CEO of Russian cybersecurity company arrested and charged with treason; may have shared information with foreign intelligence services
Facebook marketplace has grown larger than Craigslist; vehicle scams have moved there; charges that Facebook does not adequately police it
UK says fraud up 30%; £753 million lost in last six months; increasing problem with money mules; becoming national security issue
ScamAdviser releases worldwide survey on scams
- 82% said they were exposed to a scam last year
- 71% said they could recognize a scam, but 67% fell for one last year
- Only 12% thought law enforcement is doing enough
Head of the US National Security Agency says ransomware if a national security threat; discusses plans for fighting it
Reviews and recommendations: One of our stops on vacation was Santiago de Compostela in Spain. This is the end of a pilgrimage trail on which people hike long distances. We saw hundreds of people cheerful arrive there every day. This trip is also the subject of an excellent 2010 movie starring Martin Sheen, and directed by his son Emilio Estevez.
Shipping container fraud: Believe it or not, crooks are now advertising shipping containers for sale. You know, the big metal boxes that carry goods on cargo ships. Some people use them as storage sheds. So Derek Smythe in South Africa, at AA419, tells the Fraud Report that the same scammers who engage in pet fraud (Cameroonians) have been increasingly “selling” and collecting money for containers that never arrive. This has been reported around the world, most recently in Canada. So far as I know this has not yet been on the radar in the U.S., but we need to be aware of it.
Full report here
Los Angeles: Four from China indicted for laundering gift cards bought by scam victims at Target; used them to buy goods
ACCC reports Australia has seen an 89% increase in fraud this so far this year
- Most of it phone related
- Fake invoices for to antivirus and other goods supposedly ordered a huge part of this
- Fake parcel delivery emails a special problem
Scam Advisors host Global Online fraud summit on November 3 & 4; information on agenda and how to take part; free to scam fighters
People make good decisions. What we found doing advertising at the FTC is that given good information people make really good decisions when given accurate information. Thus when we made people end deceptive claims for products the products generally vanished from the shelves, even despite efforts to continue advertising them. In fact, the concept of trusting the people is central to the American experiment. There were those who thought that ordinary people could never be trusted to make decisions and those should be left to experts or aristocracy. So the American public is pretty bright, and I’d urge all my media friends to focus on facts and not put their thumb on the scale for any political point of view.
Full Report here
The Fraud Report is going on vacation; may not send it the next two weeks
My new BBB in depth study on job scams
- Complaints up 27% from 2019
- 32% never get paid
- ID theft common; 24% of victims post their Social Security Number with their resumes
- Reshipping scams reported 65% of victims
- Stolen credit card numbers used to buy goods, have them shipped to victims who repackage them and then them on;often to Russia
- Fake checks used in job scams;
- Losses to fake checks continue to grow; half in mystery shopper scams
EU Commissioner and US attorney General hold inaugural meeting to talk ransomware, transnational organized crime
Florida : Three from Peru get prison; ran call center in Peru that called US Spanish speakers and threatened arrest or deportation
Los Angeles: Telemarketer in toner scam gets four years prison; took in $126 million; defendant in previous FTC case
Atlanta: Nigerian scammer and partner who laundered stolen funds sentenced to prison
- Scammer hacked tax preparation firms and stole identities
- Use those to file bogus tax returns and sought refunds
- Also used stolen identities to get Washington State unemployment benefits
- Laundered through money orders
- Had people travel from Zambia to open bank accounts
Full Report here
Kentucky : Romanian man gets 140 months (11 years +) for fraud in selling vehicles on line that were not delivered; also ran two other scams
Good news on bogus debt collectors: Efforts to fight bogus debt collectors, who often try to collect debts that consumers never owed, have dropped dramatically from 484,220 in 2018, 134,320 in 2019, to 120,190 in 2020. This was once the top source of fraud complaints to the FTC. So what happened? Was it the result of enforcement? Let me know what happened.
Review and Recommendation: Darkest Hour. How in a disastrous situation and against the appeals of the British elite to capitulate, Winston Churchill consulted the regular people of Britain, found them willing to fight on, and saved the British (and much of the French) army at Dunkirk. Very well done. A best actor Oscar for Gary Oldham. BBB Studies. Here are links to some of the study topics: puppy fraud, tech support fraud, romance fraud money mules, apartment rental, crooked movers, government imposters, online vehicle sale scams, rental fraud and gift cards
Full report here
AARP releases “Consumer fraud in America: The Black Experience”
- One in five have lost money
- More than half of victims have also been victims of another scam
- Most common are government imposters, lottery and work from home scams
The fastest growth in fraud is among those under 21 says new study
Tip of the week: An alert reader reports that Marriott Reward points are being stolen and used. This may be due to a series of data breaches the company experienced. So this is a reminder to check your reward point accounts and frequent flyer miles from time to time so make sure someone hasn’t been stealing the awards you’ve earned.
Full Report here
Six Nigerians on FBI Most wanted list
In depth article on unemployment benefit theft in the U.S.
- May hit $440 billion
- Bots used to file for unemployment
- IP addresses from China, Nigeria and Russia
- Also Cuba, Eritrea, Fiji and Monaco
Study of complaints to CFPB about virtual wallets (PayPal, cash apps); finds they soared during the pandemic; how they work and protections they have (if any)
Why people can’t cut their losses; the sunk cost fallacy
Review and recommendation: High Noon, for which Gary Cooper won the best actor Oscar. Excellent, and not a shoot ‘em up. An honorable man faced with a town that won’t help. Named one of the 25 best films ever made.
BBB Studies. Here are links to some of the study topics: puppy fraud, tech support fraud, romance fraud money mules, apartment rental, crooked movers, government imposters, online vehicle sale scams, rental fraud and gift cards.
Full report here