Category: Uncategorized

Baker Fraud Report 4/23/20

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Hackers stole Facebook information on 267 million people; database for sale on dark web for $600; researchers set up site to check if yours stolen

Your rights if you’ve canceled an airline flight because of the virus

BBB releases update two years after study on free trial offer/subscription trap study; Visa and MasterCard adopt new policies; more FTC lawsuits

VISA announces new policies to fight free trial offers scams: “Specifically, cardholders will benefit from receiving the following — via email or text — from the seller they initiated a trial or introductory offer subscription with:

  • immediate confirmation of the terms of the agreement
  • proactive notification of any future payments at the end of the trial period
  • instructions on how to initiate a cancellation”

FTC tips on stimulus check fraud

  • Only use to submit information to the IRS – and never in response to a call, text, or email.
  • The IRS won’t contact you by phone, email, text message, or social media with information about your stimulus payment, or to ask you for your Social Security number, bank account, or government benefits debit card account number. Anyone who does is a scammer phishing for your information.
  • You don’t have to pay to get your stimulus money.
  • The IRS won’t tell you to deposit your stimulus check then send them money back because they paid you more than they owed you. That’s a fake check scam.


Read full report here

Baker Fraud Report 4/16/20

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Please send us press releases!  The Fraud Report wants to keep everyone up to date on fraud issues. The media attention now is all about virus issues, so they may not report arrests or prosecutions. Send them along and we’ll include them here.

FTC releases data on international scams reported to, fraud reporting site that shares complaints with 35 countries

  • Can take complaints in many languages
  • 2019 received 40,432 complaints
  • Losses of $151.3 million
  • Top complaints about products sold online, goods paid for but never received goods

Germany has to end small business loans because criminal gangs set up dozens of fake web sites to apply and get government money


Tip of the week:  Counterfeit goods. With so many people shopping online right now there is an increasing danger of buying goods that are counterfeit, including of course things like masks and cleansers.  Be extra careful with third party sellers on Amazon. Check out 1 star reviews, where people often report that goods are not what they claim to be. And call to get a full refund on your credit card if you’re ripped off.  Here is the BBB study on counterfeits.

Full report here

Baker Fraud Report 4/9/20

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Volunteer group identifies scam sites for masks and protective gear sold online but never delivered

  • Perhaps the largest category of virus complaints we’re seeing now are scammers taking money for masks and protective gear and not delivering them
  • has located over 300 such sites operating around the world
  • This is by a volunteer group that also operates
  • Most scams are operated by the same gangs in Cameroon that run puppy frauds; here is BBB study on pets
  • Many of the sites are registered in the U.S.
  • They don’t just rip off individuals.Here is an article on a Greek pharmacy losing their money
  • [email protected]

Scam email by a BEC scammer
A contact just got an email he thought came from a friend. It reads:
Thank you XXX. I should have called you to explain further but still can’t access my mobile phone. I  need you to kindly purchase 5pcs x $100 of either eBay or Target or Amazon gift cards which totals $500 as donation for the purchase of preventive items from Corona Disease (COVID 19) due to the vulnerability of Veterans at Hospice & Palliative Care .I will be liable for reimbursement.
 You can purchase them online as (e-gift card) or at any Kohl’s, CVS, Kwik, Macy’s, Walmart, or Walgreen’s Store. Due to the time frame of the pledge, I will be glad if you get them early enough today.
E-mail me immediately you buy them for instructions how to get them across. Let me know if a check will be fine for reimbursement. Thank you.

Tip of the week: Scams continue and will go after big money from the government There is no reason at all to think that scams are down right now; in fact I suspect they are up with so many people at home.  The courts have limited their schedules, so there may be fewer prosecutions, and the news media is currently covering very little that is not virus related.  But if anything scammers are surely redoubling their efforts. 
After previous disasters I’ve seen price gouging, bogus charities, and other scams during and immediately after they happen, but the really big losses come later with crooked/incompetent contractors or people inappropriately getting insurance or government benefits.  For example, we saw Nigerian scammers defrauding FEMA in the wake of Hurricane Harvey in Houston.  So get ready to deal with scammers looking for money from stimulus checks, business loans, and other assistance.  There lie the big bucks.

Full report here

Baker Fraud Report 4/2/20

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April 2, 2020
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As you’d imagine, scams or warning about possible scams related to virus issues have just exploded.  It is often hard to tell how many of these are wide- spread and organized fraud efforts. But complaints to BBB and law enforcement have gone up significantly, and patterns are emerging.  Scammers are continuing unabated.  Obviously this is a priority area right now for enforcers and other fraud fighters.
Because so many alerts and press reports right now are of doubtful assistance it would not be useful to have all of these included in the Fraud Report.  So I’ll try to include the most important and relevant news from around the world.
Coronavirus Police in Turkey arrest five, seize 1 million counterfeit masksUK’s Action Fraud says virus scam complaints went up 400% in March; explains scams they are seeingCanadian prime minister warns of scams exploiting emergency government benefitsSocial Security warns letters are going out, supposedly from SSA, threatening to suspend benefits; has victims call a number, often asks them to buy gift cardsFormer federal prosecutor says DOJ hasn’t taken financial fraud seriously; not prepared to deal with coronavirus scamsMichigan Attorney General sends cease and desist letter to company selling patch to prevent virusSouthern California district attorneys set up task forces, scam hotlines, to deal with virus fraudCrooks hijacking routers, redirecting web traffic to coronavirus scam sites; most common in the U.S., France, and German; use sites to infect readers with malware 
Two tips of the week: 1) Reports are that lots of complaints and problems are coming up from canceled travel and events with people looking for refunds, and 2) Those who address price gouging should know that with lots of scientific research demand for eggs the price of those is going up rapidly, and 3) My friend and former colleague at the FTC, John Singer, has developed a powerpoint on coronavirus scams he wants to share. Contact John at:  [email protected]
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Baker Fraud Report 3/26/20

March 26, 2020
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Thanks to everyone who keep things going while many us work from home.  Grocery stores, gas stations, power companies, truck drivers, police and everyone else, many of who don’t make that much money


Read the full issue here

Baker Fraud Report 3/19/20

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With corona virus, it seems to me that the scams fall into several categories; 1) selling products that don’t exist or don’t work, such as a coronavirus vaccine; 2) overcharging for goods in high demand, such as face masks or hand sanitizer; 3) phishing scams sending email supposedly from WHO or CDC; 4) just rolling in the virus scare to help further an existing scam.  For example, puppy scams are now using the virus to explain why the dog hasn’t arrived yet. And of course 5) bogus charities taking money supposedly to help.

FTC provides tips for online safety when working from home

Full Report here

Baker Fraud Report 3/12/20

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$153 million in refund checks going to 109,000 people from FTC/Justice Department settlement with Western Union

  • First distribution — $586 million judgment
  • Full payments to victims in US and abroad
  • More to follow
  • Details on the process here
  • NO ONE should pay money to get a refund here

India takes down tech support room running tech support scams against UK citizens after BBC story

BBC interview with tech support scammers in India

Swedish journalist works with insider to expose telemarketing sales room in Kiev, Ukraine

  • Target elderly with bitcoin investments
  • Sales in English, Russian, Italian and Spanish
  • Get remote access to victim computers and bank accounts
  • Thousands of victims in 50 countries

List of the 400 elder fraud cases recently announced by DOJ


Los Angeles:  41 months in prison for Canadian man who ran grandparent scam on older people; extradited to the US; three others in group already sentenced

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Baker Fraud Report March 5, 2020

March 5, 2020

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BBC: UK man hacks into surveillance cameras at call center in India; footage of scammers hitting UK tech support victims

Washington State Attorney General sues Timeshare Exit Team

Half of Canadian families have been victims of scams

March is Fraud Prevention Month in Canada

DOJ announces 400 elder fraud cases in the last year; launches elder fraud hotline to give individualized help; complaints to then go to IC3 or FTC

BBB releases 2020 Risk Report; big jump in cryptocurrency scams

National Consumers League list top 10 scams of 2019; internet merchandise sales #1

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Baker Fraud Report 2/27/20

February 27, 2020
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Next week is National Consumer Protection Week in the US
Nigerian TV: Extensive story on how Yahoo Boys operate; explains how they train one another; how they operate dating scams and fake checks scams; how they launder money; interviews with crooks
AARP releases new survey on imposter scams

  • Gov’t imposters, grandparent scams, romance scams, census
  • 47% have encountered one
  • 18% who lost money have had health or emotional distress problems; more of these by people under 50
  • 70% of the public is not familiar with census scams

 BBC: Interview with the volunteer who has helped thousands of romance fraud victims in Finland
Agari releases in depth study of BEC group Exaggerated Lion

  • Spread over Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana
  • Has BEC victims send physical checks instead of wire transfers
  • Uses romance fraud victims as mules to launder money

Canada’s Competition Bureau settles with ticket reseller StubHub over mandatory additional fees not disclosed until end of the process: collects $1.3 million fine

FBI says crooks took in $144 million from ransomware scams over the last seven years; most in bitcoin; this does not include recovery costs

Question of the Week:  Why is debt collection fraud way down? FTC complaints fell from 626,000 in 2017 to 135,000 in 2019.  The FTC has brought several cases against frauds collecting from people that really did not owe the debt – or at least not to the scammers.  Has that had a huge effect here? Or has something else happened that the Fraud Report has missed?  Curious minds want to know.

Full Report here

Baker Fraud Report 2/20/20