Category: Uncategorized

Baker Fraud Report 6/18/20

Top Stories

FTC now has live data online about virus and stimulus complaints

Robocalls dropped sharply this year says FTC; April 2020 complaints down 68% from April 2019

Report finds lax internet security – at the CIA

Virus benefit theft

Coronavirus FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center warns scammers are now seeking extra fees supposedly related to the virus; e.g. shipping, insurance

Full report here

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Baker Fraud Report 6/11/2020

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EU launches new Financial and Economic Crime Center; not clear where it will be located or if it will take complaints from vicims

Criminals got 5 billion records in data breaches and hacks in 2019, costing U.S. organizations more than $1.2 trillion

  • Healthcare most targeted
  • Social Security numbers most common type of data stolen

FCC sues two robocalls companies that made over 1 billion calls about health insurance; seeks largest ever $225 million fine; 7 State AG’s also sue the companies

Phishing attacks seeking log in information for corporate computer systems traced to operation in India; owner wanted by the FBI

Virus benefit theft

Coronavirus

Full report here

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Baker Fraud Report 6/4/20

Virus benefit theft

Coronavirus

UK victims receiving a flood of text messages, over 11,000 claiming to be notifying people of virus contact tracing; designed to get people to enter personal information

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Baker Fraud Report 5/28/2020

IRS is mailing at least 4 million prepaid debit cards with stimulus money on them

Coronavirus

Full report here

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Baker Fraud Report 5/21/20

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Secret Service warns Nigerian gangs are running massive fraud to steal state  unemployment benefits; losses may be hundreds of millions

  • Use stolen identities of law enforcement, teachers, others to apply
  • Money goes into money mule accounts, often in other states
  • Many of the accounts opened by romance fraud victims
  • Biggest problems found so far are Washington State, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Oklahoma, Wyoming and Florida

ID theft victims can’t get benefits
Nigerian fraud gang Scattered Canary involved
Here is my study on how romance fraud victims are used as mules

Three big US credit report agencies now let people get one free every week for the rest of the year

FTC launches new dashboard that allows searches of international scam transaction;

Coronavirus

Full report here

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Good news on virus

Virus Data

People are totally freaked out by the virus, and it is reshaping lives and the future in often unpleasant ways.  We know that there is a risk, but we also want to know just how big that risk is. We all want accurate scientific data, but despite a flood of information out there, it is difficult to find really reliable information that is not colored by politics.  So here is one piece of information people may find useful.

How do we know if we’re making good progress against the virus?  It turn out it is hard to find out.  Several of the public metrics that are almost always used are less than useful. 

New virus tests:  Testing is expanding rapidly, and most of those tested turn out negative.  But of course if you test more people you are going to find more that test positive.  So it is hard to see trends from that data.

Total hospitalizations: This is also a common feature for graphs, but since those hospitalized may be there for a long period, they are a poor way to show trends.

Deaths:  Again, those who die may be hospitalized for a long period.  Thus even if the virus magically disappeared tomorrow there would still be deaths in the days to come.

New daily virus hospitalizations:  In my view, this is a great indicator for trends. It shows those people that have the virus and are really sick, and it can readily be tracked over time.  Unfortunately, many states don’t seem to report this rate, so I was only able to find it for New York City. But that is the hardest hit place in the U.S.

The graph below is from Monday, May 11.  But it clearly shows that new virus hospitalizations have gone down rapidly, suggesting that the worst of the problem may be gone. https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/covid/covid-19-data.page

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Baker Fraud Report May 13, 2020

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YouTube filmmakers reach out to IRS impersonator in India; interview him; raise money to help him get an honest job; scammer says they know when police are going to raid them

New York AG settles with Zoom over privacy issues during shut down

Coronavirus

Full report here

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Baker Fraud Report May 7, 2020

Thought of the week:  Why is it so hard to get accurate information about Covid19?  At the FTC the philosophy is that given good information people overall make good decisions. They will do OK.

Coronavirus

Virus shutdown fuels pet scams (My BBB study on pet scams here)

Tip of the week: Online shopping, counterfeits and fraud. With so many stores closed people are increasingly shopping online for common goods.  But a large part of those are actually counterfeit.  In fact, over half the goods sold on Amazon are by “third party sellers” that ship directly to victims and not from Amazon; usually from China. Huge numbers of complaints to the FTC and BBB are from people who shopped online, paid with a credit card, and never received anything at all.  So make sure goods you receive are authentic, and call your credit card company and dispute the charge if they are counterfeit or never arrive.  And see my BBB study on counterfeit goods fraud

Prediction:  Bankruptcy! We are almost certainly coming up on a flood of individuals and businesses that can’t pay rent, mortgages, credit card bills, etc.  So expect a large wave of people in financial distress.  And the scammers will be out there to take advantage. Watch for scam debt collectors, mortgage, student loan and credit card debt and other financial relief frauds.

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, and rental fraud

full report here

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Baker Fraud Report 4/30/20

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Coronavirus — Masks

Coronavirus – Other scams

Full report here

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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 irs.gov/coronavirus 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.

Coronavirus

Read full report here

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