May 4, 2017


Brand new google docs phishing fraud just appeared in the last few days (I got one yesterday myself)

 Facebook and Google hit for $100 million in losses from Business Email Compromise fraud.  Lithuanian man arrested for this theft; he is challenging attempts to extradite him back to the US for trial.

DC Circuit Court Upholds FTC position that “soundboard” calls are robocalls

The FTC took the position that this new technology is covered by the law regulating robocalls.  The difference is that in a traditional robocall those answering the phone hear a recorded message and are then invited to “press 1” to reach a real persons.  With this technology the listener may think they are talking to a real person, but it is actually a computerized message set to play different responses depending on what the consumer says.  See this article on how these work.  Here is how the Court explained these tactics:

“Soundboard” technology—the subject of this case—is different. It involves         two-way communication between sales agent and consumer, in which the sales agent plays pre-recorded audio clips in response to the consumer’s statements. Soundboard technology also allows the sales agent to break into the call and speak directly to the consumer, if needed. Say, for instance, a consumer asks for additional information about how to buy a product. A sales agent using soundboard technology first attempts to answer that inquiry by playing a pre-recorded audio file. If the pre-recorded response is unsatisfactory, then the sales agent can intervene and give the consumer a direct response. So, like a traditional robocall, soundboard technology uses automated, pre-recorded messages to convey information. But, it differs markedly from the traditional robocall in that a human being is on the other end of the line, who is sometimes revealed to the consumer and sometimes not.”

Jamaica Sweepstakes Fraud

Canadian Securities Administrators propose simply banning sales of binary option investments in Canada

New and Useful Manual for prosecutors dealing with elder abuse

Apple issues warning and provides advice on frauds that collect money through ITunes gift cards

If you act fast in contacting Apple you may be able to stop funds

They even provide a working phone number for calls to Apple

Australia seeing large increase in scam text messages

National Consumers League warns of rental frauds

UK Police with new warning. Crooks are learning about victims and then calling cell phone companies impersonating people. They then get a new phone and sim card and start getting all the phones and texts intended for the victim.  They can use this information to get into the victim’s online bank account and steal their money.

Interpol in Southeast Asia launches major public/private effort and detects 9000 command and control servers used for cybercrime

Woman in Brampton, Ontario, arrested and charged for operating a mystery shopping fraud

Man extradited from Italy to face charges in Quebec: ran a grandparent fraud

  • Last of 23 in fraud ring to be charged
  • Victims were mainly in Quebec
  • 500 seniors lost $890,000

New Report on Cybercrime in West Africa by Interpol and Trend Micro

  • This report focuses on the next generation cybercriminals.
  • The “Yahoo Boys” typically operate romance frauds, stranded traveler emails, and frauds that require money in advance of providing some sort of services.
  • But more senior members have moved into Business Email Compromise fraud
  • Complaints about West Africa cybercrime are increasing
  • Criminals often use people who have migrated to the target company as “mules” to collect the stolen money

Europol case study on Operation Avalanche: Cybercrime as an organized business enterprise (See January 19 blog at for more information on Operation Avalanche)

IRS and Tax Scams

 FTC and CFPB Updates

FTC settles with Nutrimost Weight Loss system

  • Says company used fake before and after pictures
  • Company also had illegal “gag clause” prohibiting bad reviews
  • Order also binds franchisees

CFPB sues four Indian tribes for payday lending practices

Florida company being sued by CFPB moves to dismiss the case on basis that CFPB has been found unconstitutional

FTC stops company selling herbal products to address opiate withdrawal

 ATM Skimming

Man arrested at Pike Place Market in Seattle for ATM skimming

Romance Scam Fraud

Nigerian Police arrest and charge two men for romance fraud

FBI-produced news story on Romance Scams

Ransomware and Data Security


Long time Postal Inspection Service Team Leader Nick Alicea in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania retires.

Played major role in Toronto Partnership, headed criminal investigations of both MoneyGram and Western Union

 Just for fun….

 Flashmob in Belgian Train Station; worth a watch:

 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

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