Fraud Report 2/10/22

Georgia:  DOJ indicts companies in India for conspiring with a VoIP company to send robocalls into the US

Scamadviser reports results of worldwide survey of online daters about romance scams

  • 25% responding said they lost money to scammers
  • Men reported losing three times as much as women
  • 27% said they had seen fake profiles

BBB Studies. Here are links to the study topics of my studies: puppy fraud, romance fraud; BEC fraud, sweepstakes/lottery fraudtech support fraud, romance fraud money mules, crooked movers, government imposters, online vehicle sale scams, rental fraud, gift cards,  job scams, and online shopping fraud.

Full Report here

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Fraud Report 2/3/2022

FTC examines data on frauds using social media

  • 25% of fraud complaints say scam started on social media, for losses of $770,000
  • Those 18-29 twice as likely to be scammed there
  • More than half of investment scams started there; tops list
  • Romance scams #2. More than 1/3 in 2021 found person on Facebook or Instagram
  • 45% of reports about losses on social media were to online shopping; 70% never got the goods they ordered

Chinese young people held captive in Cambodia to take part in romance scams and other internet frauds against Chinese

Victim of moving scam finds her goods because she put an Airtag in the box

Scam complaints just the tip of the Iceberg?   Paper by FTC economist on who scam victims report to and how often; finds that only 4.8% complain to the BBB or a government agency

National Consumers League releases top ten scams of 2021; lottery scams top the list

FBI warns that scammers are impersonating real companies on job boards; realistic looking web sites

Thought of the week.   Before the American Revolution British troops posted in Boston fired on a crowd, killing several people.  John Adams represented these soldiers at their trial, partly to prove that they could get a fair trial in the Colonies.  In urging the jury to be fair he famously noted “facts are stubborn things.”  They are indeed, and in these fractious times we need them, and those reporting issues of the day, left or right, do us no service if they bury or misrepresent them.

Full report here

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Fraud Report 1/27/22

Top Stories

Fifth defendant pleads guilty in Brooklyn to direct mail prize fraud

North Carolina suesTexas robocall company for allowing scam calls

BBB Studies. Here are links to the study topics of my studies: puppy fraud, romance fraud; BEC fraud, sweepstakes/lottery fraudtech support fraud, romance fraud money mules, crooked movers, government imposters, online vehicle sale scams, rental fraud, gift cards,  job scams, and online shopping fraud.

Full report here

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Fraud Report 1/20/22

Europol, FBI taken down Virtual Private Netwok VPL Lab used by cybercriminals and ransomware operations; took down 15 servers

FBI warn of malicious QR codes used by crypto scammers

Interpol hits Nigerian BEC group Silver Terrier; targeted 50,000; user names and passwords of 800,000 located; 11 arrested

Russia arrests those operating REvil ransomware; took in $200 million

Review and Recommendation:  The Glorious Cause, by Robert Hiddlekauff. This volume of the Oxford History of the United States covers the American Revolution through the drafting and adoption of the Constitution.   It is a very interesting and enthralling account of the ideals, incredible bravery, and long odds that faced early America.  This stands in sharp contrast to snarky history for the uneducated too often based on history books by Howard Zinn. 

Full report here

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Fraud Report 1/13/22

FBI warns scammers get telephone numbers from sellers on sites; ask seller to prove they are real with a Google voice authentication code; use those codes to get a Google voice phone number for themselves to do other scams, get access to gmail accounts

Review and Recommendation:  I recently watched the original Rocky again.  There is actually very little boxing in it. What makes it a classic is the portrayal of a working class young man who works to gain confidence and build a relationship against tough odds.

Scam fighters pull together.    In these divided times, it has been great to see so many people, from all over the world, some in law enforcement and many just because it is the right thing to do, work together to fight the criminals who often prey on those least able to afford the money stolen from them.  

BBB Studies. Here are links to the study topics of my studies: puppy fraud, romance fraud; BEC fraud, sweepstakes/lottery fraudtech support fraud, romance fraud money mules, crooked movers, government imposters, online vehicle sale scams, rental fraud, gift cards,  job scams, and online shopping fraud.

Full report here

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Fraud Report 12/23/21

Wishing all of you a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones!

Review and recommendation:  I just finished Pandemia, by Alex Berenson, and this apparently tops the NYT best seller list.  I’ve followed Alex through the pandemic, and he has been a close and thoughtful observer of the many mistakes we’ve made throughout its course.  As citizens it is our duty to be informed on important issues, and The Science is, of course and necessarily, a function of learning, disputing, and testing hypotheses.

BBB Studies. Here are links to the study topics of my studies: puppy fraud, romance fraud; BEC fraud, sweepstakes/lottery fraudtech support fraud, romance fraud money mules, crooked movers, government imposters, online vehicle sale scams, rental fraud, gift cards,  job scams, and online shopping fraud.

Full report here

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Fraud Report 12/16/21

BBC:  Two year investigation, leaked documents, show scope of activity by Nigerian violent gang Black Axe around the world

Question of the week:  What is happening with emails claiming I’m being charged for renewing Anti-virus programs I’ve never had?  I get on average three of these a week, supposedly from Norton, Geek Squad, or other companies.  They have a phone number to call.  Who is behind these, and what is the scam?

BBB Studies. Here are links to the study topics of my studies: puppy fraud, romance fraud; BEC fraud, sweepstakes/lottery fraudtech support fraud, romance fraud money mules, crooked movers, government imposters, online vehicle sale scams, rental fraud, gift cards,  job scams, and online shopping fraud.

Full Report here

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Fraud Report 12/9/21

Top Stories
DOJ announces 2021 money mule initiative; action against 4750 in ten week effort; more than 30 charged criminally
DOJ official’s  blog on this effort
 
BBB updates pet scam study

  • Fake web sites use Christmas theme
  • Complaints continue to increase dramatically

 
New FTC spotlight looks at scam losses paid by gift card

  • $148 million lost first nine months of 2021, more than all 2020
  • Target gift cards most popular, more than twice any other brand
  • Scammers send victims to Target stores to buy them
  • Median amount of loss to Target cards $2500; twice that for others

Thieves attach $29 Apple Tags to luxury vehicles in parking lots; find home location at night and steal the cars; send location to iPhones

Full report here

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Fraud Report 12/2/21

Top Stories

My new BBB study on online shopping fraud

  • Biggest overall source of complaints to the BBB
  • Break down into several categories
  • Pet scams 30%, nonexistent vehicle scams, free trial offers
  • Biggest category is items sold on Facebook/Instagram
  • Nothing delivered, counterfeits, or cheap knockoffs instead
  • Payment by credit card or PayPal
  • Web sites often pretend to be in the US, items mailed from China

Europol announces actions against money mules in 27 countries; 1800 arrested; 18,000 identified

Thought of the week:  Who is behind the scams?    For example, we know many/most lottery scams are conducted from Jamaica, Romanian gangs are deeply involved in selling nonexistent vehicles online and in ATM skimming, and free trial offer scams usually emanate from the US and Canada.  Where law enforcement knows who is behind the scams, they can focus their efforts to fight it better.  So I try to give the best information available about who the scammers are.  This is an organized industry and there is a need to focus if we are to fight it.  Of course nothing on criminal groups can suggest that the broader populations of countries are complicit in the scams, any more than the presence of Al Capone in Chicago tells you anything about the character of the its citizens.   In these sensitive times there is a temptation to disguise countries where the scams flourish to avoid the potential of being accused of giving offense.   But crime exists, it tends to concentrate in specific places, and law enforcement both in those countries and elsewhere need the best information available to combat it.

Full study here

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