Minnesota Bill HF343

I have mentioned the Minnesota Bill HF343 on this blog in the past.  It is one that several people who are concerned about the growing number of scams and fraud wish to see become a law.  Just this week it was sent to the General Register, which means it is one step closer to becoming a law.

To hear the audio from that meeting you can go here . . . http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/audio/archivescomm.asp?comm=87004&ls_year=87

I encourage all of you to read the bill and contact the Representatives that are backing this bill to thank them for their work and share with them why you believe this bill needs to become law.

Internet Scam Victims – Real Stories

When I first became a scam victim I was embarrassed and did not want anyone to know . . . that lasted all of 5 minutes and then I was angry at so many things . . . the scammers for their greed, the banking system for not giving me accurate information about how long it takes for a cashier’s check to clear, the wire transfer company for not having more warnings about these scams in their businesses and for turning a blind eye to the problem.

That is when I KNEW I had to do something.  I started to contact the media in order to get our story out there, and you know what . . . it HELPED!  It helped me to talk about it and get it out there, but it also helped so many other people.  My phone was ringing off the hook from people saying “The same thing happened to me” or from people who heard our story in the media in time for them to know the situation they were about to enter into was a scam and it saved them thousands of dollars.

If you are a scam victim, you could do the same thing for someone else.  I am contacted by the media in a regular basis asking for help in locating recent scam victims who would be willing to share their story.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to know that you saved someone else from going through the living hell that becomes your life when you discover you are a victim of a scam.

If you would like to be able to help to educate people about scams and fraud, and possibly save someone from becoming a victim, please email me and I will work to connect you with a media person that will do your story justice and help us to take a step forward in educating people about these scams.

Also, you can connect with me and follow our updates from http://www.retaggr.com/page/ShawnMosch/

Scammers use fear to get money

When a potential victim thinks that they might be on to the scammer, the scammer may use fear to try and get the person to send them the money.  Sometimes it is the fear of “I know where you live” and sometimes it is the fear of arrest, as once scammer tried to use in the email below . . . .

From: Charles Boothe ;hondaprelude7188@gmail.com

This is to inform you that due to your illegal action in the process of the Cleaner job offer to you concerning the check issued to you. I was informed by my bank that the check issue has been cleared and yet i haven’t got any reply from you,
For your information as you know all your contact details is with me so i have get the FBI informed,i also gave them your contact details for them to locate you. You may have any explanation to tell them and any information you may be holding for them concerning the payment i sent to you.I know they will get you soon,You may think that i have acted so rude by doing this but i am very sorry.You make me act like that because you never let me know what is going on.
I am very sorry for any inconvenience that i might have cause concerning this job offer and the way i act. Get back to me to confirm you get this email.
Best Regard

No matter what the scammer says, do not send them the money.  They did not contact the FBI, because the check that you were sent was counterfeit.

Wire Transers

A recent article about scams and wire transfers caught my eye the other day.  Here are time facts from the article . . .

Rules governing wire transfers place a larger burden on account holders than laws on credit cards or debit card . . . . {the} bank says {the victim} may not have met required security requirements on his computer system — even though he has secured wireless, firewalls, anti-virus software and other protection — and so, the bank may not be liable to pay him back. 

I get really frustrated when I see things like this.  Why is it that the banks can sit back and do nothing, and put all of the blame on the customer!?!?!  When do the banks have to stand up and say “There are things we could have done to stop this, so we are liable also.”

PUBLISHERS CLEARING HOUSE SCAM

Who doesn’t want to win the lottery or a sweepstakes? I think we have all had that “dream” at one time or another. What would we do? How would we spend the money? This is why so many people want to believe that there is a chance that they really DID win when they are contacted by scammers pretending to be with The Publisher Clearing House or other sweepstakes.

The scammers do not just send emails any more. Some are calling their intended victims directly. This is why it is important to protect information like your address and phone number. Do not post this information on blogs or open message boards.

Things that are still the same with this scam is that they will ask you to wire money to them, for legal fees or other reasons. Remember, if the lottery or sweepstakes is legitimate, they could deduct those fees from your winnings without you having to wire them anything.

Doing a Google search on any information that you have on the “sweepstakes representative” that contacts you is one way to try and check things out. Often the phone number that the call came from will be from another country, which is a dead giveaway that this is a scam.

Minnesota Victims

I am looking for victims of internet crimes in Minnesota who would be willing to share their story with City Pages.  If you do not want your name printed, they are willing to respect that.

If you are a victim of any type of internet crime, I encourage you to come forward and share your story.  I know it is not easy . . . I am a scam victim also . . . but I do know how rewarding it is to know that you have helped save others from being a scam victim because your story gave them the information to protect themselves.

If you are interested, you can contact me through http://www.retaggr.com/page/ShawnMosch

News from MoneyGram

Here is a press release from MoneyGram

MINNEAPOLIS, Jul 12, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) —

MoneyGram International (NYSE: MGI), a leading global payment services company, has introduced state-of-the-art technology to better protect its customers and agents from fraud. The enhanced technologies, which layer in protection through identification of suspicious transactions, computer and behavioural authentication and anti-phishing capabilities, are already dramatically reducing third-party consumer fraud at agent locations and online.

“MoneyGram takes fraud very seriously,” said Dennis Wildsmith, vice president of transaction services and fraud prevention at MoneyGram. “We have established systems and processes to enhance safe and reliable money transfers, train our agents and employees about fraud, and to educate consumers on ways to safeguard  their money. These new technologies are one more step in creating a world-class consumer anti-fraud program.”

As part of the new measures to combat fraud, MoneyGram has implemented a solution called Global Compliance that identifies suspicious or high-risk transactions based on established criteria. Global Compliance helped prevent more than 1,000 customers from losing funds to fraud during its first 50 days. In addition, MoneyGram reduced internet purchase fraud by 30 percent during this same period.

The system scans each transaction looking for signs of fraud, and suspicious transactions are put on hold until the company can confirm if a transaction is legitimate or fraudulent. Global Compliance rules were developed specifically by MoneyGram, offering the company the flexibility to modify the rules as needed in order to respond more quickly to new and different kinds of fraud. Today, the tool is monitoring all send transactions from Canada and the United States to anywhere in the world.

“These are some of the multiple steps that will significantly increase our ability to mitigate fraud around the world,” said Wildsmith. “We’re already seeing positive results. Since its implementation, the system has been effective at stopping thousands of fraudulent transactions in the U.S. alone. Our goal is to have the system integrated with all point-of-sale equipment within two years, giving MoneyGram’s global agents the ability to more effectively identify suspicious transactions and better enforce anti-fraud and anti-money laundering processes to protect consumers.”

MoneyGram has instituted another step to protect its customers through a process that identifies individual consumers – who have made or attempted to make transactions that are known to be fraudulent – being victimized by scams. MoneyGram’s new fraud solutions build on efforts already in place to mitigate fraud at the point of transaction. These include warnings on MoneyGram send forms for the customer to answer before sending money and agents verbally alerting customers when they see possible fraud taking place.

To further protect consumers, the company has also implemented an RSA Fraud Intelligence Solution, an anti-phishing tool that prevents cyber criminals from compromising agent computers and stealing customer information. The solution provides user and computer authentication technologies to prevent fraud from the point of login through completion of the transaction. RSA’s technology also conducts behavioural monitoring – flagging transactions for review if a customer suddenly changes his/her pattern in making transfers.

Additionally, MoneyGram, a leading money order provider, has also redesigned its money orders to provide more highly visible safeguards against counterfeiting – the number one type of fraud for this kind of payment. The redesign incorporates visual and physical features that are easy to see on the front of each money order, not easy to replicate and contains an additional call to action for the recipient of a money order to verify its validity.

Consumer Law & Policy Blog sees my point

I just got done reading the article at the Consumer Law and Policy Blog entitled How Chase Bank Almost Helped a Teenager Get Scammed.  This story points out exactly what we at Scam Victims United have been talking about since 2003.  The banks will tell people that the checks are “clear”, “good” or “verified” but none of those words mean anything about the customer’s protection from risk when these checks come back as counterfeit.  The bank will still hold the customer liable for the entire amount.


I think this is wrong.  When the bank employee tells you that the check is “clear”, “good” or “verified” that should be the same as a verbal contract, and if something should come up later with that same check the BANK should hold some, if not all, of the liability.  Isn’t that the job of the bank, to verify these checks?  


This is why we have started the petition at http://www.change.org/petitions/view/create_scam_education_and_awareness_programs asking for a change in these laws and better consumer protection against theses scams.  We have also gone out to local high schools to give presentations to the students in order to educate them about these scams, and the banking terms.  We need to give not only our teens, but everyone, the tools that they need to protect themselves from these scams.

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

Find us on Twitter, Facebook and more through
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Support Scam Victims United by shopping at
http://shopittous.blogspot.com/

Sign our petition for Scam Education and Awareness Programs
http://www.change.org/petitions/view/create_scam_education_and_awareness_programs

MoneyGram and Nigeria

On June 8th, 2010 MoneyGram released the following information. Because I feel so strongly about this topic, I would like to share the entire press release with you, along with my personal thoughts on it.

MINNEAPOLIS, Jun 08, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) –MoneyGram International (NYSE:MGI), a leading global money transfer company, announced today that First Bank of Nigeria Plc has selected MoneyGram to provide money transfer services in its more than 500 locations across the nation. First Bank, established in 1894, is Nigeria’s oldest bank and one of the largest in terms of network size. First Bank has locations in all key cities including Abuja, Benin, Lagos, Iabdan, Port Harcourt, and Warri as well as a significant presence in rural Nigeria, some operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, making MoneyGram services even more convenient for Nigerians.

Is this really what we need?  for Money Gram services to be even more convenient for Nigerians?  I feel that it is pretty convenient for them just as it is.  Actually it is way TOO convenient for them to pick up money that people receive from counterfeit cashier’s checks, or for fake Secret Shopper jobs or that people believe that they are sending to someone within the United States.

“MoneyGram, which has operated in Nigeria since 1998, saw significant growth between 2006 and 2008 when it tripled its network in the country,” said Vicky Johnston, MoneyGram’s senior regional director for Anglo Africa and Middle East. “We are excited about partnering with First Bank as it is MoneyGram’s most recent and significant expansion which will allow us to provide a service to so many more people through the bank’s large number of branches.”

Ironically, during the same time period that MoneyGram increased it’s network in the country, the number of money lost to scams and fraud also increased.  You can see the increase on the chart below which is from the Annual Report put out by the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3.gov)

To commemorate the agreement with First Bank Plc, MoneyGram’s Chairman and CEO, Pamela H. Patsley is in Nigeria and will attend the official launch event scheduled for today. During her visit, Patsley will address the media as well as CEOs of MoneyGram’s agent banks in Nigeria, discussing the common goal of bringing needed financial services to the people of Nigeria and the growth opportunities there.

I have a better idea . . . what about discussing the common goal of fighting all of the scams and fraud that pass through MoneyGram every day, and how they can do more to save those customers from becoming victims.  Before we start looking at the financial needs of the people of Nigeria, I think we need to protect the financial needs of the people right here in the United States. 

“MoneyGram is pleased to partner with First Bank,” said Patsley. “Our partnership will help to ensure that our services are accessible and convenient for the people of Nigeria and that we can continue to meet the growing demand of consumers in this important remittance market.”

And why are their demands growing?  Because there are more and more scams going undetected or people just turning a blind eye to them. 

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, is ranked in the top 10 receive countries for money transfers. The World Bank estimates that $10 billion USD in remittances was sent to Nigeria in 2009 – with the United States being the primary send country. Other top send countries include Canada, Germany, Israel, Italy, Liberia, Libya, Malaysia, Spain, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

That is because Nigeria is also ranked in the top 3 countries for money wire transfer scams.  The other countries would be Canada and the United Kingdom, who are also ironically on the list above.  I wonder hom much of the $559.7 million dollars from the chart above that went out of this country in scams is directly a part of the $10 billion reported to be going into Nigeria in 2009? 

With the First Bank agreement, MoneyGram now has a total of eight bank relationships, thus further proving that MoneyGram is dedicated to providing reliable and safe money transfer services to Nigerians – wherever they may reside. Furthermore, agent banks in Nigeria have brought a positive experience to the remittance business with their individual pedigree in banking, service quality delivery and branch network, which provides a sense of ease for those receiving funds from family members working in other countries.

So we are going over and above to make sure that Nigerians have a reliable and safe money transfer service, but we are doing very little to offer that same kind of safety to the MoneyGram customers in the United States.  The last sentence in the above paragraph really gets me . . . . which provides a sense of ease for those receiving funds.  Why is it that we seem to care more about the people in another country, who are one of the main sources of these scams, than the people here in the United States that they are scamming? 

Shawn Mosch
Co-Founder of ScamVictimsUnited.com
 
Find us on Twitter, Facebook and more through
http://www.retaggr.com/page/ShawnMosch

Sign our petition for Scam Education and Awareness Programs at
http://www.change.org/petitions/view/create_scam_education_and_awareness_programs

Counterfeit Cashier’s Checks and MoneyGram

I am currently working with a lawyer who is interested in speaking to victims of counterfeit cashier’s check scams who wired money using MoneyGram.  Please contact me if you would be willing to speak with this lawyer.  If this turns into a case, it could be a huge break for victims of these scams.

Do not post your contact info here . . . if you do not already have my contact information, you can find me through http://www.retaggr.com/page/ShawnMosch