Importance Of The Information Security For Protected To Be Defrauded

Information Security
Information Security
Information Security

What is Information security?

Security means surety of not breaching personal information. It is also known as safeguard or the bail. Information security means we are protecting our self or our personal data from the unauthorized access, data modification, data disclosure or the data breaching. Information security is an essential part of the IT field or IT business.

Why information security is needed?

Information (data, file or any kind of handy document) is the life of any business organization in this today’s digital world, where labor work converted into technical world and documents are converted into Data or information. Every big organization includes many departments within it like Development, Research and all that. High quality information is reached to the customer or the human via marketing, push digital marketing as well as pull digital marketing.

Now simple question comes to mind that what is the guarantee of this system that it is reliable and honest to us? This question inspires us to build an Information Security system which guarantees us of the safeguard of our Data or the information.

Information Security for the Organization

Information security is not only the matter of passwords and usernames. It includes many parts within it which are categorized in a layer system. There is major tow layers come in that.

Application Layer: This layer includes security of the client side as well as the application. Username password comes in this layer also the data breaches of any information of the organization comes in this. Network Layer: This layer includes the security on the network layer. It assures us of the security of modem, router and the big servers to not be compromised. At network layer there are lots of exploits which are performed on the application or the browser side, which has an ability to hack the database of a particular organization.

Risk Factor of not implementing an Information Security System in your Organization

Risk is higher is one organization doesn’t setup an information security system in his or her company. Major risk is of administrative control. If the security is low then one can gain access over whole the system and he or she gets the administrative rights in his hand. If it happens then it can destruct whole organization as well as he can breach the data of company. He or she can take over the control of the whole organization. Administrative controls are generally known as procedural controls. Other major risk of not hiring the information security is reputation. If data breach occurs by the malicious attack from the attacker, it can affect company’s share holders as well as on the financial department. It can also degrade the reputation of the organization.

Information Security Tips for the users or the clients

This was all about the organization’s Security. Talking about the client side security, clients are generally the customers or the ordinary internet users. Here we have mentioned some tips and the tricks which should be given high priority to avoid the breaching.

General Tips / Internet Tips: Gaming and internet devices are connected to internet now. This should be kept in mind of all gamers and developers. So make sure about your private sensitive data like username password, game consoles and other. Everyone must use hardware as well as software technologies to protect USB devices. Keep in mind that free antivirus software doesn’t give full protection so always buy a license version antivirus for online protection. Every parent should keep their eye on their child that what and which kind of activity he or she is doing online. Always be habited to keep a back up of your all important information or the data.

Awareness of Well known Attacks to users (Social Engineering Attacks):

Phishing / Fake Login Page: This is used to attack human’s mind. Generally in this method attacker makes a page exactly as any of the organization. For example Attacker makes a Face book login page exactly as Real face book login page. But its URL will quite different like this nowadays people don’t pay more attention to the URL like faacebook.com or facebo0k.com and they just log in into their account. In this case this phishing or the fake page login helps the attacker to get the email ids and the passwords of the users. One time hard work but after that it gives mass usernames and passwords to the attacker. Fake Programs: In this attack fake programs are generated which can be in a form of executable files. Lay out, the design of the program and the name of the program is created in such a way that it can take a place in human mind. If it is delivered to use it will ask for the one time authentication and it will ask for the ID and password of a particular account. User provides it to the software and he/she things now he/she is able to use the software. But it won’t happen like that. Once Id password are provided to the software it will immediately sent to the attacker or the creator of that fake tool and thus it gets compromised. There are many tools available on the internet like yahoo hacker, Gmail password hacker, and face book hacker. Key loggers: Key loggers are the advance technique used worldwide now days for hacking sensitive information. They are the simple tools which records every keystrokes of the keyboard. One a victim has opened real accounts his/her id password will be recorded. And in the case of the remote key logger, the recorded id password will be sent to particular mail of the attacker.

Mobile Banking and Mobile Security Tips: Mobile banking always uses wireless technology. Organization should implement 2 factors or 2 way authentication system in their organization in which if attacker got passed in attacking the 1st factor, he or she will still need the personal information to gain access over Victim’s whole account. Organization should implement the monitoring system on the high transaction. So any terror attack is going to be happen and if there will be any financial transaction going to be take place, it can be detected.

To put in a nutshell, Information security is an essential part of the organization to protect their organization. Every big or small company should have a network administrator or the security engineer. It also affects on the reputation of the organization.

Emai Scam: GOOGLE ANNUAL PROMOTION – PROMOTION DRAW

GOOGLE ANNUAL PROMOTION

This is an email received about “ GOOGLE ANNUAL PROMOTION ” is a phishing scam and why not try to contact these people or log onto these sites and enter your data because you risk being stolen.

from:

GOOGLE ANNUAL PROMOTION

<info@jwm-g.com>

reply-to:info@glsclaim.co.uk
to:
date:Mon, May 30, 2016 at 8:22 PM
subject:PROMOTION DRAW

Letter About GOOGLE ANNUAL PROMOTION:

Belgrave House

76 Buckingham Palace Road

London SW1W 9TQ, United Kingdom.

Winning No: GUK/877/798/2016

Ticket No: GUK/699/33/2016

Notification: MAY 2016

 

GOOGLE ANNUAL PROMOTION

Google10

 

We wish to congratulate you on this note, for being part of our selected winners in our just concluded internal promotion draw this year, this promotion was set-up to encourage the active users of the Google search engine and the Google ancillary services.

Hence we do believe with your winning prize, you will continue to be an active patronage to the Google search engine and services. Google is now the biggest search engine worldwide and in an effort to make sure that it remains the most widely used search engine, we ran an online e-mail beta draw which your email address won One millionGreat British Pounds Sterling (1,000,000.00). We wish to formally announce to you that you have successfully passed the requirements, statutory obligations, verifications, validations and satisfactory report Test conducted for all online winners.

A winning check will be issued in your name by Google Promotion Award; for the sum of One million Great British Pounds Sterling (1,000,000.00) and also a certificate of prize claims will be sent alongside your winning check cashable at any bank.

You are advised to contact the assigned Google Program Administrator/Coordinator with the following details to avoid unnecessary delay and complications:

 

VERIFICATION AND FUNDS RELEASE FORM

 

  •         Your Contact Address/Private Email Address
  •         Your Tel/Fax Numbers
  •         Your Nationality/Country
  •         Your Full Name
  •         Occupation/Company
  •         Age/Gender
  •         Ever Won An Online Lottery?
  •         Comments About Google

 

Ruth Porat – Google Senior Fellow (Program Administrator/Coordinator)

 

Email: info@glsclaim.co.uk

Google values your right to privacy! Your information is 100% secured and will be used exclusively for the purpose of this award only.

The Google Promotion Award Team has discovered a huge number of double claims due to winners informing close friends relatives and third parties about their winning and also sharing their pin numbers. As a result of this, these friends try to claim the lottery on behalf of the real winners. The Google Promotion Award Team has reached a decision from its headquarters that any double claim discovered by the Lottery Board will result to the canceling of that particular winning, leading to a loss for both the double claimer and the real winner, as it is taken that the real winner was the informer to the double claimer about the lottery. So you are hereby strongly advised once more to keep your winnings strictly confidential until you claim your prize.

Congratulations from the Staffs & Members of the Google interactive Lotteries Board Commission.

 

Yours faithfully,

Lawrence “Larry” Page

Lawrence Larry Page
Lawrence Larry Page

 

 

 

 

Co-founder and CEO of Google Inc™

Elder Financial Abuse: Warning Signs, What It Is and How to Stop It

Financial Elder Abuse

Abuse: The Warning Signs

There are a number of different ways elder abuse can occur. Some of the signs that this abuse is occurring include:

Withdrawal from activities, lack of alertness or unusual behavior Physical injuries such as blisters, burns or pressure marks that do not have an explanation to fit the pattern Unexplained sexually transmitted diseases or bruising around the breast or genital areas Poor hygiene, weight loss or the need for medical care A change in wills, trusts or financial accounts

If you have concerns about any of these types of abuse, ask questions and keep on top of the situation.

Who is at Risk?

Financial Elder Abuse
Financial Elder Abuse

The risk factors of elder abuse have a wide range, therefore it is possible that anyone can be affected by this. There are some elders, however, who may be more likely to suffer abuse. These elders include those that have a lack of support networks, who suffer from a mental impairment and who have caretakers that have personal problems such as finances or alcohol abuse.

Could it be Self-Neglect?

Abuse may not be occurring from the outside, but elders who are no longer able to take care of themselves might be prime targets for abusers. Self-neglect includes elders who have a lack of basic needs, refuse medications, are hoarding, have poor hygiene and prefer isolation.

What Are the Laws?

There is currently no federal law that protects elders from abuse. There are laws in each state that do deal with the issues of exploitation, neglect and abuse. From state to state, the laws vary by who is protected-from those that live alone or with family to those who are residing in long term care facilities. Many states have clear cut laws on criminal penalties for elder abuse. Laws outside of the realm of elder abuse may also apply, including rape, assault, fraud or domestic violence.

If you see elder abuse happening, call local police or adult protective services immediately. When you need to find information, call the U.S. Administration on Aging’s Eldercare Locator at (800) 677-1116.

What Should You Expect After Reporting?

You will first be asked to give your story and any information you have on the elder suspected of being abused. Most states take anonymous reports, but some may ask for your information for follow up questions.

Once an investigation begins, it will be Adult protective services (APS) investigating the initial reports. If they find abuse, APS will work with a number of agencies to ensure the safety of the victim. Law enforcement will get involved when the situation involves a criminal act. If the elder is not mentally capable of making their own decisions, a court may appoint a conservator or guardian.

Elder Financial Abuse: What It Is and How to Stop It

Elder financial abuse – it’s an issue that ‘s been around as long as the elderly have had property and money. Normally, an elderly person is sixty-five years or older, and is also known as a senior citizen. The crime is a term for the misuse of the funds acquired by them. Along with funds, exploitation of a person’s property and resources also can be considered abuse.

Even though the crime has been around for several years, it had been only given nationwide attention in recent times. In 2011, famous Hollywood actor Mickey Rooney sued a stepson for alleged abuse. Public awareness grew after the revelation of his case.

A study carried out by a primary international insurance provider said that close to three billion dollars a year is lost thanks to the crime. This is due to the many various tactics utilized by the bad guys to steal from senior citizens. Recognizing the abuse is fairly easy. However, a number of cases happen within families. And unless other parties get involved, instances wouldn’t see the light of day.

What is regarded as elder financial abuse and who is guilty of it?

The term is actually a blanket term for a wide range of criminal activities. These crimes involve the use of trickery, deception, and coercion to access the funds, resources, and properties of a senior citizen. People that are typically found guilty are caregivers, fraudsters, and sorry to say, family members.

Examples of exploitation committed by these folks include:

  • Misuse of personal checks, credit cards, and other financial accounts

  • It’s usually performed by forging the signature of an elderly person.

  • Stealing of cash, pension checks, and other prized possessions.

  • Identity theft

  • Senile individuals often become a victim of this kind of attack. Devious people take advantage of the fact that the elderly are confined to homes or nursing facilities. Thankfully, bank fraud lawyers take the necessary actions to fight such problems

You cannot assume all sinister acts are done by singular individuals, however. You can find cases when even healthcare is used as a tool to extort income from the elderly. These companies take advantage of an elderly person’s fragile state of mind. Healthcare provider and other scams include:

  • Special “prizes” for senior citizens that must be purchased.

  • Charging excessively for healthcare that isn’t provided.

Elder financial abuse takes place simply because of a senior citizen’s lagging mental capacity, especially those that are senile. Isolation also plays a role in the abuse. Typically, victims are widows or widowers. Statistically, women are especially vulnerable to abuse. Research has shown that women live longer than men. The elderly women that live longer than their companions typically belong to a generation where the male was the one who handled the finances.
When you know somebody who may be a victim of this kind of abuse, it would be best to tell the authorities. In instances where you personally know the family and are concerned about being called an intruder in family issues, you can find anonymous hotlines you could call.

Angelo Alleca Pleads Guilty to Orchestrating a Multi-Million Dollar Fraud Scheme

Million Dollar Fraud Scheme

Former CEO of Summit Wealth Management Pleads Guilty to Orchestrating a Multi-Million Dollar Fraud Scheme

ATLANTA – Angelo Alleca, the former CEO of Atlanta, Georgia, based Summit Wealth Management, has pleaded guilty to conspiring with a former business partner to defraud investors of over $35 million dollars. Alleca marketed several funds that were supposed to invest in certain assets/investments, such as hedge funds managed by a professional money manager or mortgage debt.  Instead he used the money to pay redemptions to earlier investors, to acquire and operate several businesses, and to pay personal expenses.

“Instead of fulfilling promises of investments, investors were largely swindled out of their money in a Ponzi scheme which directly enriched Alleca,” said U.S. Attorney John Horn.  “This case serves as another reminder that investors need to be careful, and do their research when deciding who to trust with their hard-earned money.”

“The guilty plea of Mr. Alleca is the culmination of a lengthy and extensive federal investigation examining the allegations of many years of financial fraud which victimized so many investors out of millions of dollars.  It is the FBI’s hope that today’s guilty plea will provide some sense of relief to those victims that have suffered so much by Mr. Alleca’s greed driven criminal conduct,” said J. Britt Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office.

According to U.S. Attorney Horn, the indictment, and other information presented in court: From on or about 2004 until 2012,  Alleca acted as the President and Chief Operating Officer of Summit Wealth Management, an investment adviser headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. During that time, Alleca started several funds and falsely misrepresented that money would be invested in hedge funds and debt securities and managed by professional investment managers.

Instead of investing the money as advertised, Alleca allegedly lost a substantial portion of the funds through securities trading. In addition, Alleca improperly used the funds to operate Summit Wealth Management, make interest payments and redemptions to earlier investors, and to pay personal expenses. During the course of the scheme, fraudulent account statements were mailed to investors showing gains, when there was no money in the funds.

In 1997 Alleca and Mark Morrow, a co-defendant in the case, and Alleca’s former business partner, formed Summit Capital Trading, a registered investment advisor and broker dealer in New York and Ohio.  Alleca led the Buffalo, New York office and Morrow ran the Cincinnati and Cleveland, Ohio offices.

In 2007, Morrow established Detroit Memorial Partners LLC, which sold promissory notes to acquire and manage cemeteries in Michigan.

Between 2007 and 2012, Morrow and Alleca marketed promissory notes in Detroit Memorial Partners to Summit Wealth clients in Atlanta, and throughout the country. Detroit Memorial Partners offered documents which contained material misrepresentations, including that the notes would be secured by real property.  In fact, no security interest was ever recorded with respect to the notes. Moreover, shortly after receiving the note proceeds, Alleca and Morrow, diverted funds for improper purposes including, making interest payments and redemptions to investors in Summit Wealth Management funds and personal expenses.  The indictment alleges that as a result of their fraud schemes, over 300 investors lost over $35 million dollars invested in the Summit Funds and Detroit Memorial Partners LLC.

Sentencing for Angelo Alleca, 46, of Buffalo, New York, is scheduled for August 4, 2016 at 2:00 p.m., before United States District Judge Leigh Martin May.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Assistant United States Attorney Jeffrey Brown is prosecuting the case.

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov

Email links icon

or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga

Robert F. Arnold Indicted for Fraud and Related Charges

Indicted, Fraud and Related Charges

Tennessee Sheriff Indicted by Federal Grand Jury on Conspiracy, Fraud and Related Charges

Chief Administrative Deputy and Sheriff’s Uncle also Indicted

A county sheriff and two other men were indicted for their roles in the formation, marketing and operation of a private company and the concealment and misrepresentation of their involvement with the business, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Jack Smith of the Middle District of Tennessee.

Robert F. Arnold, 40, Sheriff of Rutherford County, Tennessee; Chief Deputy Joe L. Russell II, 49, also of Rutherford County; and John Vanderveer, 58, of Marietta, Georgia, Arnold’s uncle, were charged in a 14-count indictment with honest services fraud, wire fraud, bribery concerning federal programs, extortion under color of official right, obstruction of justice and conspiracy.

The indictment alleges that Arnold, Russell and Vanderveer devised a scheme to exploit Arnold’s and Russell’s official positions to make tens of thousands of dollars selling e-cigarettes in the Rutherford County Jail.  Specifically, in October 2013, each defendant allegedly invested $3,000 to start JailCigs LLC, a private company that would allow friends and family members of inmates to purchase e-cigarettes online and have them shipped to the jail for distribution by jail personnel and use by inmates.  As part of its marketing strategy, JailCigs allegedly promised a $5 commission for every e-cigarette sold to the jail or detention facility.  In late 2013, Arnold and Russell introduced JailCigs into the Rutherford County Jail, JailCigs’s first and largest customer in Tennessee.  Over the next year and a half, JailCigs allegedly sold approximately 10,500 e-cigarettes for delivery to Rutherford County Jail inmates, totaling $156,975 in revenue.

Arnold and Russell allegedly used their official positions to make JailCigs profitable, including by allowing the company’s e-cigarettes to be admitted into the Rutherford County Jail as non-contraband; directing jail employees to perform tasks beneficial to JailCigs on county time; promoting JailCigs to other sheriff offices and counties; and waiving Rutherford County’s customary commission from the sale of JailCigs.  Arnold and Russell also failed to subject the business arrangement with JailCigs to a competitive bidding process and did not enter into a written contract with the company, despite being advised to do both things by the county attorney, according to the indictment.  Between December 2013 and April 2015, Arnold allegedly received $66,790 from JailCigs and Russell and Vanderveer each received roughly $50,000.

On the eve of the 2014 election, in which Arnold was running for reelection as Sheriff of Rutherford County, Russell allegedly emailed a JailCigs customer and reminded the customer that it was Arnold who brought the JailCigs program to the Rutherford County Jail for the enjoyment of inmates and if Arnold was not reelected, the program would come to an end.  The indictment alleges that Russell’s email implored the customer to “tell everyone you know to support Sheriff Arnold in his re-election.”

When various people raised questions and concerns about the propriety of the arrangement between JailCigs and Rutherford County, Arnold and Russell allegedly made misrepresentations that the arrangement had been approved by various officials, including the county attorney and the county auditor, and repeatedly denied that they were personally involved with JailCigs or were receiving any benefit from the sale of its product.  The indictment also alleges that in an effort to protect JailCigs’s ongoing business, Arnold subsequently made several false and misleading statements to the media about his role in and knowledge of JailCigs, including saying that he was unaware of Russell’s involvement with JailCigs and that he was “shocked” and “taken back” by the discovery.  Arnold allegedly also told the media that he had not received any income from JailCigs and had made a mistake when he listed JailCigs as a source of income on his state “Statement of Disclosure of Interests” form.  The day before making this statement, however, Arnold allegedly had deposited a $3,900 check from JailCigs.

The indictment also alleges that on April 17, 2015, after learning of the media reports and pending criminal investigation, Vanderveer met with the Tennessee sales representative for JailCigs and told her that “Joe” wanted her to destroy her commission tabulation sheets, which contained evidence of the scheme.

The charges in the indictment are merely allegations.  The defendants are presumed innocent until and unless convicted.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the FBI are investigating this case.  Trial Attorney Mark Cipolletti of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Cecil W. Vandevender of the Middle District of Tennessee are prosecuting the case.

Original PressReleases … 

Email Scam: UNITED NATIONS COMPENSATION COMMISSION

UNITED NATIONS

This is an email received about “ UNITED NATIONS COMPENSATION COMMISSION ” is a phishing scam and why not try to contact these people or log onto these sites and enter your data because you risk being stolen.

UNITED NATIONS COMPENSATION COMMISSION

United Nations Organisation

UNCC Secretariat, Villa La Pelouse, Palais Des Nations 8-12 Avenue de la Paix 1211 Geneva 10, swistzerland. www.uncc.ch

Our Ref: UNCCORG/849IMF/2016

Your Ref: RBC-04INTRA-801TT

Dear Fund Beneficiary / Email Address Owner R

EGISTERED CASE NR: UNCCORG/8491MP

COMPENSATION OF FUNDS

We wish to notify you as a beneficiary in compensation of USD$2,000,000.00 (Two Million United States Dollars). We, the authorized governing body of the United Nations Monitory unit has been authorized to investigate the unnecessary delay on your payment, recommended and approved in your favour by the United National Security Council.

During the course of our investigation, we discovered with dismay that your payment has been unnecessarily delayed by corrupt officials of the previously appointed paying bank who were making effort to divert allocated funds into their private bank accounts. To prevent this, security of funds has been organized in the form of a Personal Identification Number (Pin) ATM CARD. This will enable only you to have direct control over your funds with the ATM CARD. We will monitor your payment by ourselves to avoid any repetition of the hopeless situation created by the officials of the previous paying banks. An irrevocable paying guarantee has been i ssued by the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for your payment.

The United Nation Compensation Commission(UNCC) was created in 1991 as a subsidiary organ of the United Nation Security Council under Security Council resolution 687(1991) to process claims and pay compensation for the losses and damages suffered as a direct result

of Iraq’s unlawful invasion amd occupation of Kuwait in 199 0-91. Their first meeting held on the 8 th of April 2003.

You can view this page for your perusal http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2003/ik344.doc.html

Hitherto, the United Nation Compensation Commission have received all the overdue outstanding payment owed to the following: firm, Contractors, Inheritance, Next of Kin, supper hurricane Sandy and Lottery beneficiaries that originated from Africa, Europe, America, Asia including Middle East. Your payment have been approved to be credited in your favour through ATM VISA CARD which will be sent to you by courier delivery service. Your email address was randomly selected from Kuwait and USA databases which qualify you to lodge your claim for payment of USD$2,000,000.00. You are therefore advice to contact your case-appointed UNCC Claim Manager below, to begging the process of filling your claim and payment of funds through your ATM Card.

Mrs. Caroline Hussein

Email address:carolinehussein52@gmail.com Direct Office lines: +27845561729 Direct Fax Line: +27867501027

Note importantly, that your case Reference Number: UNCCORG/8491IMF for your payment falls under the USA-Euro-Asia-Africa geographic payment zoning (UEAA1). Therefore your payment, when processed under the UEAA1 geographic payment zoning in Johannesburg South Africa United Nations Branch, will be executed by our treasury allocation of funds to an appointed paying bank in USA. Your money will be paid out to you in a VISA/MASTERCARD Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) Card by the appointed paying bank in USA.

You are advised to contact the UNCC Claims Manager immediately you receive this notice to file for your funds claim and payment through delivery of other part of the world, but the maximum withdrawal amount per day on the card is USD$5000. As a matter of urgency, please contact Mrs. Caroline Hussein and file for your payment with the information as stated below.

  • 1 Beneficiary’s Full Name ………………….
  • 2 Sex: ………………………………………………
  • 3 Date of Birth: …………………………………
  • 4 Nationality: ……………………………………
  • 5 Occupation: …………………………………..
  • 6 Physical Address: …………………………..
  • 7 Telephone Number: ………………………..
  • 8 Private E-mail Address: …………………..
  • 9 Total Compensation Amount: USD$2,000,000.00
  • 10 Copy of Identity Document (Passport ID, National ID Card or Drivers license)

We expect your urgent confirmation and response to this email as directed to enable the UNCC monitor your payment effectively. Congratulations.

With best compliments,

Steve Connelly

United Nations Compensation Commission.

We the people…..A stronger UN for a better world

 

Loan Fraud: Courtland Gettel And Jeffrey Greenberg Steal More Than $30 Million

Loan Fraud

Coronado Businessman and Arizona Lawyer Steal More Than $30 Million

SAN DIEGO – San Diego businessman Courtland Gettel and Arizona attorney Jeffrey Greenberg pleaded guilty this week to participating in a massive scheme in which they obtained tens of millions of dollars in fraudulently-obtained loan proceeds.

The conspirators generated the money by taking out huge loans against multi-million dollar homes in La Jolla and Del Mar, then pretending those loans had been paid off in order to secure more loans from new lenders — who were led to believe by forged documentation that the homes were debt-free.

To pull of the scam, Gettel, Greenberg, and their co-conspirators created forged real estate lien “releases” and recorded fraudulent records at the San Diego County Recorder’s Office, wreaking havoc on the chain of title for these homes.  They then defaulted on their obligations to repay the loans, leaving the lenders to dispute the validity of their secured interests, and causing millions of dollars in losses from unpaid loans.

Loan Fraud
Loan Fraud

Gettel ran a real estate investment firm known both as Conix, Inc. and Variant Commercial Real Estate (“VCRE”), which refurbished single-family homes, purchased distressed debt, and purchased and refurbished commercial real estate projects.  As part of his plea, Gettel admitted that he and his informal business partner acquired high-end homes in La Jolla and Del Mar by pretending to real estate lenders that they intended to use the homes as luxury rental properties—although in fact, they lived in the properties along with their families.  When they needed money to fund other business deals, Gettel and his partner began negotiating with new lenders, pretending that the first loans never existed or had already been paid off.

Their attorney, Greenberg, admitted that he used his expertise as a lawyer to generate and record fraudulent records, making it appear that prior loans were paid off, to help close the fraudulent deals.  This went on for more than a year, during which time Gettel, Greenberg, and their co-conspirators obtained at least $33.6 million in fraudulent proceeds from no less than eight multi-million dollar fraudulent loans.

Greenberg also pled guilty to participating in an equally massive fraud that occurred in Tucson, Arizona, where he worked for Conix and VCRE.  In that scheme, Greenberg admitted that he and his co-conspirators obtained tens of millions of dollars in unearned payments from a real estate financing firm by creating false invoices and expense reports for work purportedly performed on their commercial real estate portfolio.  Instead of using the money to refurbish their commercial properties as required, Greenberg and his co-conspirators used the tens of millions of dollars they generated for their own personal use and benefit.

Gettel relied on Greenberg to help hide the true nature of the transactions.  He directed the proceeds to Greenberg’s attorney-trust bank accounts before distributing the money further.  He also relied on other co-conspirators to forge his own signature and then fraudulently notarize the forgeries, so documents would be harder to trace back to the perpetrators.  In late 2014, the lenders uncovered the fraud, and began to discover that their secured interests in the properties were worthless.  Gettel and his partner agreed to conceal their fraud by falsely denying any knowledge about the fraudulent loans.  They also tried to cover up the scheme further by creating yet more fraudulent documents to hide their tracks.  Another co-conspirator – who was a notary public – notarized fraudulent documents, hid or destroyed her notary book, and then falsely reported it lost to the California Secretary of State.

As part of their pleas, Gettel and Greenberg agreed to forfeit the proceeds they stole from the various lenders and pay restitution to the victims.

“Wealth and privilege will not insulate anyone from aggressive prosecution for their crimes,” said U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy.  “These defendants thought they could hide behind their status to pull off an extraordinary fraud—but as this case demonstrates, I am devoted to making sure the playing field is level and all criminals are held accountable.”

“The defendants in this case used their professional business and legal experience to feed their greed,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge, Eric S. Birnbaum. “The FBI is committed to pursuing those who engage in fraudulent schemes that line their pockets at the expense of others.”

Greenberg, who was charged in Tucson and San Diego before the cases were transferred to the Southern District of California, made his initial appearance in San Diego on May 17, 2016 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen S. Crawford, and entered his guilty pleas the following day. Gettel made his initial appearance today, also before Judge Crawford. Both defendants are scheduled to be sentenced before U.S. District Judge William Q. Hayes on August 8, 2016.

The swift resolution of this elaborate fraud case is the result of close collaboration and invaluable assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Arizona, FBI Tucson Resident Agency and the IRS Criminal Investigations in Tucson.

DEFENDANTS:

Jeffrey Greenberg, 16CR1076-WQH and 1077-WQH         Age: 66           Tucson, AZ

Courtland Gettel, 16CR1099-WQH                                      Age: 42           Coronado, CA

CHARGES

Wire Fraud Conspiracy, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349

Maximum Penalties: 20 years’ imprisonment, $250,000 fine, $100 special assessment, restitution.

Conspiracy, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371

Maximum Penalties: 5 years’ imprisonment, $250,000 fine, $100 special assessment, restitution.

AGENCIES

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Original PressReleases …

Personal Fraud Continues to Strike Many Unsuspecting Victims – Know How to Spot a Risky Situation

Personal Fraud

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1 in 4 people are targeted by internet fraud each year and a whopping 800,000 people fall victim to these scams.

It is becoming increasingly important for consumers to be aware of the many ways that they can be defrauded. Fraudsters are becoming ever more cunning as they continue to find new ways to prey on and catch out innocent and unsuspecting customers.

Personal Fraud
Personal Fraud

Some of the most common types of personal fraud to be aware of include:

  • Credit or bank card fraud – the unauthorised use of a credit or bank card.
  • Identity theft – the theft and fraudulent use of personal details or documents such as passports, tax file numbers and drivers’ licences, all of which can be used to conduct business or open new accounts in another person’s name.
  • Lottery – usually a scam by which a person is told that they have won a lottery that they didn’t enter. The “winner” is then asked to provide personal information in order to prove their identity and/or send a fee or bank account details in order to get the prize.
  • Phishing and related scams – a fraudulent request whereby the fraudster pretends to be from a business or a bank and asks the consumer to confirm various personal details such as bank account numbers and credit card details. This can be done through a variety of mediums such as post, in person, calling your landline or mobile telephone, with email and instant messaging usually the most common.
  • Financial advice – unsolicited fraudulent financial advice can include offers such as investment seminars, real estate scams, share promotion or telemarketing or other similar tactics.
  • Advance fee fraud – an unwelcome request to transfer money into a person’s bank account. It is usually accompanied by an elaborate or dramatic story which concludes with requesting the respondent’s assistance and account details in order to facilitate the transfer of a large sum of money. This request is normally coupled with a promise of a commission or fee for the respondent’s assistance with the transaction but instead funds are illegally withdrawn from the respondent’s account.

There are some simple practices that you can employ that will help to keep your personal details safe and minimise the risk of falling victim to personal fraud. Some such practices include:

  1.  Use a locked mailbox to send and receive all mail
  2.  Purchase and use a shredder when throwing away documentation such as financial statements, pre-approved credit applications and any tax related forms of correspondence.
  3.  When using popular public networking sites like Facebook and MySpace limit your personal information disclosure as your details can be easily extracted from these platforms and used to steal your identity for criminal purposes.
  4.  If and when you receive credit cards from your financial institution sign them as soon as you receive them.
  5.  Regularly monitor your bank and credit card statements for any incorrect transactions or any irregular debits and promptly report these to the relevant organisation.
  6.  Avoid using public computers, especially for accessing financial information, as they may contain viruses that can capture your personal banking details.
  7.  Install and regularly update security software on your personal and work computer such as personal firewalls, virus and anti-spy protection.
  8.  Generally speaking, it is best to ignore any spam email that is generated from unfamiliar addresses.
  9.  Change your various electronic passwords regularly. This includes PINs, online banking logins and email account passwords.
  10.  Keep your wits about you and logically assess the details of the request or offer before providing your details to any unfamiliar third parties. If necessary, seek professional advice.

As the world moves to using the computer and the internet for more and more aspects of life – from communicating and banking to shopping and searching – fraudsters are constantly developing more sinister and devious ways to capture unsuspecting targets along with still utilising the more traditional methods. Subscribing to the common adage of “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is” could serve you well here. Ask yourself seriously, if it is actually probable that you are the sole heir to a $33 million African fortune, for example.

If you suspect that you may have unfortunately fallen victim to an act of personal fraud please contact us on Report Fraud or  submit an online enquiry. Additionally, please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like more information on how to better protect yourself from becoming a victim of personal fraud. We can help you to ensure that you have the correct procedures in place to protect you and your family’s hard earned money.

Email Scam: COCA-COLA Promotion

COCA-COLA Promotion

This is an email received about “ COCA-COLA Promotion ” is a phishing scam and why not try to contact these people or log onto these sites and enter your data because you risk being stolen.

from:

COCA-COLA Promotion

<m.benjam057@outlook.com>

reply-to:COCA-COLA Promotion

<josedomingo40@gmx.com>

to:
date:Tue, May 10, 2016 at 11:02 AM
subject:View attachment file for more detail
signed-by:yahoo.com

Letter:

THE COCA COLA /TOBACCO COMPANY OFFICIAL PRIZE NOTIFICATION

We are pleased to inform you of the result of the just concluded annual final draws held on the (26th of  February, 2016) by Coca-Cola in     conjunction with the British America Tobacco South Africa , your email was among the 20 Lucky winners who won £50,000.00 each.

THE COCA COLA/TOBACCO COMPANY PROMOTION

 However the results were released on the 25th March, 2016 and your email was attached to ticket number (7PWYZ2016) and ballot number (BT: 12052016/20) The online draws was conducted by a random selection of email addresses from an exclusive list of (29,031) E-mail addresses of individuals and corporate bodies picked by an advanced automated random computer search from the internet. However, no tickets were sold but all email addresses were assigned to different ticket numbers for representation and privacy.

 

 The selection process was carried out through random selection in our computerized email selection machine (TOPAZ) from a database of over 250,000 email addresses drawn from all the continents of the world This Lottery is approved by the South African Gaming Board and also Licensed by the International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR).This lottery is the 3rd of its kind and we intend to sensitize the public.

In Order to claim your £50,000.00 prize winning, which has been deposited in a designated bank? However, you will have to fill the form below and send it to the Promotion manager of THE BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO COMPANY for verification. Then we will issue you a cheque of £50,000.00 in cash and send it to your address in your country.
NAME:…………………………………….               AGE:………………………………….
SEX:………………………………….                          ADDRESS:………………………….
EMAIL:………………………………                        PHONE:……………………………..

OCCUPATION:…………………….                     COUNTRY:………………………….
Please you are advice to complete the form and send it immediately to our Promotion manager through email for prompt collection of your fund from the designated bank.

(CONTACT PROMOTION MANAGER)
Name: MR. JOSE DOMINGO
Phone: +27-60-340-7818
E MAIL:

mr.jdomingo30@gmail.com / mr.jdomingo30@starmail.co.za
Management

http://www.coca-colacompany.com/careers/

 

 

Myrick Clift Beasley Was Sentenced For ID Theft Scheme

FraudsWatch.com

Corporate Hijacker Sentenced in $1.4 Million ID Theft Scheme

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Myrick Clift Beasley, 56, of Las Vegas, was sentenced today to 60 months in prison for mail fraud in connection with a scheme to obtain goods and services on credit using the stolen identities of legitimate, inactive businesses.

“Beasley used his considerable business acumen to develop a scheme to defraud some of the nation’s largest retailers and service providers,” said Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “This was a complex, sophisticated fraud that required a high level of expertise to unravel. I want to thank our investigators and prosecutors for their outstanding work on this case.”

“The FBI works relentlessly to identify and disrupt complex fraud schemes such as this one,” said Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.  “As a result of a thorough criminal investigation, FBI agents and analysts identified this financial predator and brought him to justice.  I want to thank the dedicated FBI personnel, federal prosecutors, and our law enforcement partners for their tireless efforts to ensure that corporate and personal identities are protected and identity thieves are held accountable under the law.”

According to court documents, from 2010 through 2015, Beasley assumed the identity of at least 148 legitimate businesses nationwide, and used those stolen identities to obtain, on credit, at least $1.4 million in goods and services from various victims.  Beasley admitted that, as part of the scheme, he would identify inactive, legitimate businesses that had previously been located in office buildings where virtual office providers were also located.  Beasley admitted that we would assume the inactive businesses’ identities by renting virtual office space in the buildings in the names of the legitimate businesses, creating internet domain names and email addresses in the identified businesses’ names, obtaining phone numbers previously identified with the businesses when available, and, at times, supplementing state corporate filings and commercial credit records with fraudulent information designed to further the scheme.  Beasley admitted that he concealed his true identity throughout the fraud by using false names and paying for the costs of operating his scheme with prepaid debit cards.  Once he would assume a business’s identity, Beasley admitted that he would then order goods and services — particularly, smart phones, computers, and other electronics — from retailers on credit and have the items shipped to the virtual office location, which would then, at his direction, re-ship the items to rented mailboxes elsewhere in the country.  Beasley admitted he would then retrieve the items from the rented mailboxes and sell them.

ID Theft Scheme
ID Theft Scheme

 

Beasley has a history of using his skills to commit fraud. He was convicted for mail fraud in 1989 and again in 1999.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; and Edwin C. Roessler Jr., Chief of the Fairfax County Police Department, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis, III.  Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher R. Fenton and Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul J. Nathanson are prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:15-CR-353.

Original PressRelease …

Gregg R. Mulholland – Orchestrator Of More Than 40 Pump And Dump Schemes And Secret Owner Of Offshore Brokerage Firm

Orchestrator Of More Than 40 Pump And Dump Schemes And Secret Owner Of Offshore Brokerage Firm Pleads Guilty

Orchestrator Of More Than 40 Pump And Dump Schemes And Secret Owner Of Offshore Brokerage Firm Pleads Guilty To$250 Million Money Laundering Scheme

Defendant Used Offshore Shell Companies in Belize and the West Indies to Perpetrate Numerous Schemes, Including the Manipulation of Cynk Technology Corp (CYNK)

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Earlier today, Gregg R. Mulholland, a dual U.S. and Canadian citizen and secret owner of Legacy Global Markets S.A. (Legacy), an offshore broker-dealer and investment management company based in Panama City, Panama, and Belize City, Belize, pleaded guilty to money laundering conspiracy for fraudulently manipulating the stocks of more than 40 U.S. publicly-traded companies and then laundering more than $250 million in profits through at least five offshore law firms.  Pursuant to his plea agreement with the government, Mulholland has agreed to forfeit, among other things, a Dassault-Breguet Falcon 50 aircraft, a Range Rover Defender vehicle, two real estate properties in British Columbia, and funds and securities on deposit at more than a dozen bank and brokerage accounts.  When sentenced, Mulholland faces up to 20 years in prison.

The guilty plea was announced by Robert L. Capers, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Diego Rodriguez, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI); Shantelle P. Kitchen, Special Agent-in-Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, New York (IRS-CI); and Angel M. Melendez, Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations, New York (HSI).

  • “Mulholland’s staggering fraud perpetrated on the investing public was built on an elaborate offshore shell game, which included his secret ownership of an offshore brokerage firm.  Through manipulative trading, Mulholland generated profits of more than $250 million and used a corrupt lawyer to launder the proceeds into the United States to pay his fraudulent network of stock promoters and broker-dealers,” stated United States Attorney Capers.  “We are steadfast in our commitment to protect the investing public and will vigorously prosecute those who seek to abuse the financial markets through fraudulent means.” Mr. Capers thanked the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs (OIA), the Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc., Criminal Prosecution Assistance Group (FINRA CPAG) for their cooperation and assistance in the investigation.
  • “Mulholland pleaded guilty today for his role in a stock manipulation and profit hiding scheme totaling more than $250 million. Making sure our markets are fair to all investors and bringing charges against those who profit illegally remains a top priority for the FBI,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Rodriguez.
  • “This investigation highlights the government’s ability and resolve to combat global money laundering, in this case, the laundering of illicit proceeds from a stock manipulation scheme,” stated IRS-CI Special Agent-in-Charge Kitchen.  “Prospective money launderers should take note of Mr. Mulholland’s conviction and think twice about the consequences of such actions.  The same holds true for individuals who attempt to criminally circumvent IRS reporting requirements regarding foreign accounts, as their actions will attract the attention of IRS-Criminal Investigation.”
  • “Laundering more than a quarter of a billion dollars, this defendant used multiple schemes including manipulating the stocks of more than 40 companies in order to line his pockets at the expense of the U.S. financial system.  HSI remains committed to using its unique authorities to arrest those that seek to conceal and launder illicit proceeds, causing harm to our economy,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Melendez.

Between 2010 and 2014, Mulholland controlled a group of individuals (the Mulholland Group) who together devised three interrelated schemes to: (1) induce U.S. investors to purchase stock in various thinly-traded U.S. public companies through fraudulent promotion of the stock, concealment of their ownership interests in the companies, and fraudulent manipulation of artificial price movements and trading volume in the stocks of those companies; (2) circumvent the IRS’s reporting requirements under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA); and (3) launder the fraudulent proceeds from the stock manipulation schemes to and from the United States through five offshore law firms.  Through these schemes, the Mulholland Group laundered more than $250 million in fraudulent proceeds.

To facilitate the interrelated schemes, the Mulholland Group used shell companies in Belize and Nevis, West Indies, which had nominees at the helm.  This structure was designed to conceal the Mulholland Group’s ownership interest in the stock of U.S. public companies, in violation of U.S. securities laws, and enabled the Mulholland Group to engage in more than 40 “pump and dump” schemes.  For example, this structure enabled the Mulholland Group to manipulate the stock of Cynk Technology Corp, which traded on the U.S. OTC markets under the ticker symbol CYNK.  Using aliases such as “Stamps” and “Charlie Wolf,” Mulholland was intercepted on a court-authorized wiretap on May 15, 2014, admitting to his ownership of “all the free trading” or unrestricted shares of CYNK.  Prior to this conversation between Mulholland and his trader at Legacy, there had been no trading in CYNK stock for 24 trading days.  Over the next two months, the stock of CYNK rose from $0.06 per share to $13.90 per share, a more than $4 billion stock market valuation for a company that had no revenue and no assets.

Mulholland used the services of a U.S.-based lawyer to launder the more than $250 million generated through his stock manipulation of CYNK and other U.S. companies – directing the fraud proceeds to five law firm accounts and transmitting them back to members of the Mulholland Group and its co-conspirators.  These concealment schemes also enabled Mulholland to evade reporting requirements to the IRS.

Today’s guilty plea took place before United States District Judge I. Leo Glasser.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Business and Securities Fraud Section.  Assistant United States Attorneys Jacquelyn Kasulis, Winston Paes, and Michael Keilty are in charge of the prosecution.  Assistant United States Attorney Brian Morris of the Office’s Civil Division will be responsible for the forfeiture of assets.

The charges were brought in connection with the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.  The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.  With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices, and state and local partners, it is the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory, and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud.  Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state, and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets; and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions, and other organizations.  Since fiscal year 2009, the Justice Department has filed over 18,000 financial fraud cases against more than 25,000 defendants.  For more information on the task force, please visit www.StopFraud.gov.

The Defendant:

GREGG R. MULHOLLAND
Age:  46
San Juan Capistrano, California
Vancouver, Canada

EDNY Docket No. 14-CR-476 (ILG)

[mks_separator style=”double” height=”2″]

Original PressRelease

OLAF – Fighting The Illicit Activities of Organised Criminals In The Field of EU Financing

OLAF

OLAF and the Italian National Prosecutor exchange expertise

 

EU funding provides opportunities to generate economic growth and to promote job creation across Europe. It is crucial that this funding fulfils its purpose and does not fall into the hands of networks of organised criminals whose sole intention is to draw illicit profit, defrauding the EU and national budgets alike. Given the increased need for coordinated action by law enforcement agencies to combat illicit activities, the OLAF Director-General, Giovanni Kessler, met with the Italian National Anti-Mafia and Anti-Terrorism Prosecutor, Franco Roberti, in Rome this week.  

The discussion focussed on the possible infiltration of criminal networks in the processes of applying for and receiving EU agricultural funds. A roundtable was organised by the National Anti-Mafia and Anti-Terrorism Directorate (DNAA) between OLAF investigators specialised in this field and several national prosecutors from the Italian regions most affected by this phenomenon. They discussed better ways to coordinate their investigative activities and to reinforce their cooperation, within the ambit of their respective competences. With a view to further strengthening the protection of the EU’s financial interests, the representatives of OLAF and the DNAA also exchanged views on a possible formal update of the existing Cooperation Arrangement that exists between the two bodies. This would allow OLAF and the DNAA to boost the efficiency of their joint work, identifying complex fraud structures and bringing fraudsters to justice more promptly.

OLAF mission, mandate and competences:

OLAF’s mission is to detect, investigate and stop fraud with EU funds.

OLAF fulfils its mission by:

  • carrying out independent investigations into fraud and corruption involving EU funds so as to ensure that all EU taxpayers’ money reaches projects that can stimulate the creation of jobs and growth in Europe;
  • contributing to strengthening citizens’ trust in the EU Institutions by investigating serious misconduct by EU staff and members of the EU Institutions;
  • developing a sound EU anti-fraud policy.

In its independent investigative function, OLAF can investigate matters relating to fraud, corruption and other offences affecting the EU financial interests concerning:

  • all EU expenditure: the main spending categories are Structural Funds, agricultural policy and rural development funds, direct expenditure and external aid;
  • some areas of EU revenue, mainly customs duties;
  • suspicions of serious misconduct by EU staff and members of the EU institutions.

 

[columns_row width=”half”]
[column]

Silvana ENCULESCU

Silvana ENCULESCU
Deputy Spokesperson
European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF)
Phone: +32 2 29 81764 
E-mail: olaf-media@ec.europa.eu
http://ec.europa.eu/anti_fraud
Twitter: @OLAFPress [/column][column]

 

Alina BUREA
Alina BUREA

Alina BUREA
Spokesperson
European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF)
Phone: +32 2 29 57336 
E-mail: olaf-media@ec.europa.eu
http://ec.europa.eu/anti_fraud
Twitter: @OLAFPress

[/column]
[/columns_row]

Lee Vaccaro Charged In $5 Million Investment Fraud Scheme

Nevada Man Charged In $5 Million Investment Fraud Scheme

Nevada Man Charged In $5 Million Investment Fraud Scheme

NEWARK, N.J. – A Nevada man was arrested today and charged with defrauding investors out of more than $5 million dollars, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Lee Vaccaro, 44, of Las Vegas, Nevada, was arrested by special agents of the FBI and charged by complaint with one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and one count of securities fraud. He is scheduled to appear later today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor in Newark federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Vaccaro and “Conspirator #1” allegedly sold investors interests in companies they controlled, and falsely represented to investors that the companies held warrants in eAgency, a California-based company developing mobile security products. Warrants are derivative securities that give the holder the right to purchase common stock at a specific price within a certain time frame.

Vaccaro and conspirator #1 allegedly made oral and written misrepresentations concerning the existence, number, validity, and term of eAgency warrants purportedly owned by the investment companies, as well as about the amount of money conspirator #1 had personally invested in and raised for eAgency, and conspirator #1’s current position at eAgency.

Vaccaro and conspirator #1 also allegedly created and showed to investors numerous forged documents purporting to reflect the issuance of warrants to entities controlled by Vaccaro, and the transfer of those warrants to a company controlled by conspirator #1. Most of the eAgency warrants purportedly transferred by Vaccaro to conspirator #1’s company had, in fact, never been issued.

Beginning in January 2011, the dollar amount of interests Vaccaro and conspirator #1 sold in the investment companies began to surpass the dollar amount of valid warrants held by the investment companies. Neither Vaccaro nor conspirator #1 disclosed to investors the risk that their investments would be diluted by the sale of additional interests in the companies.

Vaccaro and conspirator #1’s actions allegedly defrauded investors of more than $5 million.

The conspiracy to commit securities fraud count carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, or twice the gross amount of pecuniary gain or loss resulting from the offense. The securities fraud count carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $5 million.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark, for the investigation. He also thanked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s New York Regional Office, under the direction of Sanjay Wadhwa and the New Jersey Bureau of Securities, under the direction of Laura Posner.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Shapiro of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.

If you believe you are a victim of or otherwise have information concerning this alleged scheme, you are encouraged to contact the FBI at 973-792-3000.

The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Today’s charges are part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.  With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices, and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud.  Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets; and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations.  Since fiscal year 2009, the Justice Department has filed over 18,000 financial fraud cases against more than 25,000 defendants.  For more information on the task force, please visit www.StopFraud.gov

Defense counsel: Robert C. Scrivo Esq., Newark

 

Original PressRelease…

Various Online Payment Options and Tips to Avoid Fraud in It

Tips to Avoid Fraud

With businesses spreading wide across the globe, several people are encouraged to start their business online and earn their living. However, the main question that runs in everyone’s head is how to make payments online when one is sitting far away from the company he is tied up to. People also worry about how to receive payments for the work they do. Due to this fear, people usually fret in making online payments as they are afraid of revealing their financial details online. The lack of knowledge adds to the problem more when one needs to make or receive online payments.

Making payments online is one big necessity for home based business holders and small entrepreneurs. With the advancement in technology, transferring of funds and receiving them has become very flexible over the years. It is popularly known as e-commerce payment method, where all the transactions are done electronically, i.e. online. The method has become popular due to increasing popularity of online shopping, online business and e-banking.

Tips to Avoid FraudTo get acquainted with online payment options one must be aware with the basic terminology relating to it to avoid confusion. When you are into a business there will be something you will come across is the merchant account. It is a bank account you can use to receive payment and even send it. It is linked particularly with the credit card or debit card you use. There is a payment gateway, which is a passage or a portal where one can safely pass the card information to the merchant. The payment which a customer sends is then processed by a payment processor. Payment processor is a company that handles the transactions and implements several policies to be careful from the fraud which is likely to happen. Thus these are the very basic terminology to get started with online payment.

In all these years, and event till today, credit card is the leading and most preferred mode of online payment. However if you own a website or an internet based business, you need to study various other factors also like your product cost and easy payment options which your customers might prefer. Making your website flexible in payment transfer will also help attract more customers in turn helping in pushing your business upwards. There are various alternate payment methods now in market which are gaining popularity at such a higher rate that more and more people have started preferring to use them without any misconceptions in their minds.

Two of the very widely used among the online business owners is PayPal and Alert Pay. PayPal is a leading name in the industry that is secure and quick. It offers its customers independent account or one can link it with the credit card. It’s got various other options too, to transfer payments and to get paid. It has no monthly or set up fees but only charges some amount when you are engaged into a transaction.

Another of most widely used contemporaries of PayPal is Google Checkout which avails its services to millions of users. There are other various payments options like 2CheckOut.com, Amazon Payments, Authorize.Net and Brain Tree.com

Thus there are several of payment options available and it is on you to decide that suits your criteria and dealings. The list is huge and the options here mentioned are exemplified to make you aware about the big heads of the field.

Another very important thing that comes in notice when using online payments is the security. There are security guidelines and terms and conditions laid down by the merchant accounts, banks, payment gateways and payment processors. They work into that limit to ensure the customer’s privacy and safety as they reveal credit card numbers, bank accounts and so on. Online frauds have increased in number due to hackers as they dupe the customers by storing their personal data. Cyber crimes have also been reported in last few years and the hackers do have their eye on big heads of the industry.

One of the best ways to be protected from such scams is to read carefully all the security terms and conditions of the service you are likely to use. It is to be vigilant on our part to avoid frauds. Credit card service providers also advice its users to not pass their personal data online to any one whom you don’t trust or the companies that are non-validated. One must not answer to emails or pop-up pages that directly ask you to provide the banking details and credit card details.

In case you suspect any undesirable or forced transaction, it is your responsibility to contact the service provider and immediately block the card or the transaction.

It is also advisable not to use in public places and other user computers to make payments or even use the function of net banking. One very good solution to avoid this problem is to have a good and licensed version of anti-spyware or anti-virus software installed in your PC which you use for transacting online.

Thus using alternative payment methods is a very good option as it ensures the safety of its customers. They are vigilant on their part as they do not wish to lose their customers and company’s reputation. A little responsibility lies on our shoulder too, to be careful in passing on personal information and which company to choose. Some of the methods mentioned above will definitely help in avoiding scams, Phishing or Duplication etc.

 

Securing Your Data From the Bad Guys

Despite popular belief, hackers do not tend to don balaclavas or ensure their tie is straight before they begin their silent attacks on our infrastructures, however we do seem to associate this ‘bank robber-esque’ image with the activity of hacking and IT security.

In today’s world, security is a way of life for all of us, you only have to go to the airport and you will be reminded of how serious it can get. For technologists the securing of data is no doubt ‘business as usual’, but as we evolve more complex methods to present our services and allow users to interact with them, the greater the risk becomes.

How secure is secure?

Securing Your Data
Securing Your Data

Securing your infrastructure can take considerable effort, and getting the correct level of security in place, at the right level, is key. It is easy to over-engineer a solution that may impact the entire user experience. On the other hand, a poorly designed solution will require greater effort at the other end in maintaining and monitoring, and may even result in sleepless nights…

When designing an approach, infrastructure, application and the data layer must be viewed as a whole, or you may secure one layer but leave another open to attack. Some questions to consider, do you want to use a DMZ (“demilitarized zone”) and open ports on your internal Firewall for every service required? Or do you want to simply keep everything on the internal side so as not to turn your Firewall into ‘Swiss cheese?’. Then there is the CMZ (“Classified Militarized Zone”) which, by choice, contains your sensitive data and is monitored to an extreme degree to ensure it is protected at all costs. When presenting data do you use a staging database in a different subnet to limit the chance of a direct connection to your back-end data layer? Will you consider emerging proactive database monitoring tools such as Fortinet’s FortiDB?

Of course, your approach will depend on the services you are exposing and every vendor will have a different set of options for you to choose from.

Good practise

The annual security review and PenTest, while still important, is now giving way to more ‘live’ security reporting and analysis to provide you with assurance that your data is safe. Many security vendors now offer proactive monitoring of your external services to ensure that known exploits have not accidentally been opened up by trigger happy Firewall administrators.

Some simple good practise can make a real difference, such as ensuring your have multi-vendor firewalls separating your networks. This may seem like an expensive luxury at first but It means that any would-be attacker has two highly complex firewall technologies to overcome instead of just one. It also means that in the rare case a vendor’s firewall has a known weakness it is unlikely that the second vendor will have the same exploit, reducing the chances of an attackers success.

Ensuring your systems are patched to current levels is also an essential activity in the battle against the hacker.

But let’s not just limit this to technology itself, ‘change control’, as a process, is an important defensive weapon against ‘human error’ that might otherwise cost you dearly. Knowing what needs to be changed, gaining approval, planning who will do the work and when, along with ensuring a full impact assessment is carried out, will save you a lot of pain later on.

Who are these bad guys?

So who are your would-be attackers? Well they can take many different forms from hobbyists or students experimenting with port scanners and looking to see if there are any ports open on your firewall to the more savvy hacker who knows how to handle SQL injection scripts. Some do it for fun, others do it for kudos but the serious hackers are often linked to organised crime and even cyber terrorism. Serious money can change hands for data that has been pillaged.

In most cases the attack vector will be your database. This is where an attacker can collect personal details about your customers, harvest passwords and login details, collect credit card data, or even worse, medical history and other ‘sensitive’ data. While these data assets may be hashed and salted using complex encryption techniques the reality faced is that many organisations suffer immense reputational damage having to admit publicly that the data was stolen in the first place even if there is no chance the data could be unencrypted.

Attacks from within, by members of staff, are also now common place. Take the recent account of Aviva where two members of staff acquired data on customers recent insurance claims and sold it to claims management companies.

It’s also wise to not assume that a hacker will always attack from the perimeter of your network from an obscure eastern country. Keeping the front door locked but leaving the back door open can be a perfect way for a determined hacker to gain access. Local attacks are as much a risk as remote attacks…

The Tiger hunts…

For example if a hacker know’s where your office is located (Let’s be honest, Google will show them the front door!) he may attempt to access your premises as the air-conditioning or printer repair man. Of course he’s not on the list of expected visitors, so off reception go to find out the score from facilities management leaving the reception desk unattended. Our hacker printer repair man pulls out a WiFi router and loops it to the back of the reception PC and hides it behind the desk. The receptionist returns and informs our hacker printer repair man, that no repairs are scheduled… “It must be a mix up at HQ” he says and politely leaves. He now heads for his car and connects over WiFi to the router he has just planted, he now has access to your LAN and the attack begins… This activity is often done by ‘Ethical Hackers’ who are paid by companies to find weaknesses in their security processes and is known as a ‘Tiger Attack’. It could however be a real event if your data is valuable enough to an organised crime syndicate or someone who wants to damage your companies reputation.

Sadly, the weakest link in data security is almost always the Human. Socially engineered attacks are the first weapon in the arsenal of the hacker. With it they can pose as your local Service Desk team and email unsuspecting staff of an ‘urgent security breech’ that requires them to change their password immediately. Your staff are super trained in security and data protection, the email has the company logo and looks genuine, so the security conscious staff member clicks on the link to change their password. Once complete the member of staff feels proud that they have dutifully followed the security advice and probably begins encouraging the rest of the team to do the same… Little do they know they have just typed their username and password into a fake (phishing) website page where our hacker will harvest and use the details entered to access services like Outlook Web Access in order to read sensitive emails, or a VPN service to gain remote access to the network.

However, since we always use different passwords for all our internet accounts there is absolutely no chance that our hacker might use the same harvested details to access our personal eBay, PayPal or other financially related site… right?

My account(s) is/are secure!

One of the best examples of how determined hackers can be using your login details is the account of Mat Honan who works as a writer for Wired.com, it’s a cautionary tale that all should read. In this example the hacker actually used multiple account/password recovery methods to ultimately gain access to Mat’s Twitter account, along the way they left a trail of digital devastation… One thing it highlights is the risk posed by login and recovery processes not following a standard.

So there you have it, how secure do you feel right now? I write this particular article not to fill you with dread or fear, but just to trigger some ‘common sense’ thinking around how you protect both your organisations and your personal on-line security and ultimately defend yourself from those pesky bad guys who all wear balaclavas and nice ties…

 

Job Growth in Criminal Justice Field

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that careers in the criminal justice field will grow rapidly between now and 2016. In the next few years paralegal, investigator, private detective and police officer jobs are predicted to grow between 11-22 percent.

Although a bachelor’s or master’s degree is not always required, a criminal justice degree is often preferred by law enforcement departments. It gives you a strong basis of knowledge when later working for a Police Department, Sheriff’s Office, State Patrol or the Federal Government.

Many departments give a substantial percentage of salary increase per educational level completed, and promotions are often quicker and better for officers with a higher education degree. In addition, there’s a growing trend amongst law enforcement agencies to offer tuition reimbursement.

“I believe that the degree will be well worth it when I look back on my career,” said a deputy sheriff when I asked him about his master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Boston University’s online program.

“A master’s degree in Criminal Justice can help those who are looking for work by giving them an advantage in the initial hiring process. Employers know that a candidate with a master’s degree has intelligence, is dedicated, and is a person who is willing to work hard,” he says. “Experience is also extremely important, but education can help individuals earn life experience and broaden their understanding of the criminal justice field.”

Criminal Justice Field
Criminal Justice Field

The federal government is offering the deputy and all those working in a federal or county capacity the federal loan forgiveness program, which will pay for the remaining of his school debt after ten years of service.

Criminal justice is a field of innumerable possibilities, and not just in law enforcement. Political science, corrections management and criminal law are some of the specialized areas of study, as well as security, corrections, emergency response, crisis management, information technology, the court system, social work and case management.

Opportunities for graduates include with federal agencies like the FBI, CIA, ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms), the Secret Service, Customs, DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency), INS, and the Border Patrol. Local options include careers as a state trooper, SBI agent, detective, investigator, security specialist, and in the corrections department as a corrections, parole or probation officer.

Criminal justice can also lead to professions in law such as a lawyer, legal assistant, paralegal, court administrator, judge or magistrate, and in military and defense agencies leading to a career as a military police officer or investigator, criminologist, crime scene investigator, or forensic scientist. Other opportunities include: in gaming surveillance as a conservation officer, in colleges and universities as lectures and professors, and in the field of cyber crime and white-collar crime detection and prevention. When you decide what specialization you might be interested in, you will want to conduct more specific research. No matter what career you decide to pursue, a degree in criminal justice will be a strong foundation to have.

You may also consider whether an associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s degree is right for you:

  • An associate’s degree in criminal justice will give you a general overview of the criminal justice system, including policing and corrections, the court system and juvenile justice. For many departments an associate’s degree is the minimum requirement for becoming a police officer or sheriff’s deputy.
  • A bachelor’s degree can introduce you to a specialized field within criminal justice. An added concentration can prepare you for careers in corrections, forensics, juvenile justice or crime scene investigation. A criminal justice bachelor’s degree with a technology focus, for example, could help you get a job working in the realm of computer crime and cyber security.
  • A master’s degree can advance your career from the start or advance you professionally if you’re already working in the field. Courses focus on more specialized areas, such as criminology, juvenile law and criminal court systems.

“Higher education helps those going into the work force sharpen their writing skills, gain knowledge of the law, and learn about arresting procedures,” the deputy with his master’s from BU told me. Among the specialized areas he studied were criminology, white collar crime, terrorism and victimology. “There are, however, many other practical applications that one can only learn while on the job,” he has realized, and he named handcuffing, firearm tactics and processing evidence as a few examples.

“Getting a criminal justice degree is as academically challenging as an engineering or mathematics program,” says Don Schneidmiller, a Deputy Chief with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. He recommends choosing a challenging program with instructors who have experience in the field, and to make sure the curriculum is broad so that you learn all aspects of the criminal justice system.

Most importantly, Schneidmiller believes, if you are interested in a criminal justice degree: “It is critical that students know they’ll be held to an extremely high moral and ethical standard,” Schneidmiller advises. “They need to start holding themselves to that standard now.”

 

David Weaver and Crystal Serfass Pleaded Guilty To The Armed Robberies

Armed Robberies

Junedale Couple Pleads Guilty To Four Armed Bank Robberies And The Armed Robbery Of A Store

SCRANTON – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that David Weaver, age 41, and Crystal Serfass, age 31, both of Junedale, Carbon County, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to the armed robberies of four banks and a store.

Weaver and Serfass pleaded guilty before Senior United States District Court Judge James M. Munley in Federal Court yesterday in Scranton.  During the guilty plea hearing, each admitted to all charges contained in a five-count Criminal Information which alleges that they committed the following armed robberies:

  • the robbery ofthe Jim Thorpe National Bank, Penn Forest Township, on September 17, 2013;
  • the robbery of the National Penn Bank, Drums, on August 8, 2014;
  • the robbery of Jim Thorpe Neighborhood Bank, Penn Forest Township, on November 18, 2014;
  • the robbery of the ESSA Bank and Trust, Brodheadsville, on December 26, 2014;
  • the robbery of the Dollar General, Nesquehoning, on November 16, 2014.

During each of the robberies, Weaver brandished a firearm to intimidate the employees.  Serfass helped plan and acted as a driver for each of the crimes.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Pennsylvania State Police.  Prosecution is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney John Gurganus.

Indictments and Criminal Informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.

A sentence following a finding of guilty is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

In this particular case, the maximum penalty under the federal statutes is up to 120 years’ imprisonment.  Both face a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine if convicted. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendants, protect the public and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.

Phishing, Fraudulent, and Malicious Websites

Phishing, Fraudulent, and Malicious Websites

Whether we like it or not, we are all living in the Information Age. We have nothing left but adapt to rapidly developing information technology, no matter who we are and what we do for living.

The Internet, in particular, means for us boundless opportunities in life and business – but also lots of dangers unheard of just a decade ago. We should be aware of these dangers if we want to use the huge potential of the Internet and to avoid the hazards it brings us.

Warning: There are Websites You’d Better Not Visit

Phishing websites

Thanks to authors of numerous articles on this topic, “classic” phishing technique is relatively well known. This scam involves setting bogus websites and luring people to visit them, as a rule, by links in emails. Phishing website is disguised to look like a legitimate one — of a bank or a credit card company, and users are invited to provide their identifying information. Sites of this kind are used solely to steal users’ passwords, PIN numbers, SSNs and other confidential information.

At first phishing consisted only of a social engineering scam in which phishers spammed consumer e-mail accounts with letters ostensibly from banks. The more people got aware of the scam, the less spelling mistakes these messages contained, and the more these fraudulent websites resembled legitimate ones. Phishers are getting smarter. They eagerly learn; there is enough money involved here to turn criminals into earnest students.

Keyloggers and Trojans

Since about November 2004 there has been a lot of publications of a scheme which at first was seen as a new kind of phishing. This technique includes contaminating a PC with a Trojan horse program. The problem is that this Trojan contains a keylogger which lurks at the background until the user of the infected PC visits one of the specified websites. Then the keylogger comes to life to do what it was created for — to steal information.

It seems that this technique is actually a separate scam aimed at stealing personal information and such attacks are on the rise. Security vendor Symantec warns about commercialisation of malware — cyber-criminals prefer cash to fun, so various kinds of information-stealing software are used more actively.

Fraudulent websites are on the rise

Websense Security Labs — a well-known authority in information security — noticed a dramatic rise in the number of fraudulent websites as far back as in the second half of 2004. These sites pose as ones for e-commerce; they encourage users to apply for a reward or purchase something, of course never delivering the product or paying money. The most popular areas for such fraud are online pharmacies, lottery scams, and loan / mortgage sites. Experts predict there will be more fake merchants in future and their scams will become more sophisticated.

A Hybrid Scam

In April Panda Software warned Internet users of a new particularly brazen scam aimed at stealing confidential information. The technique used here looks like a hybrid between phishing and a fraudulent website.

Panda Software identified several websites offering cheap airline tickets which in fact weren’t selling anything; the aim was to cheat users out of credit card details.

This scam is very simple; the thieves simply wait until some unsuspecting user who is searching for, say, airline ticket offers, finds their site offering dirt-cheap airline tickets. Really pleased with himself and looking forward to the trip, the user fills in the form, entering his credit card number, expiry date and verification value (CVV).

As soon as these details have been entered, an error page appears; it tells the user that the transaction has been unsuccessful, and offers instructions on how to pay for the ticket by postal money order. So the user may well be fooled twice. He loses his credit card details, putting them right into the hands of cyber-crooks, and then loses money, if decides to buy the ticket by money order.

Of course, these sites have already been disabled, but who knows whether (or better to say when) other ones will appear again, this time offering all kinds of products.

Malicious websites are especially dangerous. Cyber-criminals create them exclusively to execute malicious code on the visitors’ computers. Sometimes hackers infect legitimate sites with malicious code.

Bad news for blog readers: blogs can be contaminated, too. Since January, Websense Security Labs has discovered hundreds of these “toxic” blogs set by hackers.

When unsuspecting users visit malicious sites, various nasty applications are downloaded and executed on their computers. Unfortunately, more and more often these applications contain keyloggers–software programs for intercepting data.

Keyloggers, as it is clear from the name of the program, log keystrokes –but that’s not all. They capture everything the user is doing — keystrokes, mouse clicks, files opened and closed, sites visited. A little more sophisticated programs of this kind also capture text from windows and make screenshots (record everything displayed on the screen) – so the information is captured even if the user doesn’t type anything, just opens the views the file.

In February and March 2005, Websense Security Labs researched and identified about 8-10 new keylogger variants and more than 100 malicious websites which are hosting these keyloggers EACH WEEK. From November of 2004 through December 2004 these figures were much smaller: 1-2 new keylogger variants and 10-15 new malicious websites per week. There is by all means a disturbing tendency–the number of brand-new keyloggers and malicious website is growing, and growing rapidly.

What a user can do to avoid these sites?

As for phishing, the best advice is not to click any links in any email, especially if it claims to be from a bank.
Opening an attachment of a spam message can also trigger the execution of malicious program, for example a keylogger or a keylogger-containing Trojan horse.

As for fraudulent websites, maybe buying goods only from trusted vendors will help — even if it is a bit more expensive.

As for malicious websites… “Malicious websites that host adult entertainment and shopping content can exploit Internet Explorer vulnerabilities to run code remotely without user interaction.”(a quote from the Websense’s report). What can a user do about it? Not much, but avoiding adult sites and buying only from known and trusted online stores will reduce the risk.

Hackers also attract traffic to malicious websites by sending a link through spam or spim (the analog of spam for instant messaging (IM). So a good advice never follow links in spam is worth remembering once more.

It’s Called Sexting and It’s a Crime

Sexting

The cell phone has revolutionized the way communications take place in today’s culture.The world of Star Trek has reached beyond the big screen to become a modern day technological tool that has made wireless communication a common day occurrence for millions of people. No longer are consumers bound to hard-wired telephones of years past, the cellular phone has made it possible to communicate with just about anyone, anywhere.Advances in technology have taken cell phones from the size of a brick to the size of a credit card, and now incorporates a host of new features, including Internet-enabled cameras that capture images and record video that can be uploaded to the Web.

No longer just a tool for business, cell phones are now used to link individuals together, and are increasingly being used by teens and pre-teens to communicate with one another.Thousands of text messages travel wirelessly from phone to phone as a new generation of cell phone users chat endlessly back and forth.These next generation phones also share text, video and digital images quickly and efficiently.

But it’s not just pictures of Fido and Calico that are being shared one with another.A recent study shows that 1 in 5 teen and pre-teen cell phone users are using their wireless phones to send inappropriate or nude pictures (or video) of themselves with other cell phone users.Often sent from girlfriend to boyfriend (following a trend set by two of the stars of High School Musical), these pictures are often shared with others without the sender’s knowledge or consent.Whether forwarded to others to brag, or as a means of retaliation in the event of an argument, the end result is often humiliation, embarrassment, or degradation of the person featured in the shared image.

Teens Sexting
Teens Sexting

The practice is called “Sexting” and it’s a crime. Yet few juveniles (and fewer parents) know this is the case.In some states, sexting is a misdemeanor, but in a growing number of others it is a felony. An increasing number of states view this as the transmission of child pornography (and prosecute it as such) if the images are of someone under the age of 18 (or if inappropriate images are sent to someone under age 18). And the courts are not just “slapping the wrist” of offenders any longer; as the proliferation of cases are filtering into the courts.

In a recent case in Florida, a 17-year old girl sent a nude picture of herself to her 18-year old boyfriend. After an argument, the 18-year old boy sent the nude picture to everyone in the girl’s “friends” list, which unbeknownst to him included her teachers, parents, and close friends.The young man was arrested, charged and convicted of transmitting child pornography via an electronic medium and was ordered to register as a sex offender. He lost his job, was kicked out of college, and is unable to live with his Father because his dad lives too close to a school. He was also ordered to go through a sex offender’s rehabilitation class, and will remain on the registered sex offender’s list until the age of 45. His picture is featured on the state’s website, and has to daily deal with the humiliation and embarrassment for his actions.

The young girl who sent him the picture also faced embarrassment, ridicule and humiliation from friends and others who heard about the high profile case. The lives of two families were forever damaged because a young girl thought it “cool” to send naked pictures of herself to her boyfriend and subsequently having those images forwarded (without her knowledge or consent) to others by her boyfriend after a fight. Both actions were wrong, and both individuals (as well as their families) have had to deal with the consequences of wrong choices… and for the young boy, those consequences will follow him for the next 25-30 years.

In Pennsylvania, three girls who sent nude or partially nude pictures of themselves to three boys in their school now face felony charges of distributing child pornography. A Texas eighth grader was jailed for sending a nude picture of himself to another student. In Virginia, two boys (ages 15 and 18) have been charged with solicitation and possession of child pornography with intent to distribute after law enforcement learned the teens sought nude pictures from three juveniles, one in elementary school. According to a report issued by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, of the 2100 children who were identified as victims of online porn, 1 in 4 initially sent the images to themselves. Some did it for fun, and others were tricked by adults they met online.

In another case in Pennsylvania, a 15-year old girl has been charged for sending nude pictures of herself over the Internet to a 27 year old she met online. The intent was not to jail her, but to help her get counseling and other help she needs, according to the District Attorney handling the case. He added the 27 year old has been sentenced to 10 years for having sex with the juvenile. In Ohio, 8 teens have been arrested for trading nude pictures of themselves with others.One of the girl’s fathers found the images and reported authorities.

Yet every day this practice continues, and is proliferating at an alarming rate among today’s youth.

Cyber-bullying is the use of any electronic medium to humiliate, ridicule, intimidate, embarrass, threaten or abuse another person. In a culture that uses sex to sell everything from underwear to toothpaste, today’s teens and preteens often have no sense or morality when it comes to decency standards.In the 1960’s, TV censors would not permit open-mouthed kisses to be shown, and even married couples slept in separate twin beds on many TV shows. A generation later, little (if anything) is left to the imagination…even in prime time. Music videos, movies, soap operas, and even (so-called) family television shows continue to push the decency boundaries to the point that few, if any, moral standards are enforced by the FCC. Today’s teens and pre-teens see so many sex acts on TV, they have accepted the lack of decency standards as normal.

Coupled with a growing lack of parental supervision and guidance, today’s youth lack moral restraint and see no problem with sending inappropriate or nude pictures of themselves to others (or posting them online). What they don’t understand is that once an image is posted on the Internet, it is forever there and can’t be removed. Today’s technology archives virtually all email, as well as postings to social networking (and other) websites. And images sent to another person’s cell phone are now outside their control and can be posted to a website or shared with others without their knowledge or consent. Once forwarded to other cell phones by a third party, those images can be forwarded to countless others anywhere in the world.

But it’s not just teens and pre-teens who are engaging in this activity. A small but growing number of adults, including married spouses, are sending inappropriate or nude pictures of themselves over cell phones. Those who should know better (and be setting a positive example for the younger generation to follow) are sadly illustrating a disturbing lack of conscience and moral fortitude by engaging in sexting.

The saddest part of sexting is that the act of cyber-bullying starts with the individual who actually sends a picture of himself (or herself) to another person. Sexting is humiliating to the person who sends his or her picture to another, whether they realize it or not…and this is compounded when those images are shared with others either by cell phone or posting online. The young girl who takes an inappropriate picture of herself and sends it to her boyfriend is just as guilty of cyber-bullying as the boyfriend who shares it with others. Both acts are immoral, and could be considered a crime.

What many teens and pre-teens don’t consider now is the long term implications of impulsive, foolish choices made today. Imagine the shock when a prospective employer conducts a background check on a recent high school or college graduate only to find inappropriate or nude pictures posted in a number of Internet archives. As previously stated, these images, once posted, are there forever and can be accessible to anyone who has Internet access. As these teens and pre-teens marry in the future, and their children begin to search online, how will these parents explain the fact their suggestive, inappropriate, or naked images are there?

A question that deserves to be asked is why do children need cell phones in the first place? While they do provide a measure of convenience (and security), the vast majority of children use cell phones solely for pleasure and not for other purposes. Parents spend hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars each year to provide cell phones almost exclusively so they can talk to their friends, play games, or engage in web-based activities using their phones. And if the child is given a phone primarily for communication purposes with their family (or emergencies), do they really need a gadget-laden phone with all the bells and whistles (including Internet access or image capture capabilities)? Would not a basic cell phone suffice? How many instances are there where a landline is not readily available that a cell phone is a necessity, and not a luxury? If children are given a cell phone, are they mature enough to use it appropriately?

Plus there are no studies on the long-term health risks associated with cell phone use by children into adulthood.

It is important to note that if a parent is providing a cell phone to a child, and paying for the service, they should understand they could be held liable in any civil action taken by others as a result of an inappropriate use of the cell phone by their children. Some federal legislators are even considering a measure that would hold parents criminally liable if the child’s phone is used for sexting or other inappropriate uses.

Parents should talk to their children about cell phone use (and etiquette). They should also regularly check their children’s cell phones (and social networking sites, like Facebook, Orkut and MySpace) to make sure that there are no inappropriate images or content therein. As parents could be held liable for the content stored on or transmitted by their children’s cell phones, they have a vested interest in actively monitoring that phone’s usage. Children should understand the potential ramifications of posting inappropriate or nude pictures of themselves or others on cell phones or the Internet (including email), and that the consequences of these wrong choices can be devastating to themselves and others.

It’s called “sexting”, and it’s a crime.

 

How to Avoid Chargeback Hell – Fraud in Your Site

Avoid Chargeback Hell

It’s a fact. On-line merchants are being scammed everyday out of their hard earned money. Surprisingly, the internet is full of advice for customers to avoid being scammed by on-line retailers and action sites. Precious little is found for the other side of the transaction. But it’s no secret. Here’s how it usually works.

You have a customer who buys a product or service on your website. The sale passes all your fraud filters: the address matches the AVS (Address Verification System) and the CVV security code also matches. The card transaction is successful. Are you home free?

Not by a long shot. I have been scammed several times and I’ve learned a little more each time. During this period, I’ve asked questions of credit card fraud personnel, retail and wholesale merchants and police. I’ve learned some valuable lessons the hard way. While you can’t cut all risk from these “blind” transactions, you can reduce your vulnerabilities. And in the end, it’s up to you as a merchant to safeguard your income from these scam artists.

To be fair, certain circumstances do warrant a credit card chargeback. There are dishonest merchants who mislead in their advertisements and some are downright frauds who “take the money and run.” And misunderstandings do occur between buyer and seller that cannot be reconciled. Perhaps the buyer claims he or she did not receive the item even though you have proof of delivery. What then? We’ll write more on this later.

Briefly, here are some common red flags that may indicate fraud or at least the possibility of an eventual chargeback.

1. A shipping address that’s different from a billing address. Some are legitimate so you can’t cross these off your list entirely. But these transactions warrant further investigation.

2. A large order well outside your usual order. And if the buyer waits a week or two and orders big again, you may have two very big problems. When the stolen card holder discovers the fraud and charges back, you’ll lose very big. Remember, credit card processors will take their money back from you first and ask questions later.

3. A buyer who needs that large order quickly, usually overnight. That’s quite expensive, you say? The buyer won’t care about cost if he has no intention of paying anyway.

4. A customer who asks about your return policy. Sound strange? It’s not. This customer has “returns” on the mind even before receiving the merchandise. The odds are this transaction will come back to haunt you. If you question the customer, bam! CHARGEBACK!

What to do? There is no way to make your business absolutely scam proof. Identity theft artists have become quite sophisticated in their evil ways. Here are the extra steps I’ve taken. Perhaps you can incorporate some in your own anti-scamming procedure.

  • Make sure all the pertinent risk controls are turned on at your merchant processor’s administration panel. The main controls to turn on are AVS and CVV (3 or 4 digit security code). International orders are riskier than US orders and you have little to no recourse disputing a chargeback from a foreign customer. You can turn off “international” with most card processors.
  • Sign up for an on-line e-mail, name/address, and phone look-up service. Yes, some information you can get free but you’ll have to pay for more detailed information. It’s a worthy investment. These databases aren’t foolproof, but it will help put your mind at ease if everything checks out.
  • Call the customer if you are suspicious. You’ll quickly see if this is a spam phone number. You can set your own dollar threshold on whom to call. Decide what you can afford to lose. Verify all order details, especially the credit card billing information.
  • Spell out your return policy on your website in clear language. Often times it’s wiser to process the return or exchange no matter when it happens because the customer can chargeback the order and put you through the ringer. It’s your call.
  • For large suspicious orders, I ask the customer to send a money order or cashier’s check. I present it as part of our online store policy for large orders. You may lose the sale but it’s better than losing it in a chargeback. Your credit card processor charges extra for chargebacks. They can suspend your account or raise your rates if they see too many chargebacks.
  • If you accept PayPal, a shipment to a verified address (part of the seller protection) can give you some peace of mind.
  • For at-risk orders, send your order through UPS or Fed Ex and ask for a signature. It costs you more and, yes, the customer is rarely home during delivery times. But if notified, the buyer usually will make arrangements if they know which day the package is expected to arrive. At the worst, after several attempts the package will be sent back to the post office for pick-up. Merchant card processors may decide in your favor if the customer claims non-receipt of the merchandise and you can prove not only delivery but an accepting signature too.

If you don’t require a signature, the customer can claim that they simply never received the package. Implied is that a thief could steal the package from a doorway or porch. It may be enough reason for you to lose the chargeback case, especially in a high dollar transaction.

It’s an unfortunate fact that honest merchants sometimes must pay for the crimes of others. At present no party has the where-with-all to investigate every illegitimate credit card transaction. So it’s up to you to protect yourself every way you can.

Merchants deserve a “bill of rights” because they have very few rights at present. It should comprise the following:

Merchant card processors have a vested interest in deciding against you. They take money from your account to cover the shortage, add on chargeback fee, end of story. There is nothing you can do.

  1. In a new bill of rights, money shall not be debited from the merchant’s business checking account until a fair hearing from both sides. The deciders shall not be composed of any employee or executive of the credit card processor in question nor by any person connected with the merchant.
  2. Buyers have up to 90 days from purchase to file a chargeback claim. That is plenty of time to file a claim. During this period, the merchant’s finances remain in limbo.
  3. From the time of a claim, the buyer and seller have 30 days in which to submit the pertinent information. If either side does not submit information in that time, he or she forfeits the case. The case must be decided within 15 days after the document deadline.