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  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 22, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , money laundering, package mule scam, , , ,   

    FBI warns of scam that could land victims in jail 

    FBI warns of scam that could land victims in jail

    By Greg Collier

    Both the FBI and the Better Business Bureau have issued a warning about a work from home scam that could have devastating consequences for its victims. They’re referring to the scam that’s called the repackaging or reshipping scam. It also goes by the name of the package mule scam.

    Scammers will advertise a work from home position as a package inspector. Applicants will be asked to receive deliveries at their place of residence. These inspectors will be asked to make sure the item they received isn’t damaged before sending the item to a third-party. Typically, the items are purchased using stolen credit card information. By the time anyone realizes the purchase has been made, the item has been shipped overseas by the unwitting package inspector. Calling this a scam almost downplays the seriousness of the matter. The reshipping scam is actually part of a larger money laundering operation.

    The reshipping scam can have several harmful outcomes for the package inspector. For example, the supposed company could pay the inspectors with a fraudulent check. The inspectors could also be asked to use that check to pay for business equipment needed for the job with the money from the fraudulent check. This would leave the inspector with a large debt to their bank they might not be able to pay. However, the most serious outcome is the one where the victim is arrested without knowing they were being scammed. If an inspector knowingly falsifies shipping documents under the instruction of the scammers to get around US customs, they could face jail time.

    The best way to protect yourself from a scam like this is with the knowledge that work from home package inspector is not a real job. Often, these scammers will pose as large companies like Amazon, Walmart, and Target. They’ll give the phony positions names like ‘shipping coordinator’, ‘warehouse distribution coordinator’, or ‘local hub inspector’. The FBI says corporations like this should be able to do any kind of item inspection on their own.

    If you think you may be a victim in a reshipping scam, there are steps you can take. If you’ve already received items, don’t mail them. Instead, contact the USPS Postal Inspectors at 1-877-876-2455.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on February 9, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: money laundering, , , ,   

    FBI warns about Valentine romance scams 

    FBI warns about Valentine romance scams

    With Valentine’s Day approaching, some are engaged in a mad rush to find a companion for the romantic holiday. Some will take to dating sites, apps, or social media in order to find a special someone to spend February 14th with, even if it’s a virtual meeting due to current social distancing guidelines. However, this is when romance scams are at their worst.

    A romance scam is when a victim meets someone online who isn’t who they say they are. The scammers will often use the photo of someone they found online, often a member of the military but not always. The scammer will lead the victim to believe that they are in some kind of romantic relationship, but the scammer will keep making excuses as to why they can’t meet in public. Usually, the scammer will say they’re either deployed overseas or they’re working out of the country. Before too long, the scammer will start asking the victim for money. In some cases the money will be or gifts, or the scammer will claim they need the money for some kind of emergency. The scammers will keep asking for money until the victim realizes they’re being scammed. The scam has been known to find victims in both men and women.

    Romance scams have become such a problem that the FBI has issued a warning for this Valentine’s Day, except this year’s scam comes with a twist. Instead of asking for money, scammers are wanting victims to use their own bank account to send money. The scammers are asking their victims for their bank account information, so they can send them money and then the victim can send the money to a third party. According to the FBI, this is essentially a money laundering scheme where the romance scam victim is an unwitting middleman. The money being laundered is said to be the money stolen in the many unemployment scams that are currently plaguing the country. Even the victims in these cases, known as money mules, could potentially face prosecution.

    Now, you may think that you’re not susceptible to romance scams, and you’re probably right. But the chances are that you might know someone who is. If you feel like someone you know might be the victim of a romance scam, please let them know before it’s too late.

     
  • Geebo 8:04 am on July 3, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , money laundering,   

    How the gift card scam actually works 

    How the gift card scam actually works

    We often discuss how so many scams often involve gift cards. They’ve become so synonymous with scams that we’ve started referring to gift cards as the currency of scammers. Basically, when someone online or over the phone asks you to make payment in gift cards, it’s almost guaranteed that you’re talking to a scammer. The reason scammers try to get payment in gift cards is that the cards can be almost immediately drained of their value while being virtually untraceable.

    Scammers don’t even need the physical card itself. Instead, scammers will get their victims to provide the code number off of the back of the card. What happens from there to get the value off of the card works almost like a heist movie.

    Recently, a woman was arrested in Central California for allegedly being part of a scam ring that dealt with gift cards. She was referred to as a runner, meaning while she didn’t run the scam but she was a part of it.

    According to reports, she would receive the card numbers from Walmart gift cards. Using the card numbers she would use her phone to create a UPC code. She would then use the UPC code at Walmart to buy gift cards from online retailers like the Apple Store, Google Play, and Steam. She would then take pictures of the numbers of the newly purchased gift cards and send them to other people involved in the scam who then cash in those cards. In this instance alone, the woman was said to be in possession of hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraudulently obtained gift cards.

    While we may refer to it as the gift card scam for the sake of consumers, it has a more serious name when it comes to the law, money laundering. Scamming operations like this can rake in millions of dollars in a short time frame before disappearing into thin air.

    Again, if you receive a call, text message, or email and someone is pressuring you into making some kind of payment with gift cards, they’re more than likely trying to scam you.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , money laundering, , terrorism   

    The FTC doesn’t really think you’re a terrorist 

    The FTC doesn't really think you're a terrorist

    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is one of the government organizations that try to protect consumers from scams. So, it’s kind of ironic that the scammers are posing as the FTC to commit one of the more disturbing scams to date. It’s a variation of the law enforcement impersonation scam. In that scam, the scammers will call you and claim to be calling from local or federal law enforcement. They’ll then tell you that they’ve found suspicious criminal activity has been connected to your financial accounts but you can pay money to make the charges go away. However, this new scam takes it one step further to scare the victim into paying.

    The FTC is warning the public that some people have received letters on official-looking FTC letterhead. The letters say that your financial account information has been linked to terrorist activity and money laundering. The letter will then be followed up with a phone call with scammers asking for money to resolve the phony issue. While the FTC hasn’t commented on this part of the scam, it’s more than likely that the scammers will then instruct the victims to purchase various gift cards to make the ‘payment’. As we have said in the past, gift cards have become the currency of scammers due to the fact that gift cards are almost always untraceable once the money is spent.

    The FTC says that they will only send out letters if someone writes them first. However, they will never send a threatening letter to the public. The FTC would like to remind the public that no government agency will ever ask for payment by gift card, wire transfer, or cryptocurrency. Anyone who asks for that form of payment is more than likely a scammer. If you receive one of these letters, you’re asked to contact the FTC at 1-877-FTC-HELP or their website.

     
  • Geebo 9:04 am on July 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , money laundering   

    New indictment against Backpage founders show how involved they were in trafficking 

    New indictment against Backpage founders show how involved they were in trafficking

    Backpage founders Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey

    This past Wednesday, a new federal indictment against Backpage and its founders was filed. In this new indictment, the charges of money laundering and facilitating human trafficking remain the same but bolsters the accusations with new evidence. While it was no secret that Backpage was allegedly a willing participant in the sex trade, this new indictment is said to show the lengths that Backpage’s operators would go to in order to make money at the expense of those trafficked.

    AZ Central has a very in-depth article that goes into great detail about the new indictment. What really got to me was how much Backpage was allegedly willing to disregard obvious signs of child sex trafficking. According to the indictment, Backpage once hired an internet safety firm who were said to have found out that ads that contained the phrase “new in town” meant an underage victim was being shuttled from town to town where the victims wouldn’t know anyone and couldn’t get any help. As you might expect, Backpage was said to have ignored this and other warnings.

    Previously, I’ve stated that I don’t think Backpage founders Jim Larkin and Michael Lacey would ever see the inside of a cell even if they were convicted. However, my mind has changed a little on that after reading more about their alleged money laundering. The indictment alleges that Lacey transferred $16.5 million to an overseas bank in an effort to conceal funds. If there’s one thing the Federal Government never wants to miss out on, it’s taxable income no matter how it was made. It was how the feds got Al Capone after all. So maybe there is some hope for justice after all.

     
  • Geebo 9:04 am on May 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , money laundering, mugshots.com   

    Owners of exploitative website arrested 

    Owners of exploitative website arrested

    If you’ve ever had the unfortunate experience of being arrested, you know how much of a harrowing experience it can be. Between prohibitive bail costs and court fees, worrying about your family, and how the arrest might affect the rest of your life, an arrest can be very devastating. Now imagine you’ve been arrested, but the charges are later dropped. The problem with that is your mugshot is still out there and a matter of public record. Sadly, there are websites out there looking to take advantage of that whether or not you’re innocent or not.

    One of those websites is Mugshots.com. The website would scour public databases looking for mugshots then would post them on their site. If you wanted to have the mugshot removed Mugshots.com would ask you for a nominal fee to have the mugshot remove, allegedly exploiting an already financially charged situation. If this sounds a lot like extortion to you the California Attorney General agrees, as the alleged owners of the site have been arrested and charged with various crimes from extortion to money laundering.

    Not everyone who’s been arrested deserves our scorn. More people are probably arrested for minor incidents such as minor traffic offenses and the like than major crimes. A lot of these people are just trying to get through their lives to put food on their family’s table and having their mugshot online like that could prevent them from doing so. So it’s only fitting that these profiteers of misfortune are about to have their mugshots plastered across the internet.

     
  • Geebo 9:48 am on May 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , money laundering   

    Couple falls for Bitcoin laundering scam 

    Couple falls for Bitcoin laundering scam

    An anonymous couple in Colorado have had their identities stolen and assets seized after they applied to what they thought was a work at home job. The couple started working for a company called Golden Potatoes that was said to be headquartered in Portland, Oregon. The couple was told to open bank accounts so they could receive payments from supposed customers who were buying potatoes from the company. The couple would deposit the payments in the new bank accounts then purchase Bitcoin to send to their bosses. The couple was told they could keep 5% of all deposits. This wasn’t your typical wire fraud or fake check scam either as the couple were making actual money from the transactions.

    It all fell apart when someone was using their identity to allegedly scam people on craigslist. You just knew craigslist had to be involved somewhere didn’t you? Anyway, the scammers were using the couple’s identities to place ads on craigslist claiming to be selling high-end items like cars and ATVs. That’s when the banks got involved believing the couple may have been committing fraud and shut down the accounts. As you can probably expect, not only did Golden Potatoes not exist as a legitimate company, but they also don’t even have a physical location at their purported Portland address. It was all just a scheme to allegedly launder money into Bitcoin.

    Many work at home positions have been the work of scammers for years even before the internet. Not to beat a dead horse, but if it seems to be too good to be true it usually is. Any type of job where your asked to open a separate bank account or deposit money into your own account is not legitimate. No legitimate company would ask employees to do such things unless they were trying to hide money illegally. If you were to fall for one of these scams, you could not only be held liable for any losses your bank my incur but you could potentially be looking at criminal charges while the scammers get away with their now laundered money.

     
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