Category: Fight Back

Fightback Nan

The Daily Scam is a great web site run by three guys in America who became sick of the flood of scam emails, texts and phone calls that invade our lives.

One lady who contacted them (they call her Nan) tells of her attempts to waste the scammers time and hand the scammers details over to the Police. This is one of her exploits (reproduced with permission from The Daily Scam).

Nan was burned once by a scammer last year and she is once burned, twice shy.  Nan now prides herself as a scam-hunter and we’re proud of her! Rather than cancel her accounts through which she has been targeted by scammers, Nan lies in wait, excited when she recognizes the tell-tale signs of a scam. She’s learned the hard way and now puts that knowledge to good use. Nan has been contacted several times through her Care.com account by what she has come to recognize as the advance check scam.   Advance-check scams are very common and Nan tells us that the scammers can bring it on.

Email To: Nan from “James Abott / Ato Jina”

Hi, You will receive the Assignment Package today. Kindly follow the instruction letter enclosed and complete the Assignment immediately. I will be looking forward to hear from you. Please reply

Nan received a United States Postal Service 2-day priority mail envelope from a business identified as Moving Right Along, located in Fort Lauderdale, FL. There is a real business with this name and address but not in Florida. It is located in Ozone Park, New York!

The envelope that “ato jino” sent to Nan contained the following instructions on stationary from “Clear Lake Regional Medical Center.” 

Dear Sir/Madam,

This is the First Assignment Package as discussed in our previous conversation.

*You will have to cash/deposit the cashier’s check ($1646.71) at your bank today

*The funds should be available in your bank account same day or next day [THIS IS A LIE! MOST BANKS REQUIRE 3-7 DAYS, depending on several factors including if a deposit is made on a weekend or holiday, and make take 5-7 days before determining that a check is fraudulent.]

*Deduct $350 as your weekly wages and another $100 for Moneygram sending fee and Gas

To send the remaining funds $1196) to the Hospital Cashier that would be taking care of the Medication of the Client.

Below is the information of the Company Cashier:

Name: Felix Starks / Address: 3500 Hemphill St, City: Fort Worth State: Texas

Zip Code: 76110…………………………Please send $1196 here via MONEYGRAM

*Kindly send the eight digits Moneygram Reference Number of the transaction above after the transaction has been completed to my e-mail james.abbott335@gmx.com

Yours sincerely
Dr. James Abbott

From: Nan
Date: Jan 5, 2017 12:52 PM
Subject: Re: Hi
To: “ato jino” <atojino4522@gmail.com>

OK I’ve reported you to the authorities.. thanks for another scam!! I’ve already now turned in 10 people! You will be caught for what you are doing. You are a criminal and shame on you!!

Nan says that she has played the scammers several times now.  As she has told us… “I love catching these scam artists in the act. It’s literally a high because I’m stopping them from scamming innocent people. Just being able to help is amazing to me.”

What did Nan accomplish? A lot actually. She wasted the scammer’s time and money, and put him at risk by exposing the fraud. By informing the bank and the authorities, she made it much harder to use the bogus checks pretending to be this bank.  But most importantly, she played them much like the way they play others. And so, to Nan, we say thank you! You are truly a crusader and we salute you

For more details on Nan’s scambaiting go to  www.thedailyscam.com/anti-scam-crusader/

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Neighbourhood Watch Week

Neighbourhood Watch logo

The week commencing 17th June was Neighbourhood Watch week.

It was a reason to look at the great work done to protect communities by the Neighbourhood teams across the country.

You’ll find Neighbourhood Watch online at www.ourwatch.org.uk

They claim to be the largest crime prevention movement in England and Wales with 2.3 million member households and their mission is to bring neighbours together to create strong, friendly, active communities where crime and anti-social behaviour are less likely to happen.

There are numerous examples on their website of the great work being done, such as the one below.

Pocket Park

There was a disused lay-by that had attracted drug dealing and fly-tipping and  the idea was to turn it into a pocket park. At the same time, a campaign was in progress to turn a disused shop front into a Window Gallery. The two projects were to help create a more vibrant, safe and connected community.

The team kept pressure on the local council by emailing and holding regular meetings with various councillors and community groups. They attended ward panel meetings with police, councillors and other groups locally in the belief that if they kept the pressure on they could eventually effect change.

It took six years for the pocket park and 18 months for the Window Gallery.

They took pictures regularly of the degradation and vandalism and shared these with the council. Every time a crime occurred in the lay-by they ensured it was reported and reported any fly tipping etc.

They created social media groups to keep momentum and team spirits up.

The council funded the creation of the pocket park with agreements from residents to lightly maintain it –   picking litter, weeding and watering it regularly.

For the gallery, they applied for funding and approached local businesses. They gained funding from several streams including the heritage lottery fund, the St James Big Local community group and a local estate agent.

Well done the local Neighbourhood Watch team of volunteers.

If you have any experiences with Neighbourhood Watch  do let me know, by email.

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A Redeemed Scammer

As with many criminals, people who scam others for a living tend to carry on doing so until something dramatic makes them think again – such as a significant prison sentence, losing someone important in their life, violence etc.

“Fred” was a scammer for many years, working for various scam outfits until the day the Federal agents turned up at his office and he ended up spending several years in prison. Now he works to prevent fraud and warn people of how it is done.

Fred says:-

If I were still in the scam business, I would focus on reverse mortgages and precious metals. Home-equity and reverse mortgage scams are attractive now because a lot of seniors have paid off their house, and that’s like an untapped bank account. If your home is worth $300,000 and you paid off your mortgage a couple of years ago, you have $300,000 sitting in the bank, waiting for me to steal it. A lot of TV and direct mail advertising tells you how to get money out of your house while you are still living in it. Some of these ads are legitimate; many are not.

 My ma asked me once how her friends could avoid these scams. I told her two things. If someone is pitching a deal, ask yourself, “What’s in it for him?” A common ploy is to get you to take out a loan on your house, then invest the proceeds in a long-term annuity or some other investment in which they make a huge commission. It may not be a fraud, but it may be a lot better deal for the salesman than for you. I also told Ma that when it comes to your house, never sign any paperwork until your lawyer — someone you choose, not someone the salesman refers you to — reads the fine print.

 As for gold and silver scams, I worked in several coin rooms in the 2000s. We would sell gold coins at a 300 to 500 percent mark up. So the victims would pay $25,000 for a bunch of coins, which they would receive, but years later, they would take them to a coin shop and learn they were worth only a few thousand dollars. This is a great scam, because the coin industry is largely unregulated. Plus, because the victims receive the coins, they don’t realize until years later that they’ve been taken.

 One of my victims was a successful engineer from California named Tim. He first talked to one of our salesmen, who gave him the generic pitch. Then he turned him over to me to close. The first thing I said to Tim was: “Hi, Tim, this is Jim. How are you doing? Go get a pen and paper right now — I want you to write my name down.” Tim immediately said, “Oh, OK, I’ll be right back.”

 With those six words I knew that Tim was going to fall and fall hard. It wasn’t just that he immediately complied with my request; it was how he complied.

 Out of the Game, for Good

All of those years I ripped people off, I knew it was wrong. But I was making so much money, I didn’t care. It wasn’t until those agents busted into my office in Miami that it finally hit me: What I was doing was really bad. I pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and went to prison for more than three years. I had a lot of time to think about my crimes. When I got out, I promised my mother I would never go back to my old ways. It wasn’t easy. The first year I was out of prison I was asked almost daily to work as a closer for the latest scam. Finally, I changed my phone number so I wouldn’t be tempted.

 Now, I am 44 years old, and I live in my parents’ house. I owe the federal government almost a million dollars in restitution that I don’t have a prayer of paying back. Thanks to years of smoking and drug abuse, I have acute emphysema and I carry around an oxygen tank. I’m on the waiting list for a double lung transplant, but the clock is running out. Can you spell karma?

 Do you have an opinion on this matter? Please comment in the box below.

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DMARC Email Authentication

We all get far too many emails claiming to be from a well known company but actually sent by scammers and spammers. Internet Service Providers trap a large percentage of these fake messages and delete them before they they can get to their intended target, but a lot still get through to us.

What can be done?

There is a standard called DMARC used by many large organisations including Google, Facebook, Apple, Craigslist, Virgin Media, British Airways, Dropbox, Amazon and many more.

Implementing DMARC ensures that genuine emails can only be sent using specified company servers and hence any Internet Services Provider can filter out the messages claiming to be from these companies, but are fake.

Sending Out Emails

The sender sets up two pieces of machine readable information in advance

  1. A document that describes how the emails will be sent (e.g. which servers will be used for the outgoing mail). This is called SPF (Sender Policy Framework).
  2. A proof of identity document called DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail)

Receiving Emails

The email service provider in receipt of the message, checks the SPF and DKIM entries for the legitimate sender and compares the meta data for the messages against that. If it passes then the message is accepted but it there is a mismatch then the messages are marked as fake. That can mean they are deleted or can mean they are delivered to the users spam folder.

It does take effort to implement DMARC as a sender but the more large companies start using DMARC the better and the more email service providers start to check incoming mail for DMARC then the less rubbish will get through.

If you know anything more about this then let me know, by email.

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Hacking Group Sentenced

Five men have been found guilty of hacking into an e-mail account and attempting to steal more than £3 million from a London businessman.

All five suspects were convicted at Southwark Crown Court on Wednesday, 22 May at the end of a five-month trial following a complex investigation carried out by the Metropolitan Police Service’s Cyber Crime Unit over four years.

Anthony Oshodi,, Foyjul Islam, Mohammed Siddique, Mohammed Rafeek and Meharoof Muttiyan were found guilty of various counts including money laundering, false identification documents and possession of articles for use in fraud.

Oshodi fled three weeks into the trial but was convicted in absence.

The suspects carried out their scam by altering the email account of a single victim, enabling them to send emails without his knowledge and preventing him from viewing messages from his accountant and bank.

The group sent several emails from the victim’s account to his bank requesting payment be made to a number of people. Payment was requested through fraudulent invoices containing account numbers belonging to the suspects.

In one week, approximately £1.3 million was transferred into three accounts. The money was then transferred again to cover their tracks.

Detectives managed to identify each suspect through the examination of banking, phone and computer records. They pieced together key evidence of the money trail, patterns of communication and the ownership of individual devices linked to the offences.

Oshodi’s computer also contained copies of 1000 third party passports and bank cards which were used to create false identities.

Muttiyan acted as a primary money mule, transferring cash through the bank accounts of a petrol station, an insurance claims company, and a computer business owned by the group. Siddique organised the distribution of £600,000.

Rot in jail.

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Website: The Daily Scam

The Daily Scam website is a resource to help people counter online fraud – it is funded by donations and has been attacked a number of time by hackers trying to stop them.

www.thedailyscam.com

“The Daily Scam was developed by Doug Fodeman and David Deutsch in response to the overwhelming number of Internet scams and online fraud targeting them, their friends and colleagues”.

Mission Statement

“Our goal is simple: To help people better understand internet-based threats, scams and fraudulent practices, and how to avoid them”.

Solution

“The problem is getting larger every year. Despite people’s best intentions to stay safe online there are extremely talented scam artists and criminal gangs who successfully manipulate us into infecting our computers with malware, or trick people into revealing personal information that puts us at risk. During the last few years these threats have been increasing and we’re as sick and tired of them as you!”

These guys are big believers in education as the solution to these scammers.

They have created resources on their website to educate business and the public to keep your computers and your information safe. There is a free weekly newsletter “The Daily Scam” which aims to expose the latest scams and offer tips for reducing your risks online.

They offer webinars and workshops to help to educate people.

The website includes:-

  • Lots of useful articles
  • Warnings
  • Videos
  • Newsletters
  • T-shirts and mugs with anti scam slogans

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