May 18, 2017

 

Tip of the week:  There are a whole set of scams that count on you misdialing a telephone number. Often the fraudsters get numbers that are just one digit or so off from commonly called numbers such as government agencies or major businesses. Those answering the phone let people think they have reached the people they are trying to call and then make an offer of a “free trial” for magazines or offer a gift card (after they get tons of information from you).  The FTC has just put out a warning that this is happening with calls to the Veteran’s Administration.  And don’t forget that you can google a phone number – even if spoofed others may have reported a fraud coming from that number.

Major Effort to Tackle Tech Support Frauds

FTC, federal and State partners announce collective efforts to attack Tech Support fraud

  • Four new FTC actions shutting down fraudulent companies
  • 2 settlements with companies previously sued by FTC
  • 18 State AG cases; 8 of them joint w/ FTC
  • Table of enforcement actions taken

Criminal Cases

Seven from Florida indicted by Southern District of Illinois for tech support

  • First criminal cases in US against those on the phone doing tech support
  • Defendants operated from Florida
  • Paid for pop up ads to get victims to call
  • Charged $650
  • Ripped off 40,000 people of more than $25 million
  • Victims in US, all Canadian provinces, the UK, and several other countries

Police in India arrest several men making deceptive tech support calls

South Carolina woman pleads guilty to acting as mule for tech support frauds from India; kept 10% of money she collected from victims

Three arrested in India for tech support fraud aimed at Danes and Germans

More information about tech support fraud here

New Academic Study of Tech Support Fraud Released

  • Study tracked the frauds use of pop up warnings to get victims to call
  • Found largest numbers of victims in US, followed by Australia and Canada
  • Average losses $290
  • No evidence frauds install malware or spyware themselves
  • Most payment by credit cards
  • 85% of IP addresses for the frauds are in India; 10% in US; 5% Costa Rica
  • Most of these operate on US servers
  • Slide presentation on study here

Virginia woman loses inheritance to fraud; used email pretending to be from her investment advisor to have her transfer money

Three from LA convicted by jury in loan modification fraud

  • Had done mass mailings to victims claiming could use federal programs to modify mortgages and save homes
  • But simply took the mortgage payments from victims and did nothing
  • Scammed hundreds of people
  • Took in at least $10 million
  • 12 other people have been previously convicted in this fraud

 

Ever wonder if those ingredients in diet pills or other supplements actually work?  The Defense Department has a new website — www.opss.org  —  where servicemembers (or the rest of us) can check them out.

New Medicare cards are coming soon – will not have social security numbers on them

IRS and Tax Scams

Indian national pleads guilty in Texas for role in IRS impersonator and Immigration impersonation fraud; he mainly collected victim money for the fraud

 FTC and CFPB Updates

FTC sends out refund checks to fraud that sent bogus invoices to over 150,000 small businesses

CFPB tries two cases in court; no rulings yet

Other International Enforcement and News

The Australian consumer protection agency just released its report on fraud complaints for 2016.

  • Reported losses $300 million
  • Complaints to agency up 47% from 2015
  • Largest losses were investment scams; $11.5 M lost to binary options frauds
  • romance scams #2; 1/3 of those victims met fraudster on social media
  • Seeing increased use of gift cards for payment
  • Increase in sextortion fraud
  • Greatest financial losses for those over 65
  • Total estimated losses by those filing complaints in Australia $3 billion

CIFA’s in the UK (a company that works with law enforcement, banks and retailers to share information about fraud and help prevent it) releases 2016 report

  • 12% increase in fraud overall in 2016
  • Increase in “mules” allowing crooks use of their bank accounts

Binary options investment company  raided, owner arrested, in Israel
Mexican citizen sentenced to prison by federal court in Puerto Rico; worked with others to steal identities in Puerto Rico and then sell them in the US

Brother and sister in Nigeria sentenced to prison for internet fraud against an American

 ATM Skimming

 Robocalls: 2.3 billion made in December 2016

 Romance Scam Fraud

UK man commits suicide after losing all his savings in a romance scam

 Ransomware

Hospitals across England hit by ransomware

Ransomware hits Spain, including major phone company

FTC issues alert on how to protect from ransomware frauds

Is North Korea behind WannaCry ransomware?

Jamaica Sweepstakes Fraud

Judge in North Dakota rules that trial can go forward with first ten Jamaicans; other defendants still to be caught can be tried separately

Two Jamaican women arrested in Brooklyn; took in at least $600,000 from elderly victims; used dying victim’s credit card to buy designer shoes

Who is really calling me?  Canadian regulators explain Caller ID spoofing

 Just for fun….

 A charming Hawaiian version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow

 Add to the News! Have you seen a recent prosecution or other fraud information that others should know about?  Send it into the Baker Fraud Report at steve@bakerfraudreport.com

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