Shock and Fraud – UPDATE #64

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Deepnews Digest #64

Shock and Fraud – UPDATE

Editor: Christopher Brennan
The coronavirus crisis has placed many people in need of help, whether they need a mask, need benefits when they are out of work or need human connection through online dating. This week’s Wednesday Digest continues our look at articles on “scams” and “frauds,” which unfortunately often prey on those who are most vulnerable. Pulled together with the Deepnews Scoring Model, articles from Hong Kong to Capitol Hill show that scams can happen anywhere, though also show that we are all in this together.


Editor’s Note: This week also featured news that was not about scams, such as the launch of the new Deepnews website. It’s designed to make it easier to get all that we offer, so check it out! As always, you can also follow us more closely on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.
Story Source
Washington Post
Alexis Wong, a Hong Kong-based trader who’s been exporting medical masks since the early days of the covid-19 crisis, says the business brings out every species of crook. But she likes to joke that the market for the iconic N95 mask is in perfect balance.

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Rolling Stone
Editor’s note: Adult content-creators interviewed in this piece have asked that we identify them by their performer names for their privacy and safety.

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Vice
Jessica Hamilton has been on a one-woman mission to stop Depop scammers for months now, but no-one’s been listening. It’s been like screaming into the wind.

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Krebs on Security
A well-organized Nigerian crime ring is exploiting the COVID-19 crisis by committing large-scale fraud against multiple state unemployment insurance programs, with potential losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars, according to a new alert issued by the U.S. Secret Service.A well-organized Nigerian crime ring is exploiting the COVID-19 crisis by committing large-scale fraud against multiple state unemployment insurance programs, with potential losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars, according to a new alert issued by the U.S. Secret Service.

Editor’s Note: We think of fraud as a small-scale problem a lot of the time, though organized crime is also in on the game. Here Brian Krebs covers a memo from American authorities about a Nigerian ring running operations in different corners of the U.S. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

Digiday
The market dynamics of low ad prices and less buying by top advertisers has opened the door to a surge in coronavirus scam ads in programmatic marketplaces. Scam ads — ads with creative or domains that deliver false or misleading claims about products with the intention of extracting payment — have jumped to represent 20% of fraudulent activity in April, according to The Media Trust, which works with publishers on increasing privacy and security. Usually, this is under 5%,

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BBC
Fresh evidence that scam stores are exploiting Google’s Shopping service to appear at the top of its search results has been discovered by the BBC.

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IANS
As millions of people get hooked to online dating platforms, their proliferation has led to online romance scams becoming a modern form of fraud that have spread in several societies along with the development of social media like Facebook Dating, warn researchers.

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New York Times
WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo swatted away questions about his use of government resources again and again last year.

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South China Morning Post
Con artists are feeding off the boom, luring in unsuspecting buyers with false paperwork and promises of quick shipments

Editor’s Note: The COVID era sparked a scramble for supplies, with governments looking around the world for help but also meeting with scams. Here SCMP posed as a prospective buyer to test the waters. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

Channel News Asia
SINGAPORE: Scammers have been sending fake emails with the name and logo of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the authority said on Friday (May 15), cheating nine victims out of more than S$50,000 since last month.

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Chicago Tribune
A glitch in a newly launched state system for processing unemployment claims for gig workers publicly exposed personal information, a spokeswoman for Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Sunday.

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Tech Times
Scammers pretend to be contact tracers who work for public health departments to steal private information, warned the Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday, May 19.

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Times of India
Ludhiana: The city police have received a first-of-its-kind complaint against a fraud website that claims to give Rs 15,000 to people in the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi under “Pradhan Mantri Yojana 2020”. The complaint has been lodged by Meenakshi Chaudhary.

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The Register
With US unemployment threatening to reach its highest level since the Great Depression, hackers around the globe are using stolen personal information to file fraudulent benefits claims and steal millions of dollars destined for jobless Americans.

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Komando
This pandemic has not slowed down the horrendous behavior of cybercriminals. In fact, ruthless thieves have actually stepped up their activity and have even been caught incorporating coronavirus fears into their schemes.

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Washington Post
Agents arrested Maurice “Mo” Fayne, from “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta,” for allegedly misusing a coronavirus stimulus loan. He is fighting the charges in court.

Editor’s Note: Because of the subjects we cover or because of our focus on depth, the term “reality star” doesn’t pop up all that often in our newsletters. This piece, however, looks at the details of Fayne and a loan he got as part of WaPo’s larger scrutiny of a Small Business Administration program. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

Payments Journal
The Covid-19 outbreak has meant that industries across the board have had to adapt to different ways of operating while countries around the world are in lockdown. Nowhere is this as true as it is in the payments industry, as customers have been forced to buy goods online rather than visiting their favorite stores. As a result, the eCommerce industry is booming.

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Crains New York
Last week the hall of fame of penny-stock scams gained a new member, Manhattan-based Applied BioSciences, which was touting a Covid-19 home testing kit. Whoever the folks behind this outfit were, they were no Hayseed Stephens.

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Reuters
Chinese hackers are suspected of accessing email and travel details of about nine million easyJet (EZJ.L) customers, said two sources familiar with the investigation into a cyberattack disclosed by the British airline on Tuesday.

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Verdict
“Criminals are increasingly sharing resources and information and reinvesting their illicit profits into the development of new, even more destructive capabilities,” said the authors of a new survey by the California-based tech company VMware.

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POLITICO
The department’s Public Integrity Section, which has a mixed record in complex corruption prosecutions, is looking at whether senators broke the law with coronavirus-related stock trades.

Editor’s Note: Another type of scam is not individuals scamming the government, but individuals in the government doing the scamming. Here POLITICO reports on a move in Washington as investigations launch into potentially illegal stock trading. – Christopher Brennan, Editor

Reuters
The U.S. Justice Department has sent grand jury subpoenas to big banks seeking records as part of a broader investigation into potential abuse of a $660 billion emergency loan program to help small businesses hurt by the novel coronavirus, two people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

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ZDNet
Employees planning to leave their jobs are involved in 60% of insider cybersecurity incidents and data leaks, new research suggests.

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The Independent (UK)
South African traders with China are illegally selling thousands of wild animals threatened with extinction and endangered, under the guise of legal exports, according to an investigation.

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NJ.com
State consumer protection officials have received more than 4,700 complaints linked to the coronavirus as of Saturday, including allegations of charity and investment scams and price gouging on essentials like food, cleaning products and breathing masks, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced.

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