Fraud Report 4/15/21

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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

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Fraud Report 4/8/21

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Review and Recommendation:  A great movie is House of Games, a David Mamet play made into this movie starring Joe Mantegna.  How even a very bright psychiatrist can be taken in by a good con.

US databases begin sharing complaints again.  The FBI’s IC3 at one time contributed its complaints to the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel system, making it easier to search for complaints and do analysis.  Some years ago this ended.  But the two are now sharing at least some complaints once again.  As the FTC recently said: “This year, the FTC welcomed the data contributions of the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection. Twenty-five states now contribute to Sentinel.” Note though, that the amount of data shared seems to be limited.

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 4/1/21

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Justice Department releases efforts to fight pandemic fraud to date

  • 474 charged so far; attempts to obtain $569 million
  • 120 charged with PPP fraud
  • Have seized $580 million in EDIL loan fraud
  • Arrested 140 people for unemployment fraud; use stolen identities; much of this by international organized crime groups
  • Also done dozens of cases against bogus treatments or cures, PPE issues, and has taken down hundreds of fraudulent websites

Joint US/Canadian Crackdown on Grandparent Scams

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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 3/25/21

March 25, 2021

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India busts call center, arrest 34; operation ran tech support and social security impersonator scams

UK consumer watchdog buys fake Google reviews for its fake companies

Prison for Russian and Macedonian; operated crooked online Marketplace with slogan: “In Fraud we Trust;”  responsible for purchase and sale of over 4 million credit and debit cards

Grandparent frauds now asking victims to deposit cash into a Wells Fargo ATM; give them a one time access code

Counterfeit check frauds continue to grow

  • Industry updates numbers every two years; latest available for 2018
  • In 2016 a study said bank themselves lost $789 million; a 25% increase from two years before; and banks stopped 7.8 billion in fake checks in  2016
  • In 2018 counterfeit checks cost banks themselves $1.3 billion, and the banks stopped $13.8 billion, or 91% of those
  • So losses up considerably; more than 50%

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Fraud Report 3/11/21

My new study for the Better Business Bureau:  Gift Card Payment Scams

  • Gift cards are now the top payment methods for complaints to the FTC (excepting online purchases)
  • BBB complaints from people who paid with gifts card triples in last two years
  • Providing numbers from the back of cards is like sending cash
  • Most common cards scammers ask for are eBay, Google Play, iTunes, Amazon and Target
  • Older people more likely to be victims

Claim forms are going out for the $125 million settlement between MoneyGram and the FTC/DOJ

Two from Ukraine extradited to the US and charged; laundered money for cyber thieves that stole money from online bank accounts

FINRA releases study on chronic fraud victimization and steps to intervene

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FTC and SBA give advice for businesses that are asked to repay loans even though they never received one

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Fraud Report 3/4/21

Better Business Bureau releases 2020 scam risk report

  • 25% increase in scam tracker complaints
  • Two thirds of those who lost money were victims of an online purchase fraud
  • Pets and pets supplies largest problem in online purchases
  • Employment scams and fake checks still major problems

Robocall study for the US; calls down 10%, but are 25% of all phone calls

A close look at the operations of a Romanian ATM skimming operation centered in Mexico and protected by local politicians 

Agari issues new report on Business Email Compromise fraud

  • More phishing emails refer to COVID-19 vaccines
  • New tactics to get money from investment commitments
  • 333% increase in paycheck diversion
  • More than half of BEC attacks request gift cards
  • eBay cards 25% of the time

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Fraud Report 2/25/21

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New Jersey issues report on unlicensed bitcoin machines

  • Many don’t comply with federal regulations
  • Scammers get victims to deposit money into them
  • Propose state licenses and some regulation

New study on how scammers also spend huge efforts contacting customer service centers to try and get access to accounts of others

  • Call volume up 42% at these call centers during virus
  • Record levels of fraud calls, especially in financial services and insurance industries
  • 5% of all calls fraudulent or suspicious
  • 80% of call centers say fraud a very serious issue

Competition Bureau in Canada settles with online travel agency over deceptive terms, fake online reviews; company to pay $5.8 million

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Fraud Report 2/18/2021

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New law lets law enforcers subpoena U.S. offices of foreign banks for records, even if the records are not in the U.S.

US indicts three hackers from North Korea

  • Responsible for Sony hack
  • Theft of money from banks around the world
  • Cash out scams on ATM’s
  • Canadian-American man pleads guilty

New York: Six arrested across the US for laundering money for Ghana-based scam enterprise; handled funds for romance fraud; virus relief fraud; and BEC scams

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Fraud Report 1/12/21

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FTC releases summary of 2020 complaint data

Nigeria orders all citizens to register their SIM cards within two weeks

UK Supreme Court rules that the Serious Fraud Office can not make companies produce documents held overseas

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Fraud Report 2/4/2021

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DOJ enters deferred prosecution agreement with huge Colorado marketing firm that sold leads to scammers targeting older victims

  • To pay $150 million; most to be refunded to victims
  • Many leads used for sweepstakes/lottery fraud
  • Sold information on 30 million people
  • Charging document here 

DOJ announces criminal case, and arrest of Canadian man, in operation that took down international Netwalker ransomware operation

EU warns it is already seeing forged virus vaccination certificates

Competition Bureau in Canada settles with scam “free trial offer” company; to pay $15 million

National Consumers League releases top ten scams of 2020; sweepstakes/lotteries top the list, followed by romance scams

FTC settles with Amazon over failure to pay full tips to Amazon flex drivers; company to pay $61.7 million

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