxes that carry goods on cargo ships. Some people use them as storage sheds. So Derek Smythe in South Africa, at AA419, tells the Fraud Report that the same scammers who engage in pet fraud (Cameroonians) have been increasingly “selling” and collecting money for containers that never arrive. This has been reported around the world, most recently in Canada. So far as I know this has not yet been on the radar in the U.S., but we need to be aware of it.
Full report here
Los Angeles: Four from China indicted for laundering gift cards bought by scam victims at Target; used them to buy goods
ACCC reports Australia has seen an 89% increase in fraud this so far this year
- Most of it phone related
- Fake invoices for to antivirus and other goods supposedly ordered a huge part of this
- Fake parcel delivery emails a special problem
Scam Advisors host Global Online fraud summit on November 3 & 4; information on agenda and how to take part; free to scam fighters
People make good decisions. What we found doing advertising at the FTC is that given good information people make really good decisions when given accurate information. Thus when we made people end deceptive claims for products the products generally vanished from the shelves, even despite efforts to continue advertising them. In fact, the concept of trusting the people is central to the American experiment. There were those who thought that ordinary people could never be trusted to make decisions and those should be left to experts or aristocracy. So the American public is pretty bright, and I’d urge all my media friends to focus on facts and not put their thumb on the scale for any political point of view.
Full Report here
The Fraud Report is going on vacation; may not send it the next two weeks
My new BBB in depth study on job scams
- Complaints up 27% from 2019
- 32% never get paid
- ID theft common; 24% of victims post their Social Security Number with their resumes
- Reshipping scams reported 65% of victims
- Stolen credit card numbers used to buy goods, have them shipped to victims who repackage them and then them on;often to Russia
- Fake checks used in job scams;
- Losses to fake checks continue to grow; half in mystery shopper scams
EU Commissioner and US attorney General hold inaugural meeting to talk ransomware, transnational organized crime
Florida : Three from Peru get prison; ran call center in Peru that called US Spanish speakers and threatened arrest or deportation
Los Angeles: Telemarketer in toner scam gets four years prison; took in $126 million; defendant in previous FTC case
Atlanta: Nigerian scammer and partner who laundered stolen funds sentenced to prison
- Scammer hacked tax preparation firms and stole identities
- Use those to file bogus tax returns and sought refunds
- Also used stolen identities to get Washington State unemployment benefits
- Laundered through money orders
- Had people travel from Zambia to open bank accounts
Full Report here