FraudJournal Blog

April 9, 2014

“My website was hacked & on sale…”

Filed under: Author's Post,Fraud,Fraud Alerts,Fraud Schemes,Fraud Trends — fraudjournal @ 2:43 PM
Tags: ,

There are multiple stories of identity theft, embezzlement and other sad stories of lives undone and upturned by fraudsters. What you don’t usually find is a well written article from the victim stating the shock and surprise of finding out via ‘luck’, from someone who was paying attention and informed them. You also don’t usually find a well written article that helps you understand the seriousness of the situation and the long and required attention to details to doggedly follow the trails and fight the good fight of stopping and retrieving back their life and this case, their livelyhood.

Please take time to read through this person’s website article by Jordan Reid of Glamshackle Glam. She is articulate and shows the fiery spirit of an entrepreneur fighting for the right to make a living online.

Keep up the fight against fraud. Trust but verify.



May 10, 2012

A New Twist to Foreclosure Rescue Fraud

Dear Fellow Fraud Fighters;

The FBI and FTC need our help. Please take some time to become educated about this new scam and get the word out to your colleagues and community to stop this new twist on “foreclosure rescue fraud” because it is a serious threat to distressed homeowners and it is called Forensic Mortgage Loan Audits. Many of you may have heard of this or even come across this, but it has started to increase at an alarming rate.

This fraud is about selling “hope” and they are relying on the buzz word “forensic” to sound credible, necessary and effective and legal. They call themselves:

  • Forensic loan auditors
  • Mortgage loan auditors
  • Foreclosure prevention auditors
  • Forensic attorneys

Yes, forensic attorneys. By using public information, these so-called “rescue” professionals send out mailings to exploit distressed homeowners by lulling them into the false sense that a forensic audit will indicate if their loan was not in compliance, and by not meeting the state and federal mortgage lending laws they can help the homeowner:

  • Avoid foreclosure
  • Expedite the loan modification process
  • Reduce the loan principal
  • Cancel the loan
  • Lease the home to be able to buy it back over time
  • Make mortgage payments to them and they will work with the lender
  • Transfer the property, deed or title to them
  • Offer to purchase home at a price inappropriate for housing market
  • Pressure to sign documents without proper time to review or read thoroughly

Although this scam is preying on the financially strapped homeowner, the elderly and military veterans and their families are being targeted also. As you all know, a mortgage cannot be eliminated by a report, lenders are not required to modify a loan because of this report, the lender is not required to modify a loan and a report will not force a lender to negotiate the terms of a loan. There is no report that is guaranteed way to stop a foreclosure.

Please contact the FTC or FBI with any concerns or questions.

October 10, 2011

Calling All Detectives…Elder Exploitation Really is a Crime

First, I want it on the record that this posting is about one or two individuals who felt elder exploitation was not a crime, but rather a family matter. Whether or not they thought about their response in detail it still makes one wonder just the same; what are you thinking?

I have been assisting from time to time on a particular elder financial exploitation case, where the children are exploiting their mother. And here is the kicker. We are having trouble getting the detective to accept the case because this is a family matter and law enforcement are about catching and putting the bad guys in jail; not resolving family matters. This individual was sure elder exploitation was a crime to prosecute. The prosecuting attorney who is willing to take the case, can only wait until a detective processes the case and forwards the case for prosecution. And now once again, another elder exploitation case is pending. Pending a detective to accept the case and apply the necessary due diligence to present the case to the prosecuting attorney.

Now in defense of law enforcement, their fraud case backlog is huge. And I really do mean its a big problem. The people needed to process the cases, with the right skill sets, are few and far between. Funding is next to nothing, all cases are prioritized for the level of community threat, and frankly, elder exploitation is not sexy. Unless there appears to be a possible hastened death situation, their priority is child abuse, murder, rape and the war-on-drugs.

Having said this, let me explain some items that you might not know. First, before any case can get to court, it must first receive a case number from the police department that has jurisdiction in the case. This how it gets tracked, noted, filed and if necessary transferred to the proper jurisdictions. No case number, no detective to process, no litigation.  But I digress, the issue is that the detective felt there isn’t  new laws that make it a crime to exploit an elderly person. It was a family matter to be litigated privately. This individual was also surprised to find out that in WA, there recent changes to state law which gives law enforcement and attorneys the ability to better prosecute for elder exploitation and abuse. This means even if there is not, law enforcement are now able to check in on a vulnerable adult and if necessary, take steps to insure their safety from potential harm whether financial or physical.

The recent set of economic setbacks to all local, county and state agencies has greatly reduced the number of qualified staff able to work the high case load. I understand why the fraud case loads are continuing to back up and that they are as frustrated as the rest of us that there is not enough time in a day to process these cases. I and my fellow fraud fighters understand that public servants need to keep the rapists, murderers and drugs off the streets, but I am concerned that I continue to hear from my colleagues this type of response from veteran detectives/law enforcement officers. Really? This is really how you feel?

I am willing to consider that these few individuals were not thinking clearly; that maybe that cup of coffee was not fully loaded with enough caffeine to engage critical thinking. But this response tends to come from older and more experienced law enforcement personnel, and this concerns me. Why? Because they the men and women that the younger professionals are watching and learning from as they strive for excellence to become viable law enforcement professionals.

As the “Boomer” generation continues to age, their level of vulnerability is going to grow exponentially. This means that they are prey for healthcare fraud, ID theft and of course, abuse and exploitation from friends and family.And they are going to need all of our help.

So my challenge to all of you who continue in the fight against fraud and abuse… please help our law enforcement officers & detectives to believe that elder abuse and exploitation is really a crime worth punishing. That the next vulnerable adult they investigate may be the relative of a friend or neighbor; that they just  might save someone from loosing their home and quite possibly their life.

Thank you for listening.

August 8, 2011

Restaruant Breach Leads to Fraud Article

First, thank you to all who inquired to why my lack of posts; we had a death in the family that required my attention.

THIRD PARTY SECURITY RISKSWhy Compliance is Key for Everyone

Those of you who deal with fraud in the retail and restaurant industry are very familiar with skimmers; for those who don’t, we are talking about the hand-held devices that skim the financial information from your credit cards. These little devices are the bane of fraud fighters around the world. And they are getting smaller and more invasive every day. But the recent problem to hit the fraud newsletters and blogs (see article: Restaurant Breach Leads to Fraud by Tracy Kitten, Managing Editor at Bank Information Security), is the breach at a Texas restaurant from a hacker that gained access to the third-party vendor who processes their credit card transactions.

Restaurants have worked hard to make sure their customers’ credit/debit card information is safely handled, that their employees are following the rules, and all the while attempting to keep up to date on technology. However, the costs to upgrade each time a new software comes out or piece of equipment is available, makes a small business wince. And by nature, restaurants are just plain vulnerable to fraud due to the high level of transactions and tendency for high employee turn-over.

But the recent talk of the town is the breach in Texas; not by skimmer, but a third-party vendor that handles the point-of-sale (POS) system information for the restaurant. The Sheriff’s department are reviewing the details with the Secret Service, but they have come to the conclusion that back in early April and mid-May, the electronic information was intercepted by the hacker who had infected with POS system with a virus to steal payment card transaction data. By July, fraudulent charges began appearing. The most recent restaurants hit in the Walker County, have been “fast-casual diners and pizzerias”.

Mr. Neal O’Farrell, founder of the Identity Theft Council stated that “small businesses are often as much the victim of the breach as their customers are”.  As more and more security breaches become types of cyber attacks, small businesses need to start taking a look at their vendors and asking the hard question of “what are they doing to reduce fraud risk” and “how can we collectively reduce the risk”. Merchants that provide the readers might help by offering better trade-in offsets to reduce costs and promote use of the newer equipment and software available. I can’t remember when it was, but I remember I was shocked to find a business that still had a merchant device that printed out the entire credit card number on my receipt.

As the economy gets tighter and continues to stretch our budgets, fraudsters are going to find the chinks in our armor as we become tired a lacx in our effort to be careful; we need to be diligent about consistently finding ways to reduce the risks of fraud. We have to find new ways to help each other out and not rely on the credit card companies to solve the problem. It’s hard to cheat an honest person, they take the time to notice what is going on around them, and they ask questions. Let’s all take time to think about how we can become better at detecting and deterring fraud so we don’t end up having to defend against it.


March 26, 2011

Potential for Elder Fraud on the Horizon

Hello Everyone. I know its been awhile. Today I would like to share concerns from various conversations with others in the elder care community. This group includes tax preparers, CPA’s, business litigators, caregivers, senior care facilities (both assisted living residential and commercial), and health care workers, and fraud investigators. Why?

Well, as most of you have heard that the number our seniors that have aging parents now needing to place them into assisted care and skilled nursing homes and facilities are increasing. Most locations have been able to accommodate the ebb and flow of family and friends seeking help for their aging parents, spouses, partners and family members. Recently I was visiting an assisted living facility and the executive director commented that he no longer has rooms for the growing number of requests he receives on a daily basis. In fact, he now has had to create a waiting list without any way of assuring the families of a time frame when their loved one can be cared for by skilled staff and in a safe environment.

Which brings me to the next point. Due to the huge and I mean that quite literally, huge upcoming increase in senior/elder care needs, locating affordable and qualified care will be in high demand. This creates a large pool of vulnerable adults open to be preyed upon by the fraudsters in the health care field. This includes medical billing, quality care and safe environments where abuse is not tolerated or able to take place, qualified and vetted personnel (as in proper background checks and monitored activity), not to mention reasonable costs for the care received.

One women in a caregiver support group was aghast when she found out that a facility wanted to charge her a very large administration fee, first and last months space/care fee, a cleaning deposit, and a slush fund for small care needs. This amounted to over $10,000 up front for the first month of care. Most families can barely cover the costs of taking time off to care for a loved one let alone the initial upfront costs to begin care. This was a residential home that was set up to care for six elderly residents, and was part of an LLC that included six other homes just like it. There are many of these homes that work very hard to take very good care of their residents. But this home was not well maintained and the individuals that ran the home allowed family members to come and go and hang around as if it was a normal family home, served only their ethnic foods and was not keeping up the care on the home. This was very disconcerting to the woman and she did remove her mother from the home and chosen to take care of her herself. Which is what many are choosing to do because the costs end up meeting the same as the income they were trying to earn in the first place.

Now, having said this, I know for a fact that a qualified care facility with little turn-over and properly maintained premises is not cheap. Paying the staff what they deserve for the hard work, and think about it, it is hard work otherwise we would not have the need for these types of residential and commercial care locations, are key to running a safe and clean environment. Familiarity or routine is key to helping the elderly feel safe and willing to participate in the care they need. One director told me it takes close to $2000 per new employee to get them properly trained at the level he felt was key to providing the care expected for the fees charged and to remain in compliance with state laws and regulations.

Which brings the next point. There are no standards for care and costs regarding taking care of our elderly citizens aside from the currently established medical and government codes and regulations on running a business or medical practice. That puts the burden on the family to research, vet out and locate places they can both afford and feel their loved ones are safe. This also means they are relying on the homes and facilities to do their ‘due-diligence’ regarding their personnel and policy and procedures.

So here is my final point – the biggest potential for fraud is that the needs will over run the availability of qualified personnel to care and monitor our vulnerable adults. Recent economic conditions create a situation ripe for fraudsters to prey on the elderly either directly or through their caregivers as everyone gets stretched beyond their limits. So here are some ideas that I would like the fraud community to spark conversations on to build a grassroots approach to keeping our loved ones safe and out of harms way.

First, educate as many of those around you on what elder abuse looks like and who and where to report it. Each local city/county has an organization to connect you to the resources available. Second, if you know of someone you think is being targeted or IS unsafe, please reach out to the local law enforcement and ask for them to check in and verify all is well. They have access to governmental agencies for support. Third, ask questions if you need answers regarding the cognitive skill level of our seniors. Early signs may be there and steps need to be taken so they do not become pray to neighbors, family, and other commercial entities looking for easy targets. This includes those of you working in banks and stores.

Now for financial exploitation – this is going to be a very serious situation in the next years ahead. The generation of seniors that are now reaching increased levels of dementia were raised during a time when they understood they needed prepare for retirement. This means most of them have squirreled away some sort of funding to cover their final years. These savings have become an easy target for family, neighbors, and I am sorry to say fellow members of religious organizations to zero in on for support. Befriending the elderly can be easy because they believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt, which means most of them if they are lonely, and they usually are, end up trapped before they know and then have no means to reach out in time to protect themselves from the leeches they have welcomed into their homes and life. Not to mention, if they are in a state of dementia they will not remember what they recently did or agreed to at the time they were parted from their financial future.

Here are some sites to research and get your selves prepared to protect our seniors from harm:


December 7, 2010

Tis The Season To Be Thieved

I know, it’s not a real word. But recently two of my friends found out their debit/visa cards had been compromised. Both of these people are careful with their information. So, how did this happen. There is no real way to determine exactly what happened, but we have pin-pointed when it started and worked our way back to the most likely place it happened. So I decided that because most of us will hear from someone we know who had their holiday interrupted by a fraudster. So let’s be prepared to stop them as best we can by staying sharp and prepared to act quickly should something happen.

Once you find out or suspect, contact the bank or lending institution’s fraud department. Go over the recent purchases for the few days. You will need to answer some questions and fill out a form you receive in the mail. If you card is compromised, you will need to cancel the card and wait till you get a new one. Some credit unions can now reissue a card on site, others require you to wait till they can mail the replacement.

Advise the 3 credit union reporting agencies that your card was compromised. Now this is key, you can put a ‘freeze’ for three months or just have it on file that no more purchases can be made on a previous card/account. If you freeze for the three-month period, you cannot open any new accounts or take loans out without going through a process. So think carefully on what you want to achieve. The credit agencies will walk you through your options. I would also suggest getting a three to six month credit watch to catch any other potential problems.


First you need to remember that fraudsters plan for the holidays just like the rest of us. And they know that this is the time we get scattered and forgetful. Here are a couple of scenarios to think about as you shop and eat your way through the holidays. Take some time to find out what is going on out there and then stay aware.


These people can memorize numbers, names and pictures in a what seems nanoseconds. And, this is most likely what happened to one of my friends. This scheme happens when someone stands behind or within visual range of your activity at a check-out stand (cashier). When you pull out your card to swipe it, most of us hang on to it or set it down while waiting for the cashier to finish what he/she is doing. In that moment, the individual behind you memorizes the card name, number and necessary details. Yes, it’s that fast. They often don’t purchase anything, they excuse themselves from the line with some excuse and get into another line later. They only need to do this a couple of times to get enough card numbers to go and create a fake card and then test it out by purchasing small items. Usually at a grocery store or gas station. If all goes well, they try again with a higher amount and if that works, they go for broke.


Another way is when hand the card to the cashier and he/she is processing the card and the card gets skimmed either along the side of the register or underneath the register. This is a more rare scenario as most of us would see this action. However, if you are at a restaurant, the card goes back with the server and can get skimmed by them and then processed at the restaurant as well.


Also, it is a good idea to make sure the server returns your credit card and not a substitute. ALWAYS check the card returned to you. Accidents do occur, and that could make someone else who gets your card and leaves a happy scammer to, but you can avoid that easily by making sure you check the card you received as well as the receipt you sign.

In closing, it’s always best to Google current fraud schemes. You would be amazed at what fraudsters come up with each season. At the same time, it’s very sad that the same old con-methods continue to work every day. Stay safe and be aware during the holidays.


I have just started to check out this website Scambusters. They have some good information regarding fraud, but they also sell products. I will let you know if I get valuable information later on after some time to review their ongoing newsletters.

Another recent find, today to be exact, is this site InventHelp. They have quite a variety of scam and fraud information. I will report back later on how their information was helpful to me. But they did have some helpful information.

And don’t forget the FED‘s; the love a good take-down on the bad guys. Also, this site IC3 is good for information and to report fraud crimes. They work very closely with the FED’s and have good information for Internet safety protocol and scam information.

Stay Safe and Report Fraud!


May 12, 2010

Copiers Contribute To ID Theft

Filed under: Author's Post,Fraud,Fraud Alerts — fraudjournal @ 10:07 AM

One of the ways fraudsters get better at their jobs is by bloggers and media explaining how fraud is committed. The internet is the best archival source of anything and everything you could possibly want to learn. Having said that, it also is one of the best ways to educate the general public and in my case, share info with those who are focused on fighting fraud.

Today, I was forwarded from a colleague at a video she received from another colleague at The original video was aired by CBS News in April 2010 about the security risk of personal and commercial information stored on the hard drives of copy machines. Most of us know that computer hard drives can be searched using forensic software for information during investigations. But most of us don’t think about all the copy machines we use either at a drug store, library, school or copy place. Often these machines are leased and when no longer needed or out dated, are returned to be refurbished and then resold. They usually go over seas at the low prices of under $500 each since they are bought in large quantities at a time to be resold in smaller shops for local businesses.

In the defense of the Copier Manufacturers (such as Sharp as stated in the video), some offer a separate package to erase the information from the hard drive to reduce security risk. Most businesses however, find this cost unnecessary or too expensive at the time of the purchase. It could also be that the sales agent, doesn’t know or offer this. So it is important to know about this and to ask if the package or add-on is available. The bottom line is it’s up to each of us to manage our own personal and business identity risk.

I chose to add this post to the blog to initiate discussion and to get everyone to ask the question about where they last copied a document containing private information, and to inform other as well as their place of work about this risk. Same goes for those recycling places. It isn’t up to them to keep your information safe. Have the hard drives of any pieces of technology cleaned before handing them off. This includes cell phone, video cameras, computers and copiers. Most of the information requires sophisticated software to remove the data and put it into a format that is readable to you and me, but we all know that fraudsters manage to locate and utilize unusual methods tools for their trade. After all, they have the time to do nothing but be creative about their means and methods.

Your homework is to verify your own information security risks. Go to the links below to see the video.

April 8, 2010

Insurance Scam Alert from Kathleen Sebelius

Filed under: Author's Post,Fraud,Fraud Alerts,Fraud Schemes,Fraud Trends,Insurance — fraudjournal @ 12:23 AM

As the new health-care plan takes effect, we all need to keep each other safe from the recent wave of insurance scams. regarding the new health-care law.  Take time to talk to friends and families, especially senior friends and family members. Do your research by talking to your insurance company or the Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS).  Know the facts before your act.

 Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has issued a new fraud alert to the public stating that HHS has been getting reports of fraudsters going door-to-door to sell bogus health-insurance policies, and the calls began right after President Obama signed the new health-care law on March 23, 2010.

 Ms. Sebelius advised that, “…door-to-door salespeople are unlikely to be part of the outreach.” She also advised that some fraudster have set up toll-free phone lines and claim that open-enrollment is for a limited time period, which Ms. Sebelius stated is “Not so.”

 For some of the recent articles got to:

 Or go directly to the Dept. HHS website at:

March 23, 2010

Job Scams – An update

Filed under: Author's Post,Fraud,Fraud Alerts,Fraud Schemes,Fraud Trends — fraudjournal @ 2:07 AM

In my previous post, I provided a copy of the email I received showing how fraudsters lure people into providing information with the promise of a job opportunity. Here is the latest from another ’email account’ but with the same information. For those of you that subscribe to any of the government job boards, it is very important to understand that private companies do not have access to the information and cannot solicit you for jobs. The government job boards are for exactly that – government jobs. NO REALISTIC job will have you utilize YOUR personal bank account for any type of transactions!

Please see the comment I received in response to the Job Scam post.

Thank you for posting this to get people aware of fraud as it is a horrible thing to hit someone when they’re down.  I just wanted to add for everyone that no civilian companies have access to the USAJOBS website as it is a Federal government website so you should never believe any email you get from a civilian company claiming they found you through USAJOBS.  Also, please note that FederalJobs is not the same as USAJOBS.  They are a civilian website ( that says they have government jobs but most are not accurate.  The official URL for USAJOBS is

Remember, always do your research when applying for jobs. Verify the company and the source of the email. Never sign up for auto deposits or provide any personal information via online. If you are unsure of a company, follow your gut instincts. You can always GOOGLE a company.  Listed below is the latest I received to a different email account I use.


Part-time Job for Carol Bacon

HR Manager []

Sent: Monday, March 22, 2010 6:43 AM


Carol Bacon

Dear Carol Bacon ,

Our firm is in the business of processing medical payments with services designed specifically to help physicians, healthcare facilities and medical billing companies collect the patient portion of medical care.

We have found your CV at FederalJob jobseeker’s database, and consider you to be a great candidate for the job which we propose.

Position Description:

The task of the Transfer Manager is receiving payments (to your Bank account) from our buyers in timely manner, sending them to our company in Finland via bank wire transfers, and solving issues associated with these tasks.

If you haven’t bank account, We will find the nearest bank, and help to open a new Bank account there.

Every payment will be accompanied with detailed instructions.

Average Income: $800-$1500 per week.

It is a commission based position – 8% from each completed payment.

General requirements:

Willingness to work from home, take responsibility and achieve higher goals;

Honesty, responsibility and promptness in operations;

Age from 22 to 62 ;

MS Office skills;

5-10 hours per week

If you are interested, please apply here .


protection benefits of such additional features can be high, but only if the age check is reliable more or less eliminated in Sweden and Norway, for example. Consumers have responded to price development and/or have a very limited customer base. Some schemes have closed down after the or via his/her credit card bill. Second, there are also schemes in which the amongst consumers.26 The report states that e-commerce is �still not widely used� (with (POS)) are adapted for other usage or used as supporting tools (e.g. mobile phone messages to with an approximate share of 30% of all non-cash payments. 65 The common framework consists of two European Parliament and Council directives: first Directive 2000/46/EC on the As a general observation, online merchants might benefit from technical enhancements at physical providers issuing payments instruments in the form of e-money (Ireland, Denmark, Sweden and the United vulnerabilities, requiring permanent adjustments to be made to business strategies and security

END OF Email

March 19, 2010

Job Scam Example

Filed under: Author's Post,Fraud,Fraud Alerts,Fraud Schemes,Fraud Trends — fraudjournal @ 6:33 PM

Like most of us, the loss of jobs has hit someone we know. The latest statistics touted was that at least 1 in 5 to 1 in 4 of us are without jobs. And not that fraudsters are bad enough as it is, they have stooped to a new low – scamming those desperately seeking jobs by offering a position that will auto deposit your paycheck after you pass a telephone interview. I received one of these and I forward this information to you to share with others.

The sender is ProteusInc, with an email of If you google, this you will find several companies with this as a business name or product line. However, there is one website that has noted this is a hoax. Here is what was sent to me stating they got my CV from the USAJobs website.

As usual, we all need to be careful and be cognizant that fraudsters will always find a way to take advantage of us during our lowest times and saddest moments.


Executive Manager position for Carol Bacon

Human Resource Department []

Sent: Tuesday, March 16, 2010 7:56 AM


Carol Bacon

Dear Carol Bacon

The FederalJobs provided us your curriculum vitae. Therefore our company is ready to propound you a work of an “Executive Manager”.

Your charges are:

Record keeping on what you’ve done

Form a list of customers in the USA

The information providing to clients

carrying out of financial transactions within the USA. You will get all the further instructions during an interview over the phone.

Staff claims:

Age: from 25

Citizenship: US

You  need to  have 3-5 free hours every day  to fulfill all your job.

The payment for this vacancy makes up to 5000USD monthly. Money will be carried out to your bank account every month. If you are really interested in our suggestion, please do not delay making a settlement.

For more detailed information please follow this steps:

Register at our webpage There you’ll find a line of “Executive Manager”, where you should complete all the fields carefully. Our security department will control everything.

Sign a agreement with our organization. We’d like to thank you in advance. We really appreciate your will to join our organization.

Pass an phone interview

important element. This concept may comprise more types of money than are legally defined. A legal definition of a transformation. The changeover to a new generation of chip cards based on the instruments, and the merchants’ wish for a broad customer base might also push in the same direction. generally accepted means of payment have to be commercial bank money or emoney. community, researchers and civil society in general. Clearing is the process of transmitting, reconciling and, in some cases, confirming payment orders prior to countries an excellent chance to set the pace and direction in market integration. monitors the market initiatives looking for standards and allowing full automation through the banknotes given substitution into e-money as a means of payment. This may lead to a reduction of central “natural” tendency towards being regional, especially if cultural and language properties are intrinsic • The EBA Clearing, a separate entity of the European Banking Association (EBA), is the operator

END of Email
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