Nigerian man attempts bombing

This week I blogged about the Nigerian man who attempted to blow up an airplane on Christmas. http://scamvictimsunited.blogspot.com/2009/12/nigerian-national-charged-with.html

This event brings up something that I have not really talked about for 6 years, because I did not want people to think that I was trying to start some conspiracy theory . . . where is all of the money from these internet scams going, and could some of them be going to fund terrorism? I have read that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian man who attempted this bombing, is the son of a rich Nigerian banker, so he comes from a wealthy family and that is most likely how he had the money to fund his bombing attempt . . . but he also said that there were other like him, training to do the same thing that he did . . . how are those “others” getting the money to fund their training and the attempts that they may make? Every person that Umar knows that is training to learn to bomb the United States cannot be from a wealthy family . . . they have to be getting their funds from someplace. Isn’t it possible that the Internet Scam that we talk about on ScamVictimsUnited.com and this blog could be the resource for the money to fund these attacks? (We KNOW it is not going to pay for further education of the scammers on proper English, otherwise their emails would have gotten better by now.)

This is why I have felt for years that one of the ways that we could fight terrorism is to change the way we handle counterfeit cashier’s checks. If we make it harder for them to get the money to fund these attacks, then we will decrease the number of them that they can fund and go forward with.

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

Find us on Twitter, Facebook and more through
http://www.retaggr.com/page/ShawnMosch

Support Scam Victims United by shopping at
http://shopittous.blogspot.com/

Another scam victim arrested

A while back I told you about a scam victim who was arrested. Stories like these always frustrate me because as a former scam victim I know the hurt and pain that you go through when you find out that you have been scammed, but these victims have that feeling plus more because they now have been arrested. They do not just face the financial recovery process that people like myself went through, but they also have to hire a lawyer to prove that they are the victim in the case and not the criminal. What happened to innocent until proven guilty?

This victim was also responding to a Secret Shopper ad.

Here is the story of this latest scam victim in her own words . . .

I responded with all the requested information the next day. Shortly after I responded to this email I was asked by a local company to come into their office for an interview. I did and became very hopeful that I would get the job. I totally forgot about even responding to the Mystery Shopper email and wasn’t really expecting to hear anything from them. I few days later I received 2 Money Gram money orders @ $998.00 each sent to me via Fed Ex overnight mail. No other documents were inside. I couldn’t figure out where these came from and was not even thinking about that one email response I sent for the Mystery Shopper position. I had read an email in my AOL inbox a week or two before that I was a part of a class action lawsuit against AOL for some “footer” issue. I assumed these checks may have been a result of the class action suit since I had 2 screen names with AOL. I attempted to call Money Gram and went online and could not get any information regarding the tracking numbers on them. NO ONE EVER EVEN MENTIONED POSSIBLE FRAUD. When I went to the Money Gram station at the local Lucky store (in the town I have lived for 34 years and am now raising my 13 year old son) to cash these money orders I was arrested immediately. I was frisked, my car searched my purse emptied all in front of the Lucky store here in the quaint little community where most people know everyone. The 3 responding officers were absolutely sure that I was some check fraud “ring leader!” They would ask me where the money orders came from, I would answer telling them that they were sent via UPS next day air but I was unsure by who. Then I was told to shut up and stop lying. One officer told me “you and I both know no one sent these to you. You made these yourself” I was then “escorted” to Alameda County Jail where I remained for the next 10 hours until my $10,000.00 bail bond (for check fraud) was processed.

Once released from jail I made it my mission to catch this dirty rotten scum bag who was responsible for what I had been through. So…..I responded to an email that he had sent to me (which I didn’t even open until about 2 days after I was released from jail) indicating that he sent the package and instructions and he needs me to follow through with this task immediately (of sending his payment via Western Union) I played along with this guy to try to obtain as much information as I could. I advised him that the money orders were cashed and to please call me as I was a bit confused about something regarding his instructions. He called, about every other minute from that moment through the next 4 days. Once even forgetting to *67 therefore I was able to obtain his NIGERIAN telephone number. He even went so far as to send me text messages!!! He thought I had his money and he wanted it. I recorded our phone conversation on my MAC I MOVIE. I tracked down the gentleman whose email address they had hacked and were using to send the initial correspondence. He lived in S. Africa and was the administrator of a fishing forum. I explained to him my situation and advised him to contact the FBI before they contacted him as I had already given them his email information on my FBI report of this incident. He was grateful that I had taken so much of my time to track him down and explain this situation to him so that he could cancel his email address they were using before they had sent any further damaging money orders out to innocent people. I thought that since the local police didn’t really care about catching these losers that I would!!

I have since retained a very good lawyer. We have met with the DA who still is unsure whether he plans to file charges against me or not. I appeared in court last week and at that time there were no charges filed yet BUT THE CASE WAS NOT DROPPED EITHER!!! I go back to court November 5th.

Ever since this happened I cannot STOP talking about it. It helps for me to get past the anger. Initially, I was consumed by researching scammers, trying to catch this guy and others like him. Then I realized that law enforcement officials are inexperienced and unequipped to handle situations like mine. They are not interested in catching the people responsible and therefore I needed to direct my ager somewhere else and for that reason, I would love to tell my story in hopes to make people aware of these scammers.

Know your codes

Here is one way to know if a person is trying to pull a fast one on your . . . check and see if their area code matches up with where they say they live. If they are calling from a landline, and they tell you that they are in a certain state, just check here to see if their phone number matches up with where they say they are.

If you go to http://www.whitepages.com/area-codes they make it really easy for you. There is search box where you can enter an area code, and they will tell you what city and time zone that area code is connected to. That would be another good way to check on someone . . . if you have their phone number, ask them what time zone they are in, and then check their answer with that search.

You can also enter a city or a state, and it will search and tell you all of the area codes that would be found in that area.

For international calls, you can go to http://www.countrycallingcodes.com/ and enter the country that you want to call and it will tell you the numbers you would need to dial.

Since many of the internet scams today come out of Nigeria, look for a phone number with a Country Code of +234 http://www.countrycallingcodes.com/country.php?country=Nigeria

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

Find us on Twitter, Facebook and more through
http://www.retaggr.com/page/ShawnMosch

Support Scam Victims United by shopping at
http://shopittous.blogspot.com/

Seven years

Seven years ago this month my husband and I became victims of a counterfeit cashier’s check scam while selling his 1961 Buick Special online. So much has happened in those seven years.

We found that we were not alone, and that this was happening to others.
We started our website Scam Victims United to share our story with others.
We spoke out in the news about this issue.
We have worked with Consumer Protection Agencies to help spread the word about scams.
In the first two years of our site being operational, we helped to stop over 2 million dollars from going into the hands of scammers.

We have come a long way, but we still have so far to go. The Consumer Federation of America released the results of a survey in May 2009 which relates directly to information we at Scam Victims United work to educate people about. They found that fifty-nine percent of the respondents incorrectly believe that when you deposit a check or money order, your bank confirms that it is good before allowing you to withdraw the money. The number goes up to 70 percent among young adults age 18-24, and 71 percent of people with incomes under $25,000 and who did not complete high school. More than 40 percent of those surveyed do not know that they are liable if the checks or money orders they deposit or cash are counterfeit. Fifty-two percent age 18-24 and half of Hispanics incorrectly said the person who gave you the check must pay the bank back. This is precisely the type of information that we at Scam Victims United work to educate people about.

As you can see by the results of this survey, there is a great need for education in the area of banking terminology and the check clearing process. One of the major reasons that counterfeit cashier’s checkscams work so well is that when a bank customer hears the terms “the check is clear” or that it will be “verified in 24 hours” it gives them a false sense of security that the check is legitimate and that they can use the money with no repercussions.

And that is our mission.

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

Find us on Twitter, Facebook and more through
http://www.retaggr.com/page/ShawnMosch

Reporting Scams

“How do I report that I have been a victim of an online scam?” is a question I hear on a regular basis, either on our message board, through emails or left as comments on other sites. There are plenty of places that you can report that you have been a victim of an online scam. The main place that I would recommend would be the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) which is a combined effort by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA).   As you can see, you get the resources of three larger agencies all from one place, and to me, that much better than reporting with multiple agencies individually.   To file a complaint with the IC3, go to http://www.ic3.gov/complaint/default.aspx

The following information is right from the IC3 site Frequently Asked Questions section . . .

Q: How are complaints resolved?

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) thoroughly reviews and evaluates each complaint so that we may refer it to the appropriate federal, state, local, or international law enforcement or regulatory agency. Every complaint that is referred is sent to one or more law enforcement or regulatory agencies that have jurisdiction over the matter. Once we refer a complaint to the appropriate agency, it may then be assigned to an investigator. We, therefore, ask that you provide a telephone number in the event an investigator needs to contact you for additional information.

IC3 cannot guarantee that your complaint will beinvestigated.

Why can’t they guarantee that your complaint will be investigated? It all comes down to jurisdiction . . . who has the power and authority to address this sort of crime in the location that the crime was committed. Now, you might say that the crime was committed in what ever city or state that you live in, but since this person did not come to your home and take the money from you that is not true. They were sitting in front of a computer in another country and through the information sent to you over the internet they defrauded you. Being that the crime took place over the internet, with the place of origin being the foreign country where the scammer is, it would be the law enforcement and government in that country that would have to address this crime. (why other countries do little to nothing is an issue for another time)

 Now, I am not in ANY way discouraging anyone from filing a complaint . .. quite the opposite!  I feel that it is VERY important for every victim of a scam to report it. This will bring more attention to the growing problem and history shows us that when enough people feel that something is a problem they will try to do something to change it. So if you area victim of a scam please report it. http://www.ic3.gov/complaint/default.aspx

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

Find us on Twitter, Facebook and more through
http://www.retaggr.com/page/ShawnMosch

FBI Scam Email

This one made me laugh . . . look at the email address it was sent from! When did the FBI start using gmail as their main email account?

Subject: Federal Bureau Of Investigation (FBI) ***ATTENTION***
Date: 9/6/2009 5:03:45 A.M. Central Daylight Time
From: fbi.Washingtondc8040316@gmail.com
Reply To: dynamiclaw2@windowslive.com

ATTENTION
This is an official advice from the FBI foreign Remittance / telegraphic department; it has come to our notice that the Central Bank of Nigeria district has released 10,500.000.00 US dollars into Bank of America in your name as the beneficiary by inheritance means.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) knowing that they do not have enough facilities to effect this payment from the United Kingdom to your account used what we know as a “Secret Diplomatic Transit Payment” (S.T.D.P) to pay this fund through wire transfer, they used this means to complete the payment.

They are still waiting for confirmation from you on the already transferred fund which was made in direct transfer so that they can do final crediting to your account. Secret Diplomatic Payments are not made unless the funds are related to terrorist activities. The question is, why must your transfer be made through Secret Transfer if your transaction is legitimate. If you are not a terrorist why did you not receive the money directly into your account? This is a “MERE-CODED” means of payment! Records which we have had with this method of payment in the past has always been related to terrorist acts, we do not want you to get into trouble as soon as these funds reflect in your account in the U.S.A. so it is our duty as a worldwide commission to correct this little problem before this fund will be credited into your personal account.

Due to the increased difficulty and necessary security by the American authorities when funds come from outside Europe and the Middle East, the F.B.I bank commission for Europe has stopped the transfer on its way to your account so to debit your reserve account and pay you through a Secured Diplomatic Transit Account (S.D.T.A). We govern and oversee funds transfer for the World Bank and the rest of the world.

We advise you to contact us immediately, as the funds have been Stopped and are being held in our custody until you can be able to provide us with a Diplomatic Immunity Seal Of Transfer (DIST) within 5 days from the world local bank that authorized the transfer to certify that this money that you are about to receive from Nigeria is for the support of any Terrorist Activity and is Drug free or we shall have cause to cross and impound the payment. We shall release the money immediately we receive this legal document from you.We have decided to contact you directly to acquire the proper verifications and proof from you to show that you are the rightful person to receive this fund because of the amount involved. We want to make sure it is clean and legal money. Be informed that your money is now in United State in your name but right now we have it placed on “HOLD” under our custody in the bank and would not be released to anybody that comes to them unless we ask them to do so because we have to carry out our investigations first before releasing the fund to you. Note that the fund is in the BANK OF AMERICA right now but we have asked them not to credit the fund to you yet because we need a solid proof and verification from you before releasing the fund.

So to this regard, you are to re-assure and proof to us that what you are about to receive is a clean money by sending to us a Diplomatic Immunity Seal of Transfer (DIST) to satisfy that the money your about to receive is legitimate and real money. You are to forward the documents to us immediately if you have it in your possession if you don’t have it let us know so that we will direct and inform you where to obtain the document from so that we will ask the bank holding the funds i.e. the Bank Of America to go ahead and credit your account.

These Document is to be issued to you from the world local bank that authorized the transfer, so get back to us immediately if you don’t have the document so that we will direct you to the particular place/office to obtain the document in Nigeria because we have come to realize that the fund was authorized by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

This condition is valid until 11th of SEPTEMBER 2009 after which we shall take actions on canceling the payment and then charge you for illegally moving funds out of Nigeria.

Guarantee: Fund(s) will be released on confirmation of the document.

NOTE: We have asked for the above documents to make available the most complete and up-to date records possible for the enhancement of public safety, welfare and security while recognizing the importance of individual privacy rights. If you fail to provide the Documents to us, we will charge you with the FBI and take our proper action against you for not proofing to us the legitimate of the fund you are about to receive.

The United States Department of Justice Order 556-73 establishes rules and regulations for the subject of an FBI Identification Record to obtain a copy of his or her own Record for review. The FBI Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division processes these requests to check illegal activities in U.S.A.
ROBERT MUELLER, IIl

Email verification scam

Here is a scam email that I just got today . . .

Dear CS.COM Owner alertrectfiers2009@gmail.com
==================================
Dear CS.COM Account Owner,
==================================
This message is from the CS.COM technical support department messaging center to all CS.COM Webmail account owners. Due to high rate of spam and scam phishing emails you receive to your mail box,We hereby use this medium to inform you that we will be carrying out some maintenance/Upgrading operations inorder to install in your mail box aspam detection/blocker to your mail box, This will also Increase the Storage bite of your mail and also protect your mail box from spam. As a result of this we will be deleting all expired and unused account to create more rooms for new updated/upgraded ones. To prevent your account from being closed unnecessarily, you will have to update us with the following information’s below for propal verifications to prevent the unwarranted close of your email account.
=================================
CONFIRM YOUR EMAIL IDENTITY BELOW
=================================
1.Full Email Address:………………….
2.password:……………
3. Re-type password:………………..
4.age/country:……………..
5.date of birth:…………….
6.First name/Last name:………….
Warning Code:VX2G99AAJWarning!!!
Account owner that refuses to update his or her account Within Three days of receiving this warning will lose his or her account permanently. Thank you for using CS.COMWebmail!
Warning Code:VX2G99AAJ
Thanks,CS.COM Alert team
==========================

The give away for this one was that it came from a gmail account and it was asking for my age and date of birth . . . why would my email service need that info???

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

Find us on Twitter, Facebook and more through
http://www.retaggr.com/page/ShawnMosch
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