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#cyberfraud | #cybercriminals | The cyber pirates of the Caribbean responsible for online fraud that robs Australians of millions

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans


January 06, 2020 06:06:09

They ride the high seas of the global financial system, preying on everyday Australians and stealing millions of dollars. They are the outlaws of the digital world and authorities seem powerless to stop them.

Jane Smith* had run a successful business for years and was finally in a place where she could think about investing her and her husband’s retirement fund.

They had both worked hard and put aside a sizeable nest egg, but she was worried as she neared retirement age they needed a top-up.

So when a simple offer promising a healthy return popped up on her Facebook feed, she thought she would give it a try.

It sounded similar to something she had heard about from a friend whose son worked for a major investment firm that was using automated trading software on currency exchange markets.

And it came from a firm with a slick-looking website and a friendly investment manager who sounded highly educated and knew current market trends.

Little did she know her savings would be flushed into a river of cash flowing out of Australia and into a global network of offshore accounts, where it would be laundered and channelled into the pockets of highly organised criminals.

Scammers who are smarter than us

Jane’s life has changed irrevocably since she was targeted.

She is now forced to contemplate a future where she and her husband will have to keep working, then when they get too old perhaps turn to the Government for support.

And Jane is far from alone.

Many of us think we are too smart to fall for scammers, but investment scams cost Australians at least $86 million in 2018 — topping all other forms of scams that robbed people of their savings.

Fake investment offers in cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, are becoming more popular, resulting in record losses in 2019, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

But despite the massive cost, victims say when they report these crimes, action is rarely taken.

An ABC investigation has peeled back the glossy facade of the scam that robbed Jane of her savings, to reveal an extensive global network including shell companies, sophisticated marketing and high-pressure sales tactics all designed to get what it wants — your money.

Fake news and bogus endorsements

For Jane, the scam started at her home in the West Australian city of Bunbury.

From there, it went all the way to the regulatory havens of the Caribbean, Europe and Asia that allow these financial pirates safe harbour.

It began with a fake ABC news story about a bogus endorsement by mining billionaire Andrew Forrest for a financial scheme that promised great riches.

There are endless variations of this ad floating around Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networks, but the formula remains the same.

A name-brand celebrity like Microsoft founder Bill Gates or Virgin billionaire Richard Branson is ostensibly interviewed by a reliable news outlet, with public comments from supposed clients raving about the money they say they have made:

“Is this really working? Has anyone tried it yet?”

“It really is! I already earned 1352$ [sic] and it just keeps coming. I can’t wait to earn more with the app.”

“I’m very surprised that this is fully legal, with the amount I’m earning.”

Australian versions of the scam also feature former NSW premier and now NAB banking executive Mike Baird.

Jane read the article and was intrigued. She followed the links and found herself on a website using the name HybridReserve.

“HybridReserve set out to allow ANY person sitting at home or in the office to be able to invest modest sums of money and offer them the 100% support and guidance needed for beginners,” the site claims.

“Confusing terminology and complicated technologies, are not our thing.”

She started off with small amounts, but as the returns flowed in and she received some early payouts, she was encouraged to invest more heavily.

She eventually deposited $670,000 over several months into HybridReserve’s online trading platform, believing it was being invested on her behalf.

But once the money was deposited, her investment manager suddenly became hard to contact, despite the previous daily calls and emails.

And heading over to their office to speak to him was not an option.

HybridReserve lists a main address in the picturesque Caribbean nation of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The tiny nation lies in a chain of tropical islands that also includes famous offshore tax and regulatory havens such as the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and The Bahamas.

When the ABC called the only number listed on HybridReserve’s website that was still connected, the man who answered claimed no knowledge of HybridReserve.

He said he was only there to “connect” callers to other agents, but also that he was available for anything the ABC “wished to do that considers trading, and such”.

He then said he would put the call through to management, and hung up the phone.

A very busy address

The address listed by HybridReserve — Suite 305, Griffith Corporate Centre, Beachmont, Kingstown — is well known to authorities and IDCare, a not-for-profit identity theft and cyber fraud support service.

The man who answered the phone said he was in St Vincent and the Grenadines, at “Suite 305 Griffith”, but later backtracked, saying he could not reveal where he was located.

In the past two years IDCare has dealt with 41 complaints linked to that address out of 583 cases of alleged investment fraud.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) also lists 12 business names or entities associated with this address on their companies you should not deal with list.

It is a modest office block that sits in a semi-industrial part of the capital, Kingstown, next door to a private medical centre.

The ABC does not suggest all firms linked to this address are involved in fraud, as there are legitimate reasons for incorporating your business offshore.

But a number of brokers who are the subject of complaints by Australian investors have this listed as their main address.

Griffith Corporate Centre is advertised online as offering virtual office space and registered office services.

The ABC made repeated attempts to contact the centre, but received no reply.

There are legitimate locations like this one all over the world. Often they are just post office boxes.

They can be used by people who want to incorporate a company in a particular jurisdiction, but either don’t have their own property located there or want to list a different location to their bricks and mortar office.

Bank accounts can then be opened in the names of incorporated companies, which can be useful for people wanting to move large amounts of money around the globe.

In Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, an incorporated company must have a locally registered office and agent, although the directors and owners can be located offshore.

A firm offering offshore company incorporation services, which is headquartered at Suite 305 at the Griffith Corporate Centre, is Wilfred International Services (WIS).

WIS managing director Merma DeFreitas said the majority of her clients used WIS as their registered office, but she denied knowing anything about alleged fraud committed by firms incorporated at the address.

“Wilfred Services Ltd is the registered agent ONLY and does NOT own or operate any of the entities that are incorporate[d] through our firm,” Mrs DeFreitas said in a written statement to the ABC.

“Therefore our firm is NOT linked to OR aware of any alleged fraud committed against any individuals.”

The ABC requested information about 10 firms that list this address — including HybridReserve — which have had complaints against them registered with ASIC or IDCare.

Mrs DeFreitas said she could not make any comment about these firms as WIS only responded to requests made by local financial regulatory authorities.

Why harbour in the Caribbean?

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is renowned worldwide for its soft sand beaches and tropical paradise image — which saw it feature as the backdrop to the blockbuster Disney film series Pirates of the Caribbean.

But it is famous for another reason in the global financial community.

The cluster of islands often referred to as SVG is known for its lack of financial transparency, to the extent that firms specialising in offshore businesses, such as, spruik it as having “one of the most restrictive confidentiality laws globally”.

SVG has issued public warnings that currency trading businesses registered in its jurisdiction are not regulated by the government, but its response to tackling the problem has so far been limited.

SVG has flagged changes to comply with European Union requirements for good governance, after it was threatened with blacklisting as an uncooperative tax jurisdiction.

But those reforms have focused so far on local taxation and not on “economic substance” reforms, which could require companies to have a physical presence in the country and local staff.

The ABC approached the country’s Financial Services Authority for information relating to businesses incorporated at the Griffith Corporate Centre, but it was not provided.

The Estonian connection

HybridReserve’s international connections are not limited to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

The terms and conditions say the website is owned by a company called Singlebell OU, which is incorporated in the eastern European Baltic state of Estonia, and that this firm is fully liable for claims, losses, costs or damages.

Estonia also allows people to incorporate companies from offshore, and this is often done with the assistance of law firms that can register multiple entities at any single address.

But Estonia is more open than St Vincent and the Grenadines, as it does make company records available.

Company documents from Estonia show Singlebell OU is registered to an address in the capital, Tallinn.

ASIC lists another 10 firms all appearing to offer brokerage services linked to this address on their companies you should not deal with — unlicensed companies list.

The Cypriot

Company records from Estonia show Singlebell OU was registered in March 2018, but the members of the management board changed the following month.

The management’s location shifted south to the Mediterranean.

The new solo management board member, Serge Michou Tchio Daloko, listed an address on the business registration in the Cyprus capital of Nicosia.

But Mr Daloko’s tenure on the board of Singlebell, and its status as a Cyprus-listed company, lasted little more than a year.

In July this year, Singlebell’s management board changed again, shifting across the Atlantic Ocean to Central America.

The new structure saw Mr Daloko replaced on the business registration by a man named Daniel Lopez Romero, who listed his address as a small two-storey building in a quiet residential street in Mexico City.

Exploiting the global network

ASIC executive director for assessment and intelligence Warren Day has spent years chasing criminals who seek to defraud Australians.

Mr Day said criminals registered official companies and bank accounts to look legitimate and move money across the globe to avoid detection.

“What we know is the minute those funds hit those accounts they move on to another account in another country, and then probably another country again, so that the trail goes cold,” he said.

“So it’s very hard for regulators and money tracking authorities such as AUSTRAC to identify where they’ve gone.”

He said these scams had become an “intractable problem” because of the mobility of the perpetrators and the way money could be quickly moved.

“Effectively trying to arrest someone, and let alone get a successful prosecution, the chances of that are low to non-existent,” Mr Day admitted.

“That’s cold, that’s really cold news to a victim, and the best thing we can say is, ‘you’ve been scammed’. But the good news is, by you telling us, you’ve prevented other people from losing a lot of money as well.

“I fully acknowledge that’s really cold comfort to the person who may have lost tens to, in some cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“But the reality is, these people have disappeared, they were never here in Australia, they’re not even in the countries they say they operate in.”

Australia seen as an easy target

The former head of the Australian Crime Commission, David Lacey, has seen first-hand the impact of investment fraud after he started IDCare, a charity that supports victims of identity fraud.

He has seen calls about investment fraud to his service quadruple in the past 12 months.

“Often for a lot of people they are life-changing events,” Mr Lacey said.

“They’re going to have to make decisions like, do they sell their house, are they applying for welfare, are they going to work to a later age — that’s the human toll a lot of these things have.”

Mr Lacey said Australia tended to be “a bit slow off the mark” promoting awareness of scams that crossed jurisdictions and may already have been reported by overseas financial regulatory authorities.

But he said there also needed to be a focus on deterrence.

“What we haven’t seen is perhaps the deterrence and the intervention that we would like to see, to send a message — a very clear message — to criminals offshore that Australia is no longer an easy target,” he said.

“At the moment, we think there’s a bit of a gap.”

Trying to track the scammers

Australian authorities were notified about HybridReserve, but the information seemingly failed to filter back to Jane’s bank — the Commonwealth Bank — or even ASIC.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said it received 25 reports about HybridReserve last year, and first notified ASIC on January 1 — but it only publicly listed HybridReserve as an entity you should not deal with on November 25.

This is despite details about HybridReserve being listed on the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) investor alerts portal on March 4, at least a month before Jane made her first major transfer.

Belgian financial authorities flagged it even earlier, in February.

Mr Day said ASIC was working with the ACCC to better streamline how they exchanged information.

He also said ASIC did not automatically list scams from IOSCO on its blacklist, but it was in the process of reviewing that policy.

“There are so many scams operating at any one time, we would flood our own blacklist,” Mr Day said.

“Our experience at ASIC has been that often the scams that are being perpetrated against a citizen in Belgium, or Spain, or Portugal, or the UK, don’t necessarily mean that they’re being perpetrated on people in Australia.

“That obviously now is changing, the behaviour is changing, and we are reviewing our practices in that space.”

No red flags were raised for Jane

HybridReserve instructed Jane to transfer her money into two Australian accounts set up in the names of shell companies.

Neither of these were registered with the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre’s (AUSTRAC) remittance register, which is required for firms whose business is transferring money overseas.

One transaction alone was more than $300,000, which Jane said should have raised red flags.

She even called the transfers “HybridReserve” on her Commonwealth Bank statement.

Jane was also told to send her money to a German account, registered to a firm based in Berlin.

German financial authorities flagged that firm two months after Jane made her first transfer, telling the company to desist from conducting money remittance and specifically naming HybridReserve.

The Commonwealth Bank said it were only notified by Jane some months after her last transfer that she had been the victim of a scam and wanted to try to recover the money.

“Unfortunately despite our efforts, we were unable to recall the funds concerned,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

The Australian Banking Association said in a statement banks worked closely with AUSTRAC to protect the Australian community from serious crime and terrorism.

“The financial intelligence and information provided by banks significantly contributes to Australia’s intelligence picture, helping AUSTRAC and our government partners in their work to detect and disrupt criminal activity — here and overseas,” the statement said.

Mr Lacey said while banks played a critical role, they should be the very last line of defence, and multinational companies which profited from selling ads and server space to criminals should also step up.

“For investment fraud to succeed for a criminal, there’s a lot of enabling activities that need to occur,” he said.

“We’re seeing a lot of very large multinational companies involved in … assisting in advertising investment fraud offerings, so they’re receiving money from criminals who are paying to advertise their investment frauds so that Australians can fall for these scams.

“If your organisation is enabling these things to occur … you need to be asking yourself the question whether or not your products and services are involved in that criminal enterprise.”

He said many clients had expressed an interest in a class action against such firms.

Jane’s money remains lost at sea

While she waits for justice, Jane’s money remains unaccounted for as it travels the world in the hands of the cyber pirates.

It has been more than three months since she contacted police, but they had not yet taken a formal statement.

She said she felt let down by the Australian law enforcement system and the banks.

“Three months later, they [have] failed to understand whose jurisdiction this whole case falls under,” she said.

“It’s just handballing and no action. In three months … they haven’t even taken a statement from me, or contacted any international authorities, or held anybody accountable.

“All financial institutions have to be responsible enough to keep their database up to date of all these scams, in order to protect their customers, their clients’ money.

“I think they let us down.”

*Name has been changed to protect the woman’s identity


  • Reporting: Rebecca Trigger
  • Video and graphics: Claire Borrello
  • Digital production: Liam Phillips and Rebecca Trigger
  • Editor: Liam Phillips











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#cyberfraud | #cybercriminals | Fraud scams continue to evolve — BBB tells you what to look out for  – The Advocate-Messenger

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans Grandparents have quite a soft spot in their hearts for their grandbabies, no matter the age of those “babies.” Maybe this is why the “grandparents scam” call seems to never go away.  Lately, people have been reporting a “resurgence” of the scam call, where someone calls […] View full post on

#cyberfraud | #cybercriminals | Fraud Decisioning Pulls Ahead In A Tight Race

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

The cat-and-mouse game between law enforcement and code-abusing felons is entering a new year, and a new phase. The world’s biggest social media platforms are cracking down like never before. The latest iterations of third-party solutions are potent hybrids of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) — paired with actual humans — to make the tougher calls. Companies are getting much better at fraud detection and prevention, partly in response to its rapid spread.

Digital fraudsters aren’t taking this lightly. One analysis of more than 1.3 billion transactions found that between July and September 2019, about 20 percent of accounts opened were the result of massive bot attacks, not humans. The robot army marched on eCommerce, financial services, gaming and travel sites mostly — a 70 percent rise in bot-driven registrations in Q3 2019 alone. Then there’s the mobile advertising situation. Brands will have spent roughly $77 billion on in-app ads when 2019 is over, and it’s estimated that phonies will dip out with $26.5 billion of that. Such is “bundle ID spoofing” that makes false apps look real to ad networks.

Then there’s the disturbing rise in loyalty program scams. A leading index of digital theft found that loyalty fraud exploded by 89 percent over 2018, opening a vast new front in the battle.

For their part, the anti-fraud community is hitting back hard. Facebook is going deep into device data like battery charge and GPS coordinates to determine if it’s you or someone else making that purchase. FinTechs and merchants have formed a posse of sorts, with validation solutions provider Service Objects recommending using application programming interfaces (APIs) to verify emails, while retailers such as Costco, Morrisons and Tesco tell customers not to fall for social media notifications asking for personally identifiable information. It’s all in the latest PYMNTS Fraud Decisioning Playbook.

Fighting Fakes With Fire

War against digital fraud uses live ammo or, in some cases, recently live. Fishing fraud (not to be confused with “phishing”) is big business, for example. According to the European Union’s Food Fraud Network, fraudsters love seafood so much that it has seriously interfered with supply chain integrity. What’s an example of fish fraud? Selling chemically treated tuna intended for canning as “fresh” and fit for restaurants is a $220 million a year scandal in the U.S. Into the fray steps IBM to partner with Raw Seafoods of Fall River, Massachusetts, on the blockchain-powered Food Trust mobile app. IBM calls it a “… permissioned, permanent and shared record of food system data.”

Fraudsters like travel even more than seafood, and travel booking site TripAdvisor has had it. The platform’s recent transparency report tells of how TripAdvisor anti-fraud detection stopped roughly 1 million false and misleading reviews from ever being made live. Each interactive makes the TripAdvisor AI smarter, guarding content integrity and preserving trust in the brand.

Meanwhile in China, the Alibaba Anti-Counterfeiting Alliance (AACA) used AI to scan for fake accounts, which in turn led Chinese authorities to shut down a reported 500 knockoff shops.

The common denominator in these far-flung cases is AI and machine learning engineered for rapid decisioning on millions of possible fraud attacks while simultaneously providing a delightfully seamless experience for your customers. Easier said than done.

But it is getting done, with innovative systems that leverage human and artificial intelligence.

Data-First to the Last

Data-first approaches are winning right now, where smart AI scans impossibly large datasets making split-second decisions, while organizing and visualizing the rest for human analysts to ingest — an incredibly important stage that is now getting the attention it deserves. The brave new world of the machines exposing fraudulent activity is surprisingly human after all.

It’s all a moving target. When the FBI bobs, cybercrooks weave, and so on. But with new capabilities like device recognition, augmented analytics and data-lake enrichment, plus the intuition of human analysts, the cats are winning their eternal fight with kleptomaniacal cyber-mice.


Latest Insights:

Our data and analytics team has developed a number of creative methodologies and frameworks that measure and benchmark the innovation that’s reshaping the payments and commerce ecosystem. The Key To Optimizing Merchant Services Study, a PYMNTS collaboration with Endava, examines merchants services providers’ (MSPs) current and future strategies for innovating value-added services. It is based on a survey of executives at more than 200 MSPs, including acquirers, independent sales organizations, payment gateways and payment facilitators.

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OneCoin crypto-scam lawyer found guilty of worldwide $400m fraud – Naked Security

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans A Florida lawyer who boasted of making “50 by 50” – as in, $50m by the age of 50 – is now facing a potential 50+ years behind bars for money laundering and lying to banks about funds flowing from OneCoin, a cryptocoin Ponzi scheme that […] View full post on

#cyberfraud | #cybercriminals | Payroll Fraud: A Growing BEC Threat to Businesses and Employees Alike

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans The FBI reports that direct deposit change requests increased more than815% in 1.5 years $8.3 million. This number represents the total reported losses due to payroll diversion schemes that were reported to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) between Jan. 1, 2018 and June 30, […] View full post on

#cyberfraud | #cybercriminals | Firms to combat cyberattacks and fraud in UAE banking sector

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

The event in progress in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

Business Bureau, Gulf Today

In a collective effort to promote a secure and stable financial landscape in the UAE, UAE Banks Federation (UBF), in partnership with SWIFT, the leading provider of secure financial messaging services, on Monday hosted the ‘SWIFT Customer Security Programme (CSP)’ conference. The CSP conference, which took place in Abu Dhabi, witnessed industry experts coming together to discuss how the widespread implementation of SWIFT CSP can support banks in combating all types of threat of cyberattacks by equipping them with necessary information and tools to mitigate electronic financial frauds.

SWIFT CSP is an initiative aimed at reinforcing the overall security of the global banking system by improving information sharing throughout the community, enhancing SWIFT-related tools for customers, sharing best practices for fraud detection and enhancing support by third party providers. Through the programme, SWIFT has also recently launched the Customer Security Control Framework (CSCF), which outlines a series of compulsory and advisory security controls for customers, which can help them strengthen and improve cyber security standards across the UAE.

Commenting on the occasion,  AbdulAziz Ghurair, Chairman of UBF, said: “On the back of accelerated technological innovation, the threat of cybercrime has significantly increased over the years, and the localised instances of payment fraud have reiterated the necessity for greater and more extensive partnerships to solve these issues. In line with our commitment to foster a safer and more protected banking environment across the UAE, we are delighted to collaborate with SWIFT to encourage the industry-wide adoption of the SWIFT CSP. Cybercriminals are becoming quickly smarter, and we are developing more sophisticated technologies that are becoming fundamental for banks to implement innovative platforms that promote improved transaction processes and provide relief and security for customers.”

Onur Ozan, Head of the Middle East, North Africa & Turkey, SWIFT, said: “With the Customer Security Programme, SWIFT is reinforcing the security of the entire global banking system. Worldwide, financial institutions are adopting SWIFT’s CSP as attackers prove increasingly determined and cunning. The CSP is delivering tangible results, supporting institutions in stepping up to this growing threat.”

The conference included several discussions focusing on SWIFT CSP and CSCF initiatives and the profound impact that such could have on finance and banking environment, emphasising the evolution of the payment landscape as a primary reason to adopt safer security measures.

Meanwhile, a meeting between members of the CEOs Advisory Council of the UAE Banks Federation (UBF) was held in Dubai to discuss recent developments, issues and advancements in the finance and banking sector in the UAE, with a particular focus on Emiratisation.

Directed by AbdulAziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of UBF, the meeting focused on a wide range of topics, including progress on existing UBF programs and initiatives, advances on Emiratisation efforts, findings and results from UBF’s latest Trust Index Survey, and the upcoming Middle East Banking Forum (MEBF) in November 2019.

Speaking on the occasion, AbdulAziz Al Ghurair said: “The astounding amount of change and transformation in the UAE banking industry means it is increasingly necessary for us to regularly hold these meetings, so that we may analyse key strengths, opportunities, and challenges in the sector. For this specific meeting we identified our priorities based on the current happenings in the financial and banking industry, as well as the overall larger economy. The recent announcement of the creation of more than 20,000 jobs for Emiratis in top-tier sectors, including banking, has driven us to focus on Emiratisation efforts within banks, and evaluate ways of working together to enhance the skills and expertise of UAE nationals. Additionally, we are confident that the banking sector will continue progressing and evolving in lieu of the highly positive results from the recently announce Trust Index Survey 2018.”

Distinctively positioned at the centre of the banking industry, which underpins the economy, UBF has a responsibility to support the UAE’s progressive vision to empower society at all levels. Whether it’s addressing the ever-changing challenges in the market, or developing the skills of UAE nationals to increase their recruitment to vital positions in the industry, UBF is continuously working towards a sustainable and diversified economy.

Current plans and initiatives in the banking sector focus on innovation and digitisation, and aim to provide easy access to multiple government and non-government services. From next month, banks will start adopting UAE Pass, a new mobile app which acts as a digital identity and digital signature solution, enabling individuals to conduct financial transactions, upload documents, validate documents and share data. The Emirates Digital Wallet, a tool aimed at promoting financial inclusion and driving a cashless society, is also being developed and will be launched soon.

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#cyberfraud | #cybercriminals | Visakhapatnam resident duped of Rs 3.6 lakh in online car sale fraud

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

On Wednesday, Visakhapatnam Cyber Crime Police arrested a man from Noida, on the charges of duping Rs 3.6 lakh in online car sale fraud.

According to sources, DVAN Raju, a resident of MVP Colony, came across a second-hand car on an online selling platform. Contacting the number given in the advertisement, Mr Raju was asked to meet somebody named Altaf from Gajuwaka, in order to take a look at the car.

After personally viewing the vehicle, Mr Raju transferred an amount of Rs 3.6 lakh to the accused. He was further informed that the car had gone for servicing and will soon be delivered. Thereafter, the accused switched off his mobile phone. Realizing that he was cheated, Mr Raju lodged a complaint with the Visakhapatnam Cyber Crime Police.

The cops had swung into action and interrogated Altaf. He revealed that a person named Sunny Kumar is the mastermind behind the online car sale fraud. Later on, Visakhapatnam CI, V Gopinath, tracked down the culprit’s location, based on the previous bank transaction. Arresting the con artist at Noida, on 9 October 2019, his mobile number and bank account were immediately seized. Furthermore, the police are carrying out investigations to unearth other probable scams conducted by Sunny Kumar.

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Michigan among #states most #vulnerable to #identity theft, fraud

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Michigan among #states most #vulnerable to #identity theft, fraud

Michigan ranks among the worst states for identity theft and fraud, a new analysis by a personal finance website shows.

The report by WalletHub put Michigan at No. 6, behind California, Rhode Island, Washington D.C., Florida and Georgia, and just ahead of Nevada, Texas, New York and Connecticut.

The Michigan attorney general’s office, which is charged with protecting consumers, suggested that identity theft and fraud is likely not as bad in the state as the report suggests.

“It could be underreported in other states,” Andrea Bitely, a spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office, said, challenging the report’s results. “The more people in a state, the more likely you are to be up at the top.”

“But,” she added, “the attorney general is not taking this lightly.”

October has been designated National Cyber Security Awareness Month by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

WalletHub, which is based in Washington D.C., compared all 50 states and the nation’s capital this week using a data that looked at identity theft, fraud and public policy aimed at keeping personal information out of the hands of thieves.

While Michigan ranked No. 6 overall, it was No. 8 specifically for identity theft, No. 12 for fraud, and No. 10 for public policy.

Michigan was No. 2 for the most identity theft complaints per capita, behind Washington D.C., and ahead of Florida, and No. 4 for the most fraud complaints per capita, behind, Washington D.C., Florida, and Georgia and ahead of Texas.

“Equifax has proven that absolutely no one is immune to cybercrime,” the report said. “In September 2017, the credit bureau announced that it had fallen victim to one of the biggest data breaches in recent history.”

Moreover, the WalletHub report said: “Even credit bureaus, government agencies, and financial institutions — the organizations consumers trust and expect to treat their confidential information with utmost care and security — cannot take enough precautions to prevent such attacks.”

Earlier this month, Equifax announced that 2.5 million more consumers were impacted by the breach than originally thought, bringing the total number of Michiganders with potentially compromised information to 4.6 million.

To raise awareness of identity theft, the state attorney general’s office is holding two free seminars:

  • From 12:05 to 12:50 p.m. Friday at 525 West Ottawa Street, Lansing, in the G. Mennen Williams Auditorium.
  • From 12:05 to 12:50 p.m. Wednesday at 3068 West Grand Blvd., Detroit, in Room L150.

Still, the WalletHub report warned:

“While the federal government and various businesses in recent years have taken more aggressive measures to build up our defenses, criminal strategies continue to evolve and grow in sophistication, keeping consumers vulnerable to identity theft and fraud.”

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MP police #cyber cell busts #Indo-Pak gang involved in #credit card fraud

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

MP police #cyber cell busts #Indo-Pak gang involved in #credit card fraud

Busting an international gang of credit card hackers, the cyber wing of Madhya Pradesh Police has arrested two persons on Monday who are accused of making large-scale online purchases by hacking information on credit cards. The two accused, both residents of Mumbai, are suspected to be associated with a gang of international cyber criminals, run by Pakistani citizen Shaikh Afzal aka Shozi.

Speaking after the arrest of credit card hackers, Superintendent of Police (SP) of State Cyber Cell of Indore unit, Jitendra Singh said that two Indian members of this gang, identified as Ramkumar Pillai and Ramprasad Nadar, were arrested following a complaint made by a bank official from Agar Malwa district.

“We have learnt that Shozi is a native of Lahore and got married only last year. Shozi visits different countries across the world. He was in Uzbekistan when Nadar and Pillai talked to him last time through Skype. We are trying to confirm these details,” the Superintendent of Police said.

The duo purchased hacked credit card details from some websites on the dark web and later paid for the information through Bitcoin. “If this payment is measured in terms of Indian currency, it costs only Rs 500 to Rs 800 to buy details of every credit card,” Singh added.

The gang members bought air tickets and travel packages of Bangkok, Thailand, Dubai, Hong Kong and Malaysia by using this information of hacked credit cards. They also shopped costly items online using the hacked details, said the official.

Singh said the accused also used to send half the amount, they spent by misusing the credit card details, to Shozi by secret online methods.

The accused also used to select the online e-commerce website, where they do not need a one-time password (OTP) to make a purchase. So, the holders would get the information about the misuse of credit cards only after the payment.

Singh said initial investigation revealed that both the accused have made purchases of about Rs 20 lakh by misusing the details of 17 credit cards so far. However, this figure may go up after further investigation.

He said that the police have been searching for a resident of Jabalpur, who is also learnt to be connected with this gang.


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Inside Mastercard’s Journey To Predicting Card Fraud

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Fighting payments fraud can be a daunting battle – especially if the battle is waged with reactions. That is, once you’re under siege, protecting data can be a scramble. Or as hockey great Wayne Gretzky once said, it’s important to skate to where the puck is going to be, and not…

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