Helena woman loses $1K in online scam

A Helena woman is out $1,000 after being caught in an online romance scam.

According to police, the woman thought she was doing a favor for a man she had been communicating with online.

However, that favor turned into a wire fraud scam.

When all was said and done, the woman had transferred a $1,000 for delivery charges through Western Union, only to find out that she would be responsible for wiring money from someone else's credit card.

Lt. Corey Livesay, an investigator for the Helena Police Department, explained, "In this one, they think that they are wiring it to a place in New Jersey, when in fact this money is being picked up by a person in Nigeria. And when they discover this they feel embarrassed, and they feel completely taken advantage of, which they have been. And in a lot of these instances they are going to be the ones ultimately responsible because the individuals in another country fall outside a lot of the jurisdictional boundaries where we can hold them accountable."

Livesay says never wire money to people you don't know for any reason.

Learn more about this type of online scam at RomanceScam.com, including this overview:

You or someone you know may be dating this person online right now. However, be warned. Things aren't what they appear to be. In reality you're talking to a criminal sitting in a cybercafe with a well rehearsed script he's used many times before. He's hunting through chat rooms, dating sites and social networking sites searching for victims, looking to cash in on romance. If you are over 40, recently divorced, a widow, elderly or disabled then all the better in his eyes. Scammers are adept at psychological profiling, and use any weakness they find to their advantage.

It's the newest evolution of the Nigerian advance fee (419) scam. Instead of sending spam letters that promise millions for your assistance, these scammers are targeting single men and women who are searching for love online.

They use psychological tricks to lure their victims in, use poetry and even gifts to get them under their spell, then once you are there, will try to reach for your wallet, all the time declaring their "undying love" for you. The scam may take the form of asking you to cash a cheque for them through your bank account because they are "out of the country" and unable to cash it themselves, or they may come right out and ask you to send money to help them out of a fabricated "financial difficulty" they claim to be experiencing.


Email Security Firm eleven Reports Spam Levels Decreased 36 Percent in March

(WEB HOST INDUSTRY REVIEW) -- Email security provider eleven (www.eleven.de) announced on Wednesday that overall scam 419 levels in March were 36 percent below scam levels in the previous month. 

The eleven email security report found that the shutdown of Rustock botnet by US authorities with Microsoft on March 16, 2011, led to the reduction in spam levels. Within 24 hours of the shutdown, spam levels fell by 60 percent.

Though scam saw a decrease in March, the level of malware sent via email increased significantly. According to eleven, the amount of malware-infected emails doubled in March compared to the previous month. 

Apparently, this is an expected "reaction to botnet takedowns, where spammers attempt to make up for lost infrastructures by sending mass quantities of Trojans." According to eleven, Trojans were primarily camouflaged as notifications from courier services.

eleven says the decline in spam is the first time that it had fallen below the 90 percent mark since 2009.

The report says that the US is the top third spam source country, with India in the lead and Russia in second place.

February and March 2011 saw an increase in targeted phishing campaigns against banking customers. Current events were also used for deceptive objects including the earthquake and tsunami in Japan where spammers set up fraudulent donation sites.

The complete report can be found on the eleven website.

Last month, eleven released its annual survey which found over half of German IT managers say spam levels have considerably increased over the past year.


Internet scam continues to be a major issue, as 10% of the online UK populations are being victim

The problem of online fraud has led to eight per cent of victims believing that they will never receive all of their money back.

The figure has doubled over the last 18 months, research by VeriSign Authentication, now part of Symantec, found that British adults are losing almost twice as much money to online fraud in comparison with six months ago.

Although the number of fraud victims remained stable, with ten per cent of the online UK population suffering at the hands of cyber criminals in the last 12 months, the average amount lost to online fraud now stands at £697 per victim, compared with an average of £352 in March 2010.

“Some companies do insurance against fraud and identity theft but you need to read the small print. But they are looking for added credit facilities and they know that the customers are willing to pay for it.

Research Online Fraud 

The research in the online fraud barometer also found that the number of people claiming only to shop from ‘safe sites' has fallen from 82 per cent to 80 per cent in the last six months.

Cyber criminal activity has evolved and as a result the monetary attraction for compromising a computer to steal banking details has also evolved with this. We're now seeing malicious emails and rogue or compromised websites become more difficult for the average consumer to identity.

Online Shopping

“Online shopping (e-commerce) has become the weak link in the chain, which may explain the increased fraud in this area. Banks absolutely have a role to play in educating customers to be alert to the risks and working with authentic merchants to provide a convenient and secure online shopping customer experience. Educating consumers of the risks and providing the appropriate tools to mitigate against compromised sites is imperative.”

Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday is coming up. That's when online retailers offer specials the Monday after Thanksgiving. 100 million shoppers took part last year. But as people get more comfortable buying online, it's important not to let your guard down against fraud.

Every year, millions of dollars are lost through online shopping fraud. The scams range from fake stores selling bogus merchandise you never receive to getting something different from what you ordered to having your personal information compromised.

"You want to verify a website is secure when you do purchases. That's usually what that lock at the bottom or the https within the browser section of the Internet. You want to make sure that's there before you give your personal information," Jim David of the Better Business Bureau said.

Look for HTTPS at the beginning of the URL. This indicates information you share is being encrypted.

Learn more about how your web browser can protect you from unsecure websites:
• Internet Explorer 8 Safety Features
• Firefox Phishing & Malware Protection
• Apple Safari Security & Privacy Features
• Google Chrome Privacy & Security Settings

How to mark a scam 419

Every day I get at least three different banks emailing me telling me that there has been a change to my online banking details – so I should just visit this web page or download that document.

It makes a change to the banks telling me that their security systems have been updated or someone has withdrawn money from my account, but not much of one. Particularly seen as these generally aren’t the bunch I actually bank with.

419 scammers are also fairly present in this – when they aren’t telling you they want to smuggle money out of their country they are congratulating you for winning a contest you never actually entered.

I know we laugh at herbalists who sell “penis cream” but some of this spam is the exact same stuff – being marketed by Eastern Europeans to Americans. Somehow we get caught in the crossfire.

Which brings me to the following: Never trust an unexpected email or SMS. Scammers want your banking details, and spammers want to verify your email address. If you didn’t know you were going to get it, and it wants you to do something, don’t.

Anchorage con victims track down accused scammer

An Anchorage man scammed into buying phony concert tickets on Craigslist decided he wanted to do more than file a police report.
Police say he advertised and found two other victims, and together they tracked down a suspect who has been arrested on forgery and theft charges.

"You better be careful who you defraud using the Internet," said Lt. Dave Parker, "because they might be more Internet savvy than you are."

The original victim paid $50 for a ticket last month to a concert by the band Daughtry. The ticket was bogus, Parker said.

The man went back to Craigslist, an online site offering free classified advertising, seeking others who had been ripped off. Two men responded.

Police arrested 21-year-old Shanda Barlow on Oct. 21.

She's charged with three counts of forgery and three counts of theft by deception. She also had an outstanding warrant for $10,000, putting her bail at $15,000. She was not in custody Wednesday. A message left with the public defender's office was not immediately returned.

Police say there may be additional victims and are asking them to call investigators.

Internet users recommend to stay watchful in order to avoid scammers

The Western Cape Police’s Commercial Crimes Unit on Tuesday said far too many people are still being duped by internet scams.

The Hawks warned criminals are continuously adjusting their modus operandi, making it difficult for unsuspecting consumers to stay a step ahead of con artists.

Police have reminded members of the public they need to be more vigilant when sharing personal information.

The police’s Jerome Hardenberg said the type of fraud involving cloned bank cards and internet banking fraud is expected to rise ahead of the festive season.

Police have arrested several suspects since the start of the year. On Monday two Chinese nationals were apprehended in Kraaifontein for being in possession of equipment used to produce cloned bank cards.

Officers hope to make more arrests in the coming month.

Using e- business potential to reduce Internet fraud in Nigeria

The need to expose Nigerians to legitimate job opportunities on Internet has been stressed by Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) at its maiden exhibition of business proposals on Internet for Jobs (I4J) Initiative in Lagos.

The foremost Internet body in the country last Friday commenced its search for Nigerians, mostly youths, who possessed e-business concepts. It expressed its readiness to extend N1 million grant to each of the shortlisted candidates.

Event Sponsor 

The event was sponsored by Multi-Links. NIG said with the promotion of e- business and e-government, I4J aims at creating jobs for software programmers, webmasters, database managers, marketers and others in related fields and in addition to growing the business of Internet Service Providers, e-payment companies, cybercaf├ęs among others, who are employers of Information Technology (IT) personnel.

The former ATCON and NIG president argued that there is no need for anyone to be involved in Internet fraud. “Those who created Google and Yahoo are youths. Nigerians have what its takes to beat their counterparts to innovation anywhere in the world.”

Having assessed the quality of presentations at the event, Banjo advised youths to sharpen their ICT skills to meet the innovative standard that can lure investors to support them. The Chief Executive of Disk Engineering Communications, who doubles at the chairman of e-Business arm of NIG noted that Nigerians have the potentials to rule the world in ICT and hereby tasked the youth on thoroughness.

“This event is not about coming here to listen to tales from people, who believe we out to provide them with net to catch fish at the lagoon. We are concerned about the need to encourage those who have ideals and are propelled to do legitimate business on net. For those who want to play the oratory ostrich, they may as well look elsewhere. Certainly this is a worthy cause and we are for it” Banjo said.

Cal Fire warns residents about phone solicitation con

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection is warning residents of the Bay Area to be wary of a telephone scam in which people are asked to donate money for firefighter training, a Cal Fire representative said.

The suspected scammer solicited one Santa Clara County resident for an undisclosed sum of money that would supposedly fund Cal Fire training, spokesman Daniel Berlant said.

In reality, the training of the state agency's firefighters is funded through their budget, Berlant said.

"We would never call anybody soliciting money," Berlant said. "That's what our taxpayer dollars go toward paying for, training our firefighters."

The resident thought the call was suspicious, Berlant said, so he did not give the caller any money and reported the scam to Cal Fire. He was unable to get the scammer's phone number or any descriptive information, Berlant said.

"Obviously, we hope there aren't other people out there who have been scammed by this suspect," Berlant said.

A similar scam was perpetrated in Mendocino County several years ago, Berlant said. As in this instance, the would-be victim felt the call was a fraud and did not give any money to the caller, Berlant said.

Though the Mendocino County scam artist was never caught, no scam calls were reported to Cal Fire after the public was alerted to the crime, Berlant said.


miiCard declares Strategic Relationship with Yodlee to distribute Digital Passports

Banking innovation and the fight against Internet fraud moves forward today with digital identity company miiCard's announcement of a strategic development and distribution relationship with Yodlee, Inc., the leading provider of online and mobile personal finance management (PFM) solutions.

miiCard, a patent pending, global, digital identity solution, is soft launching to the financial services industry in Amsterdam, at Sibos, October 28th. miiCard's aim is to eradicate the final barrier to global trade in financial service products - the often cumbersome and always time consuming need for offline proof of identity before a financial product can be purchased.

Powered by Yodlee, the miiCard Digital Passport enables consumers to prove "they are who they say they are" online, in real-time; enabling them to buy financial products completely online for the first time, in a fashion that meets Anti-Money Laundering laws, Know Your Customer regulations and the Proceeds of Crime Act standards.

Making the announcement at Sibos where miiCard was invited by SWIFT to present at the Innotribe Challenge, James Varga, miiCard's Founder explains: "Online authentication has become the holy grail for all financial institutions. Proving online identity is the final barrier to global trade in financial services products; and while consumers fall victim to fraud every day, it is critical that we as an industry address the issue and offer a solution fast, and that's what miiCard, working with Yodlee, intends to do."

New Zealanders have been targeted by Phone scammers

New Zealanders being rung from overseas are being duped into allowing access to their computers and bank accounts.

The scammer cold-calls the victim, claiming to be from an IT support help desk, plants malware in the computer through the phoneline and offers to fix it for a fee paid by credit card over the phone.

Christchurch mum Claire Kelly's computer was hacked by a man who rang up offering to fix something on it.

"They said it was quite a major problem, a new problem, and that a lot of anti-virus software people had on their computers was not detecting this virus," Kelly told ONE News.

But she said when she followed the virtual PC doctor's advice, things got weird.

"Windows just kept popping up and the mouse kept moving around and I had this absolute sick feeling in my stomach."

NetSafe believes the scammers are increasing the intensity of the scam, with six foreign calls reported in New Zealand yesterday. Australia has had a tenfold increase in the past two months.

Listen To A Phone Scammer At Work

$20 Million Fake Documented in Rarely Heard Recordings

The foreign-based scammer behind one of the most relentless telemarketing frauds in recent years have stolen more than $20 million from mostly elderly Americans by playing on their hopes and fears, as evidenced in audio recordings of their calls obtained exclusively by ABC News.

During the hours of recordings, one elderly victim repeatedly pleads with a litany of callers who falsely claim to be from a sweepstakes company in Las Vegas, from the insurance company Lloyds of London, and from such government agencies as the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Commerce, and the Federal Trade Commission. The scammer repeatedly asks her to send more money to pay taxes and fees, and promises a windfall is on its way.

"I don't have the money," she says. "I told you, I've taken it all out of my bank account."


Security debate grows over Internet voting

State efforts to let military and overseas voters cast ballots using the Internet have set off warnings from computer security experts that elections could be subject to cyberattacks.

The debate intensified after the District of Columbia tested an Internet voting system for possible use next month and invited computer scientists to try hacking into it. They did, without much trouble.

Arizona and West Virginia will allow military and overseas voters to use the Internet on Nov. 2 with systems the states claim are safe. More than 20 other states let those voters use e-mail, which some election security experts say is just as vulnerable. Congress has asked the Pentagon and the states to conduct pilot projects.


Nationwide video launched for prevention of online fraud

People who are worried about becoming victims of fraud are being helped by a new series of videos being launched by Nationwide Building Society.

Card and online banking fraud are estimated to cost over £500 million every year1 across the industry and Nationwide, which is at the forefront of initiatives to protect consumers from the risk of financial crime, has launched three online videos explaining how individuals can safeguard themselves against fraud.

The videos show how fraudsters try to get access to people's money and bank accounts and what they can do to prevent this.

There are videos and articles on:

- Card fraud with tips on protecting yourself if taking money out of a cash machine or using your card in a shop or restaurant

- Online banking fraud showing the clever sites fraudsters set up to try to trick consumers into releasing their bank account details

- Identity theft showing how fraudsters can steal someone's identity and the impact this could have.

Police nab cheque fraudster at Port Kembla

A man accused of buying items bought over the internet with fake bank cheques in Sydney and regional New South Wales is to face the Wollongong Local Court today.

The 40-year-old was arrested at Port Kembla yesterday after Police searched a unit on Wentworth Street and a house on Poplar Avenue at Albion Park Rail.

He is facing 30 fraud charges for paying for cars, jewellery and cameras with fraudulent cheques.

The offences were committed over the past six months in the Sydney metropolitan area, the Blue Mountains and Orange.

Chief Inspector Mark Lavis says Police are expecting that the number of charges will rise.

"And they would be asking anyone who suspects they might have been a victim of a similar fraud to contact the Lake Illawarra Detectives," Chied Inspector Lavis said.