Identity Theft

I wanted to share an article I found about requiring companies to defend against Identity Theft.
Here is a quote from the article

The government says that businesses have the responsibility of making sure thieves don’t use stolen information to buy goods or open phony accounts. And to that end, the Federal Trade Commission wants businesses that might be targets of identity thieves to develop written plans to spot “red flags” that fraud could be involved and prevent it.

Starting June 1, all businesses that extend credit to customers will have to develop plans to try to prevent identity theft.

“Once the information is in the hands of identity thieves, there’s not much more the consumer can do,” said Naomi Lefkovitz, senior attorney for the FTC, which will oversee enforcement of the rule as it applies to many — though not all — businesses. “Now it’s in the hands of the businesses.”

To read the entire article, go to

U.S. is requiring companies to defend against identity theft – latimes.com

Lottery Scam Email

We wish to inform you that your email address won 550,000.00 Euros in an
International Award Prize promotion on May 30, 2010 .For claim of award
prize contact

Mr. Luis Gonzales
Tel: +34-672-520-303
Email: llibertysl@aol.com

Batch Nr: 498 Ticket Nr: 898 Ref Nr: BD-840

All winnings must be claimed not later than June 14, 2010, thereafter unclaimed
funds would be included in the next stake.

Yours Sincerely,
Mrs. Anissa Morales.

Another Sample Letter

STANDARD CHARTERED BANK OF GHANA,
ACCRA GHANA.
Hello Sir/Madam,
My name is Mr Aziz Mostaf  I am the regional manager of Standard Chartered Bank of Ghana Tarkwa branch in the western region of Ghana . I came to know you in my Private Search for a reliable and reputable person to handle this confidential transaction. I write you this proposal in good faith.
I have packaged a financial transaction that will benefit you and me, as the regional manager of the Standard Chartered Bank it is my duty to send in a financial report to my head office in the capital city Accra at the end of each business year. On the course of 2009 business report, I discovered that my branch in which I am the manager made Six million eigth hundred and fifty thousand united state dollars ($6,850,000.00)which my head office are not aware of and will never be aware of. I have placed this funds on what we call escrow call account with no beneficiary. As an officer of this bank I cannot be directly connected  to this money, so my aim of contacting you is to assist me receive this money in your bank account and get 30% of the total funds as commission.
There are practically no risks involved, it will be a bank-to-bank transfer and all I need from you is to stand and claim as the original depositor of these funds as who made the deposit with my branch so that my head office can order the transfer to your designated bank account. If you accept this offer to work with me, and you find this proposal Suitable for you do furnish me with the following information.
Full
Name………………………………………………………………………….
Contact
Address……………………………………………………………………….
Private Telephone
Number………………………………………………………………………..
Age…………………………………………………………………………..
Occupation and
Position………………………………………………………………………
I will appreciate it very much, If this proposal is acceptable by you, do not make undue advantage of the trust I have bestowed on you, and I assure you we can achieve it successfully.
Thank you in advance and May God bless you and your family. you may reach me on my email
I WILL APPRECIATE YOUR URGENT AND KIND RESPONSE ASAP,
Mr Aziz Mostaf

STANDARD CHARTERED BANK OF GHANA,ACCRA GHANA.
Hello Sir/Madam,
My name is Mr Aziz Mostaf  I am the regional manager of Standard Chartered Bank of Ghana Tarkwa branch in the western region of Ghana . I came to know you in my Private Search for a reliable and reputable person to handle this confidential transaction. I write you this proposal in good faith.
I have packaged a financial transaction that will benefit you and me, as the regional manager of the Standard Chartered Bank it is my duty to send in a financial report to my head office in the capital city Accra at the end of each business year. On the course of 2009 business report, I discovered that my branch in which I am the manager made Six million eigth hundred and fifty thousand united state dollars ($6,850,000.00)which my head office are not aware of and will never be aware of. I have placed this funds on what we call escrow call account with no beneficiary. As an officer of this bank I cannot be directly connected  to this money, so my aim of contacting you is to assist me receive this money in your bank account and get 30% of the total funds as commission.
There are practically no risks involved, it will be a bank-to-bank transfer and all I need from you is to stand and claim as the original depositor of these funds as who made the deposit with my branch so that my head office can order the transfer to your designated bank account. If you accept this offer to work with me, and you find this proposal Suitable for you do furnish me with the following information.
FullName………………………………………………………………………….ContactAddress……………………………………………………………………….Private TelephoneNumber………………………………………………………………………..
Age…………………………………………………………………………..Occupation andPosition………………………………………………………………………I will appreciate it very much, If this proposal is acceptable by you, do not make undue advantage of the trust I have bestowed on you, and I assure you we can achieve it successfully.
Thank you in advance and May God bless you and your family. you may reach me on my email
I WILL APPRECIATE YOUR URGENT AND KIND RESPONSE ASAP,
Mr Aziz Mostaf

Fine Print

An article I just read talks about how many people do not read the fine print in contracts that they sign. I have to admit, I have been guilty of this myself. But this contract takes things to a whole new level. Here is a portion of the article.

A computer game retailer revealed that it legally owns the souls of thousands of online shoppers, thanks to a clause in the terms and conditions agreed to by online shoppers.

The retailer, British firm GameStation, added the “immortal soul clause” to the contract signed before making any online purchases earlier this month. It states that customers grant the company the right to claim their soul.

“By placing an order via this Web site on the first day of the fourth month of the year 2010 Anno Domini, you agree to grant Us a non transferable option to claim, for now and for ever more, your immortal soul. Should We wish to exercise this option, you agree to surrender your immortal soul, and any claim you may have on it, within 5 (five) working days of receiving written notification from gamesation.co.uk or one of its duly authorised minions.”

GameStation’s form also points out that “we reserve the right to serve such notice in 6 (six) foot high letters of fire, however we can accept no liability for any loss or damage caused by such an act. If you a) do not believe you have an immortal soul, b) have already given it to another party, or c) do not wish to grant Us such a license, please click the link below to nullify this sub-clause and proceed with your transaction.”

The terms of service were updated on April Fool’s Day as a gag, but the retailer did so to make a very real point: No one reads the online terms and conditions of shopping, and companies are free to insert whatever language they want into the documents.

You can read the entire article here.

More scam emails

From Miss Rose Bayo.
Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire
West Africa.

Dearest One,

I am the only Daughter of my late parents Mr.and Mrs. James .D. Bayo. My father was a highly reputable business magnate who operated in the capital of Ivory coast during his days. It is sad to say that he passed away mysteriously in France during one of his business trips abroad on the 12th June 2006. Though his sudden death was linked or rather suspected to have been masterminded by an uncle of his who travelled with him at
that time. But God knows the truth! My mother died when I was just 6yrs old, and since then my father took me so special.

Before his death on June 2006, he called me and informed me that he has the sum of Four Million, Six Hundred thousand United State Dollars.(USD$4,600,000.00)left in fixed deposit account in one of the leading banks in Africa. He further told me that he deposited the money in my name, and also gave me all the necessary legal documents to this fund with the bank.

I am just 18 years old and a university undergraduate and really don’t know what to do. Now I want an account overseas where I can transfer this funds and after the transaction I will come and reside permanently in your country until such a time that it will be convenient for me to return back home if I so desire. This is because I have suffered a lot of set backs as a result of incessant political crisis here in Ivory coast. The death of my father actually brought sorrow to my life. I also want to invest the fund under your care because I am ignorant of business world.

I am in a sincere desire of your humble assistance in this regards. Your suggestions and ideas will be highly regarded. Now permit me to ask these few questions:

1. Can you honestly help me from your heart?
2. Can I completely trust you?
3. What percentage of the total amount in question will be good for you after the money is in your account?

Please, consider this and get back to me as soon as possible. Immedaitely I confirm your willingness, I will send to you the Detail and also inform you more details involved in this matter.
Looking forward to read from you soon.

Best regards,

Miss Rose Bayo.

Grandparent Scams

The Consumer Law and Policy Blog posted this information about Grandparent Scams.

“It’s Me Fraud”
by Jeff Sovern

Those of us at the University of Houston Teaching Consumer Law Conference last week were treated to a report on a type of fraud I personally had never heard of and that is so new, it goes under several names, including it’s me fraud and grandparent fraud. Basically, someone calls a grandparent (or sometimes a parent) claiming to be his or her grandchild facing an emergency and in need of funds.

We at Scam Victims United have been reporting on this scam for years now, calling it the Grandparent Scam. The biggest target are seniors, and the scammers use the fact that the Grandparent will want to help out their grandchild no matter what the cost.

What we recommend is that the Grandparents set up a code word with thier grandchildren, so that if the grandchild really DOES need their help and they call the Grandparent can say “What is the code word?” and if the person on the other end of the phone does not know the code word then they will know it is a scam. Don’t make the code word anything that could be found on the grandchild’s social networking site info, like their high school or middle name.

Another thing that Grandparents can do if they get one of these calls and have NOT set up a code word with their grandchild is to think of a name that no one in your family has, in my case I would use something like Jenny, and then ask the “grandchild” that calls them “Is your sister Jenny with you too?” If the caller says anything like “Yes, Jenny is here.” or “No, Jenny is at home.” then the Grandparent would know it is a scam since there is no “Jenny”.

Shawn Mosch
Co-Founder of ScamVictimsUnited.com
There is strength in numbers!

Scams and a connection to terrorism

I have thought for a LONG time that there was a connection between scams and terrorists, but because I did not want to be seen as a conspiracy theory person I did not talk about it a lot. Well, now there is an FBI press release that supports that theory.

Al Qaeda Supporter Pleads Guilty to Supporting Terrorist Organization
Kansas City Man Also Admits to Bank Fraud, Overseas Money Laundering

KANSAS CITY, MO—Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a Kansas City, Mo., man pleaded guilty in federal court today to his role in a conspiracy to provide material support to the terrorist organization al Qaeda. He also pleaded guilty to bank fraud and money laundering.

“National security is the highest priority of the Department of Justice,” Phillips said. “I applaud the diligent work of our law enforcement partners from local, state and federal agencies that serve on the Heart of America Joint Terrorism Task Force. These agencies have made significant investments of manpower and resources to the task force, and I appreciate their commitment to defeating terrorism. Much of their work is done behind the scenes, investigating and gathering information, but they play a crucial role in preventing terrorist activities.”

Khalid Ouazzani, 32, of Kansas City, waived his right to a grand jury and pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs to a federal information that charges him with conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization. Ouazzani also pleaded guilty to charges contained in an indictment that was returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Kansas City on Feb. 3, 2010.

Ouazzani, a native of Morocco and a naturalized citizen of the United States, swore an oath of allegiance to al Qaeda in June 2008. Ouazzani admitted that, from August 2007 to February 2010, he participated in a conspiracy to provide material support or resources to al Qaeda.

Ouazzani also admitted that he personally provided more than $23,000 to al Qaeda and performed other tasks at the request of and for the benefit of al Qaeda. Ouazzani had conversations with others about various ways to support al Qaeda, including plans for them to fight in Afghanistan, Iraq, or Somalia.

“Citizens here in the heartland should be alert to suspicious activity and never hesitate to report their concerns to law enforcement. This case serves as a reminder that terrorist-related activities can occur anywhere,” said Special Agent in Charge Brian A. Truchon of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Kansas City field office.

Ouazzani agreed to contribute $6,500 to al Qaeda in August 2007. A co-conspirator, who is not identified in court documents, made that payment on Ouazzani’s behalf. Ouazzani repaid the co-conspirator in November 2007 through a wire transfer to the co-conspirator’s bank account in the United Arab Emirates. Those funds came from Ouazzani’s sale of his business, Hafssa LLC, doing business as Truman Used Auto Parts, a retail operation that bought and sold used auto parts and used motor vehicles.

In June or July 2008, Ouazzani also agreed to pay al Qaeda $17,000, which represented his profit from the sale of an apartment in the United Arab Emirates that was owned by Ouazzani and a co-conspirator (who is not identified in court documents).

Bank Fraud Scheme

Ouazzani obtained a $175,000 line of credit commercial loan from Union Bank in April 2007 for Hafssa LLC (Truman Used Auto Parts). Under the terms of the loan, the funds were to be used as working capital for his business. Ouazzani admitted that he submitted false financial information about himself and the company to obtain the loan, and used substantial amounts of the loan proceeds for various personal purposes.

Ouazzani made only approximately $13,000 in payments on this loan. In September 2008 Union Bank wrote off the loan (then in the amount of $174,028) as uncollectible. On Feb. 11, 2009, Union Bank obtained a civil default judgment against Ouazzani and Hafssa LLC in the amount of $177,001.

Money Laundering

Ouazzani admitted that he used part of the proceeds of the Union Bank loan to purchase an apartment in the United Arab Emirates with a co-conspirator.

On May 23, 2007, Ouazzani caused a wire transfer of $112,830 to be sent to a bank account in the United Arab Emirates. The funds for this wire transfer included funds obtained from the $175,000 Union Bank loan and involved a series of transactions designed to make it more difficult to trace the funds.

Ouazzani used the wire-transferred funds to purchase an apartment in the United Arab Emirates, which he later sold for a profit of approximately $17,000. Ouazzani requested a co-conspirator to pay this $17,000 to al Qaeda.

“The criminal justice system is a valuable tool for disrupting terrorist plots and bringing terrorists to justice,” Phillips said. “We must use every means—criminal prosecutions as well as intelligence and military operations—to protect the American people. Federal prosecutions not only result in long prison sentences, but yield valuable intelligence that can be used in the fight against al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.”

Under federal statutes, Ouazzani is subject to a sentence of up to 65 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $1 million and an order of restitution. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys J. Daniel Stewart, David M. Ketchmark and Brian P. Casey and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Menzel of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri, with assistance from attorneys at the Justice Department’s National Security Division, including the Counterterrorism Section. It was investigated by the Heart of America Joint Terrorism Task Force, led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with the assistance of the Missouri Department of Social Services – Division of Legal Services Investigation Section.

Heart of America Joint Terrorism Task Force
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms
Defense Criminal Investigative Service
Federal Air Marshals Service
IRS-Criminal Investigation
Kansas City, Kan., Police Department
Kansas City, Mo., Police Department
Kansas Highway Patrol
Missouri State Highway Patrol
Overland Park, Kan., Police Department
U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Western District of Missouri and the District of Kansas
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
U.S. Marshals Service
U.S. Postal Inspection Service
U.S. Secret Service