Fraud Report 11/3/21

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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 disclosuresStatement 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.

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Fraud Report 10/28/2021

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 fraudtech support fraud, romance fraud money mules, crooked movers, government imposters, online vehicle sale scams, rental fraud, gift cards and job scams.

Full report here

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Fraud Report 10/21/21

Top Stories

Worldwide survey of scams by country; overall victims losing $47.8 Billion

FBI’s internet crime complaint center warns scammers are creating fake sites to apply for state unemployment benefits; collect personal information about people; ID theft risk high

South Africa: Eight Nigerians arrested with help of FBI and Secret Service, also head of local Black Axe chapter; engaged in romance fraud and other financial crimes

New FTC data spotlight looks at scammers impersonating Amazon; you get an email about a large order you supposedly placed, call scammers who move money from one account to another, claim they over refunded you and you need to return money; ask to remote into your PC; ask you to buy gift cards to “block” scammers. These are all tactics used by scammers in India with IRS or SSA scams.

Full report here

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Fraud Report 10/7/21

Top Stories

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

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Fraud Report 9/30/21

Top Stories

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

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Fraud Report 9/9/2021

The Fraud Report is going on vacation; may not send it the next two weeks

Top Stories

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

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Fraud Report 9/2/2021

WSJ: T-Mobile hacker that stole data on 10 million talks to the Journal

DOJ criminal charges and civil court complaint against US citizen living in Ukraine that posted small charges debiting bank accounts that were wholly bogus; millions lost ; complicated scam

Massachusetts: Four charged with processing $150 million in credit card charges for debt reduction scams, payday lending and online gambling and other high risk areas

BBB Studies. 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 8/26/2021

Kentucky :  Romanian man gets 140 months (11 years +) for fraud in selling vehicles on line that were not delivered; also ran two other scams

Good news on bogus debt collectors:  Efforts to fight bogus debt collectors, who often try to collect debts that consumers never owed, have dropped dramatically from 484,220 in 2018, 134,320 in 2019, to 120,190 in 2020.   This was once the top source of fraud complaints to the FTC. So what happened? Was it the result of enforcement?  Let me know what happened.

Review and Recommendation: Darkest Hour.  How in a disastrous situation and against the appeals of the British elite to capitulate, Winston Churchill consulted the regular people of Britain, found them willing to fight on, and saved the British (and much of the French) army at Dunkirk.  Very well done.  A best actor Oscar for Gary Oldham.  BBB Studies. 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 8/19/21

Brooklyn: Four arrested for counterfeiting $130 million in Uggs boots, Air Jordan’s, headphones; goods shipped from China and labels applied

Report:  $29.8 billion lost by U.S. consumers in the last year to phone scams; 23% of the public has lost money to these in the last year; 60% as the result of a robocall

Hackers offer to sell personal information about 100 million T-Mobile users on the dark web; including 30 million social security numbers, dates of birth

BBB Studies. 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 8/12/21

AARP releases “Consumer fraud in America: The Black Experience”

  • One in five have lost money
  • More than half of victims have also been victims of another scam
  • Most common are government imposters, lottery and work from home scams

The fastest growth in fraud is among those under 21 says new study

Tip of the week:  An alert reader reports that Marriott Reward points are being stolen and used.  This may be due to a series of data breaches the company experienced.  So this is a reminder to check your reward point accounts and frequent flyer miles from time to time so make sure someone hasn’t been stealing the awards you’ve earned.

Full Report here

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