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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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

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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

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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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