March 23, 2017

Dangers of Shopping Online in Australia, and US and Canada

Most of us regularly buy things over the internet.  But of course there are sites that look like a bargain that are really run by crooks.  Some just steal your money, others send you counterfeit goods.  One of the biggest categories of complaints collected by the FTC is “shop at home/catalog sales.”  This mainly involves are goods ordered online which never appear at all or are counterfeit.   The FTC got a total of 110,000 complaints in 2016, making it #7 overall.

In addition, Australia just put out an alert on this subject, saying that they have over 1000 complaints so far in 2017.  The Canadians tell me that they receive reports of about 10 million cases every year where Canadians end up shopping online and receiving counterfeit goods.

Fraudsters have professionally designed web sites, some carefully copied from the web sites of real merchants, where goods are offered at low prices.  Canadian law enforcement says these bogus sites often offer upscale goods such as UGG Boots, expensive name-brand sunglasses, Coach Purses and Pandora Jewelry.  Other goods include running shoes and sports jerseys.  The Christmas season is the biggest time of year for such frauds.

The simple tip to protect yourself when shopping online is to use a credit card. The Australians note that in many of their complaints victims paid Western Union, MoneyGram, prepaid debit cards, and even gift cards.  There is little that can be done to get money back in those situations.

Those who have paid with credit cards should complain to their banks. If they do they should be able to get their money back.  And armed with the complaint information the credit card companies can try to identify the crooks and at least shut off their access to the credit card system.

Acting FTC Chairman Testifies before the US Senate about Agency Efforts to fight fraud


Romance Frauds
Toronto Woman loses $450,000.  Canada has 750 victims in last year; average loss $23,000
Woman in Troy, Michigan loses $700,000 to romance fraud

Tax Frauds – Including ID Theft and Bogus Tax Returns

DOJ press release on guilty plea

Jamaican woman arrested in Miami for role in Jamaican Lottery Scam
Jamaican law student sentenced to prison in Orlando, FL for role in lottery scamming
Woman sentenced in Miami for role in helping Jamaican fraud gang
South Florida money mules pleads guilty to assisting in Jamaica fraud:  received over $100,000 from victims around the country

Fake Checks
Durham, Canada police issue warning of fake check frauds asking victims to send funds through Bitcoin

ATM Skimming Frauds
Police in Pakistan arrest gang of Chinese for ATM skimming
Philippine police arrest three Romanians for ATM skimming

Ransomware Fraud
Richmond, Indiana housing agency hit with Ransomware; refuses to pay and loses a month of data
5700 computers per day locked up in the US by ransomware
Ransomware locks computers of  Wisconsin-based Metropolitan Urology Group

In Depth Reports on the Most Common Frauds.
Click on the link below for articles that provide more detail on the most common frauds, how they work, and what is being done about them
Romance Fraud
Tech Support Fraud
Bogus calls from the IRS
Jamaican Lottery Fraud
Using Victims as Money Mules
Fraudulent Prize Mailings
Timeshare Resale Fraud
Free Trial Offers
FakeCheck Frauds

Just for fun….

A Quick Thinker

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