Fraud Report 6/17/21

Top Stories

Know a romance fraud victim who is still troubled after the scam?

Not for profit Cybercrime support network offering free online support group for romance fraud victims

  • Ten week moderated program
  • US victims only at this point
  • Also has a closed Facebook page for victims

FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center releases report on fraud against older victims in 2020

  • 28% of complaints by those over 60
  • Losses of $1 billion; $300 million more than 2019
  • Most losses by romance fraud victims

Extensive article on how Mexico fought a Romanian ATM skimming gang in Cancun; gang owned its own corporation and ATM machines

Worldwide online free trial offer/subscription trap scam traced to Montreal; hundreds of millions lost

Theft of log in information of 26 million for Amazon, Facebook, Apple

Joint effort by the US, Romania, Germany, the Netherlands takes down online fraud marketplace Slilpp; over a dozen arrested; over $200 million lost due to stolen credentials sold on the site 

Why Buffalo, New York, is the hub of crooked debt collectors; ties to the mafia 

Operator of business directory operation in Canada indicted in Canada; started ripping off Canadians after FTC case and then criminal charges/prison in the US

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

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Fraud Report 6/10/21

Top Stories

Better Business Bureau updates study on lottery/sweepstakes scams

  • US Ambassador to Jamaica says US loses $500 million – $1 billion each year to Jamaican lottery scammers
  • Complaint numbers down last year, but losses reported increase dramatically; may be 35% increase
  • Scammers took advantage of the pandemic
  • 72% of victims are over 55; scammers target older victims
  • Looks at why victims keep sending money; it is not just the old and frail
  • 60 second BBB PSA
  • CBS aired a piece

800 arrested by FBI/ DEA Australia/ Europol in takedown of encrypted communications used by criminals

  • Used by Italian OC; motorcycle gangs, drug gangs
  • Used by 300 gangs
  • 700 house searches
  • Seize 8 tons cocaine; 22 tons cannabis
  • FBI release on this effort

Robocalls are down in the US over the last year

Cleveland, Ohio:  Woman from Latvia charged with fraud for installing Trickbot malware used by ransomware fraudsters; infected tens of millions of computers

Australians lost a record $851 million to scams in 2020; largest losses investment scams; followed by romance fraud; BEC third 

US seizes most of the ransom paid by Colonial Pipeline

New York: Australian man pleads guilty over scheme to send text messages about celebrities, horoscopes, and charging millions in fees victims had not agreed to; forfeits over $10 million

Reviews and Recommendations:  Broken Windows, by James Q. Wilson.  The authors found that if one window is broken in a building the public concludes no one really cares, and the others are quickly shattered as well.   The same idea holds true for Disney World; when litter is quickly picked up, people litter far less. This also applies to crime; where minor crime issues are addressed there is far less overall crime.

. 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

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Fraud Report 6/3/21

FTC and DOJ now accepting claims from victims who used MoneyGram between 2013 and 2017 to send money to fraudsters; results from $125 million settlement

Rhode Island: Man from India gets three years prison over tech support scam room he operated in India; to be deported afterwards

North Carolina AG proposes mandatory scam training for retail clerks

47 State AG’s support federal legislation to help fight fraud against seniors

WashPost: FTC looking at ways to address problems with free trial offer/subscription traps

National Consumers League says scams getting victim money through Cash App tripled in last half of 2020

West Virginia: Nine arrested for romance and other frauds; six of them Nigerian, two from Ghana; took in $2.5 million; at least 200 victims

Ransomware from Russia shuts down world’s largest meat producer in the US and Australia

Australia nabs five for laundering money for BEC and romance frauds

Full Report here

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Fraud Report 5/27/21

Top Stories

China arrests 80 selling counterfeit vaccines; seizes shots; worked with Interpol

From last week but with a bad link, so repeating

FBI warns that scammers are now finding missing persons reports on line and calling families claiming falsely that the lost person was kidnapped and demanding ransom  

Crooks are stealing business checks from mailboxes, altering them, and using banking apps to deposit them and then withdraw funds quickly; hope business will not notice bogus payments

California man gets over ten years prison for phone scam operating in Peru that scammed US Spanish speakers; claimed victims had failed to pay for products

Should cryptocurrency simply be banned so we can eliminate ransomware?

Full report here

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Fraud Report 5/20/21

Bulgaria raids major binary option investment scam operations

  • Search at 21 locations
  • Losses of €30 million
  • Five arrested, including Israeli head
  • Help from seven countries

FBI warns that scammers are now finding missing persons reports on line and calling families claiming falsely that the lost person was kidnapped and demanding ransom

Amazon says it blocked ten billion fake listings for counterfeit goods last year

FTC does in depth look at skyrocketing fraud offering investment in crypto currencies

  • ten-fold increase in losses during the last year
  • 20% of money lost by romance scam victims is by these “investments”
  • Those 20-49 five times more likely to lose money
  • Widespread use of fake celebrity endorsements, often use Elon Musk

FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint center reports complaints rose 70% last year

Full report here

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Fraud Report 5/13/21

Article: Which domain name registrars and web hosting companies  support cybercrime web sites? Naming names

Online scams increase 1500% in the UK; tied to Brexit and Covid

Detroit: Four from Russia and Estonia plead guilty to running “bullet proof  hosting” for criminal groups which sent malware, ran botnets, and stole banking credentials  

Ransomware shuts down largest US oil pipeline

Biden signs executive order on cybersecurity

Notes and thoughts:  Has the time finally come to bring some real forces to bear on ransomware scams? Prosecutions have been exceedingly rare, and the harm continues to grow.   I don’t know if you saw this last week.  US forms new ransomware task force; sends 81 page report to White House. But I’d hope that a serious effort is in the works.

Full report here

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Fraud Report 5/6/21

Top Stories

Great look at a nationwide web of magazine scammers indicted in Minneapolis; at least 185,000 seniors lost more than $335 million

Review and recommendation:  I highly recommend the movie Created Equal, Clarence Thomas in his own words.  From a childhood that began in poverty in Georgia, to Yale law school, the Missouri Attorney General’s office, and to his confirmation for the Supreme Court.  It is a fascinating account of an intellectual and spiritual journey.  Note that this movie has been pulled from Amazon streaming.

Studies I’ve done for BBB can all be found here. 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.

Coronavirus

Full Report here

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Fraud Report 4/29/21

Top Stories

Analysis of the Supreme Court’ decision that autodialers used in robocalls may not be subject to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, and thus limit private legal action  Note, though, that this decision does not affect the FTC’s National Do Not call enforcement authority

New York man pleads guilty over selling lists of older people that were used to send letters claiming recipient had won a lottery or for psychics

Online bitcoin scams in Australia claiming endorsements from Chris Hemsworth and Nicole Kidman

Italy arrests 30 Nigerian members of Black Axe gang for drug trafficking, prostitution, illegal immigration, internet fraud, ‘romantic fraud’, and money launderingBBC story on the arrests

Confession of a scammer who offered to “sell” timeshares in Mexico

New York Times on fake charity impersonating MacKenzie Scott, former wife of Amazon owner Jeff Bezos; follow up article in Nigeria

Pittsburgh: Criminal charges for puppy fraud against Cameroonian man extradited to the US from Germany

If your phone rings do you answer it?  My generation grew up before answering machines, and it was nearly unthinkable to not answer a ringing telephone.  This may explain why telemarking scammers have more luck reaching older victims.  But people are learning. And something is lost when we now have to email someone and arrange to talk by phone when we could once just pick up a phone and easily reach out.

Review and recommendation:  Oliver,  a musical based on Oliver Twist, which won best picture in 1968.  A great story, wonderful production and music.

Studies I’ve done for BBB can all be found here. 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

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Fraud Report 4/22/21

Top Stories

Seattle: Ten years prison for Ukrainian man extradited from Germany; was part of NI7, group that stole millions of credit and debit card numbers; losses exceed $1 billion

SEC sues massive binary options investment fraud in Israel that has victims around the world

Federal court in Australia finds Google guilty of deception; even if you turned off location information on Android devices another program still collected that data; how to turn it all off

Virus Benefit Theft

FULL REPORT HERE

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Fraud Report 4/15/21

Top Stories

Singapore police arrest 329 for romance fraud, other frauds, and for being money mules

Hong Kong arrests nine for laundering money for investment and romance fraud; had 300 bank accounts; handled $HK 900 million

New York: Scammer who was based in Dubai gets 50 months prison for two frauds

  • First was using phone spoofing and voice altering to get information from customer service centers at banks to get access to bank accounts of victims in the United States.
  • Second, laundered money for BEC fraud
  • Other defendants in this case from Canada, the UK, Georgia in the US

EU issues Organized Crime Threat Assessment

Canada:  Scammers calling victims and telling them to call their bank. Victims hang up, dial their bank and don’t realize the phone was not disconnected from the original call and they are giving personal information to scammers

Virus Benefit Theft

Full Report here

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