Fraud Report 11/19/2020

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Interview with the man who wrote fraudulent sweepstakes mailing and why they worked

Why you should delete old online accounts you never use

DOJ indicts owners of India-based Voice over Internet phone provider that allowed tens of  millions of scam robocalls into the US

  • Handled calls for IRS, Social Security, and loan scams
  • Also injunction and court order against Florida server farm that worked with them
  • Losses of at least $20 million

Virus benefit theft

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, apartment rental, crooked movers, government imposters, online vehicle sale scams, and rental fraud

Full report here

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Fraud Report 11/5/2020

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Minnesota: Three indictments in massive case against fraud in magazine sales to the elderly

  • 60 defendants in 14 states and 2 Canadian provinces
  • Ran 20 years, took in at least $300 million
  • At least 150,000 victims
  • Charge call center owners, telemarketers, lead brokers

Error last week: Correct link to State of Scams Report

Virus benefit theft

Full report here

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Fraud Report 11/5/2020

NO FRAUD REPORT NEXT WEEK – ON VACATION

Top Stories

Minnesota: Three indictments in massive case against fraud in magazine sales to the elderly

  • 60 defendants in 14 states and 2 Canadian provinces
  • Ran 20 years, took in at least $300 million
  • At least 150,000 victims
  • Charge call center owners, telemarketers, lead brokers

Italy: 73 members of Nigerian Mafia group Vikings arrested for prostitution and drugs

Error last week: Correct link to State of Scams Report

Virus benefit theft

Full Report here

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Fraud Report 10/29/20

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Kentucky: Bulgarian who had bitcoin exchange convicted of laundering money for Romanian scam “selling” nonexistent cars; handled at least $4.9 million

BBB study looks closely at online purchasing fraud

  • 64% of all complaints with money losses to BBB Scam Tracker are “online purchases:”
  • 80% of victims in online purchase fraud lost money
  • Victims found scam sellers on:  1. Facebook (30%); 2. Google (28%); 3. specific websites (17%); and 4. Instagram (9%)
  • 54% said online shipment tracking info they got was fake
  • Big increase since the pandemic began
  • #1 complaint was about pets and pet supplies; #2 vehicles and parts
  • Largest number of complaints from those 35-44
  • 68.5% of complaints from women; Asians hit harder

Global State of Scams Study tries to collect worldwide data

  • Looked at data for 31 countries; study has country by country breakdown
  • Nearly all report strong growth in scams
  • Rough estimate is that losses in 2019 were €36 billion ($42.25 billion)

FTC releases annual Do Not Call report for 9/19-9/20

  • Robocalls DOWN
  • Top robocall complaints: 1. Imposters; 2. Car warranties; 3. Lower credit card interest

FinCEN proposes requiring reporting of international transactions of $250, down from current $3000; domestic would not change

Virus benefit theft

Full report here

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Fraud Report 10/22/20

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Dutch group to host Global Online Fraud Summit on November 13; free online registration

FTC releases annual report to Congress on efforts to protect seniors

Lose most money to Romance scams; #2 gov’t imposters; #3 lottery scams

FTC data shows huge increase in scams starting on social media

  • Losses in first half of 2020 nearly equal to all 2019
  • Top losses are goods ordered online but never delivered
  • 94% of scams starting with social media Facebook or Instagram
  • Fivefold increase in pyramid and MLM complaints

Oh no! Paypal announces it will let people buy and sell bitcoin

US indicts six Russian military officers over malware, hacking, ransomware; caused at least $10 billion damage

Virus benefit theft

Tip of the week: How do we know how much fraud there is?

A 2004 FTC fraud survey, based on phone calls, found that only 8.4% of fraud victims ever complained to the BBB or law enforcement. (page ES-6).  Of course this means that over 90% do not.  Some people don’t even realize they’ve been ripped off, others are embarrassed.  Some may not know where to go. 

Full report here

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Fraud Report 10/15/2020

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Agari issues new study on Business Email Compromise Fraud; scammers now located around the world, 25% operate within the US; 900 US mules identified

Microsoft gets court order shutting down Trickbot botnet in effort to limit ransomware attacks

Virus benefit theft

Tip of the week:How do we know how much fraud there is

  • We don’t.It is hard to measure.In the US the FTC has done phone surveys several times to try and get a good measure, in 2004, 2007, and 2017.
  • There are national databases that try to centralize complaints in Canada (the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre); the UK (Action Fraud); Australia (ScamWatch), and in the US the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Database and the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.The FTC and IC3 once shared information, but unfortunately no longer do.
  • I am not aware of any centralized database for European countries, or in South America, Africa, or Asia.I presume in these locations complaints go to local civil consumer protection authorities or local police.
  • But 35 countries cooperate with complaints filed in many languages at econsumer.gov.
  • If you know of another government database that centralizes scam complaints please let me know.

Full report here

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Fraud Report 10/8/2020

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Very good podcast on the Black Axe, (Nigerian Organized Crime); where they came from, what they do, how they work with the Italian Mafia in prostitution (30 min.)

Europol releases annual cybercrime threat assessment; problems getting worse

US Treasury warns of fines against those who pay ransom; FinCEN says may need to file Suspicious Activity Reports

Virus benefit theft

Business man in Madison, Wisconsin pleads guilty to PPP and a second fraud as well

Full report here

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Fraud Report 10/1/20

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FBI warns of potential for foreign actors to try and affect voting; stress no evidence of this so far

FTC announces nationwide effort to tackle “phantom” debt collectors; collect money that is not owed

  • This scam often targets people in real financial difficulties
  • Over 50 actions by FTC and state/local partners
  • Three new FTC cases; settlements of three previously filed
  • Two CFPB cases
  • Criminal cases announced as well
  • Chart of cases filed here

Plans to expand and improve UK Action Fraud hotline

Virus benefit theft

Full report here

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Baker Fraud Report 9/24/2020

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BBB releases my new study today on online sales of cars, RV’s and other vehicles that are never delivered

Advertise on Craigslist and other online platforms

Claim must sell quickly and cheap because of divorce, deployment overseas, or that car belonged to dead son or husband

Have people do bank to bank wire transfer to supposed third party escrow company; really goes to crooks

Largely the work of Romanian organized crime gangs

FBI warns of dangers from foreign disinformation on election results

FTC sending $147 million in refunds to victims from settlement with Western Union

Thousands of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) leaked from FinCEN to Buzzfeed; highly confidential investigation records

Europol announces worldwide effort to disrupt sales of illegal items on the dark web; 179 arrested

The rise and fall of Nigerian Instagram star Hushpuppi; in jail for laundering BEC money

Virus benefit theft

Coronavirus

Phishing, BEC fraud, spyware all peaked during the pandemic

Full Report here

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Baker Fraud Report 9/17/20

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New York Times on rise in money mules during pandemic; reshipping scams, romance fraud, and others

Montreal police arrest 12 in massive romance fraud; expect six more arrests in the Ivory Coast; at least 50 victims and $2.3 million losses

US indicts four, including two Canadians, for mass mailings claiming victims had won and needed to send back a small payment to get prize money; tens of millions in losses; also violated Postal consent decrees

Virus benefit theft

Coronavirus

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