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fraud

In 2015, I wrote "Cleaning up the 'Net." It was an action plan to reduce incidence of financial and other crime committed over the internet.

One of the main principles of the book is that those that provide services to internet users - including domain name registrars and others - were enabling and profiting from crime.

Is 2021 the year when someone listens and starts to take seriously the ease with which criminals can, for example, register domain names that even the most basic know-your-customer would establish is more likely than not to be used for some improper purpose?

On the weekend when, at last, the USA gets laws to require at least some degree of declaration of the ownership of companies, is there an appetite to tackle this even bigger problem?

Hint: it's not...

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This press release from the USA's Securities and Investment Commission is about an old-fashioned (alleged) fund management fraud in which crypto-assets were the hook by which investors were encouraged to put money into a scheme which was not, says the SEC, what the promoters said it was.

We haven't seen this one for a while, or rather we've not seen it in this format.

The simplest and oldest 419 scam is back in time for Christmas.

And once more, Google is complicit. Look at the "reply to" address. How is not possible that they are not required to identify and block things such as this? Oh, yes. They say "we are google. We are big. You can bog off."

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"Callum Reece akhil"@vitelglobal.com is an interesting e-mail address.

But this is who an offer for loans purportedly comes from.

The reply-to address is akhil@vitelglobal.com - which makes the "from" address all the more strange and suggests that someone's e-mail account has been hijacked. Will the real Callum Reece please stand up?

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The so-called 419 scam is not the only fraud that has a long history of coming out of Nigeria - and other countries. The old "we'll get your stuff past inspection" was a major money spinner but another, even more lucrative one, has just landed. We've not seen it for a very long time.

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You'd have thought that you'd heard the last of US lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the self-styled lobbyist, film producer, writer and businessman when he was awarded the coveted additional position, without which no American businessman's career is, seemingly, complete: that of convicted felon. After all, when you've been jailed for fraud, conspiracy to commit bribery and tax evasion you'd keep your head down, wouldn't you.

But then again, when your entire career has been working with dodgy businesses and doing dodgy political deals, perhaps there's nothing left to do but be dodgy over cryptoassets. A crypto-coin especially designed to be resistant to money laundering: AML Bitcoin was tailor-made for Abramoff. Now he's awaiting sentence and the company behind it is in disarray - and spending investors' money on litigation.

But what lies behind it is even more fascinating and takes us on a global trek from Las Vegas via Texas to London, Singapore and Melbourne - then across the Pacific to...

Dogs, palm trees, a rather individual way of life in the tropics - John McAfee - the chap who, effectively, created the software anti-virus industry - has long been a thorn in the side of the US authorities but exactly why he gets so much attention when so many other slide by is a mystery. Yes, there was something about a gun but now he's in trouble for making comments on Twitter. They say he "fraudulently touted" Initial Coin Offerings. Er.. isn't that tautology?

One of the most persistent forms of fraud, now well over 100 years old, is directory fraud. In a recent iteration, there is at least something a little different.

CoNet Section: 

Should financial institutions consider the character of customers as a risk factor? A recent case in Australia suggests that it might be wise to do so.

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This is so amateur that it's worth our publishing it. The "reply to" address is at a free and anonymous mail account in Hungary: georgievakristalina01@vipmail.hu . But there is something interesting.

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For the background to this story, see here: https://www.pleasebeinformed.c... and here: https://www.pleasebeinformed.c...

Now the fraudsters, or their associates, are back. And this time they have new telephone numbers.

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You know that thing about airport security, where no one gets on a flight if they aren't who they say they are? And you know that the USA is so obsessed with airport security under its "war on terror" thing that all flights are locked down tighter than a tight thing?

It's not true and this document fraud shows how lax security really is in the US aviation industry. Remember this the next time some one questions a detail on your ticket at check-in. It's the old thing - the bigger the lie, the less people are likely to spot it.

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That's it. We've had enough. Until internet domain name registrars start to adopt responsible practices over who they sell domains to, especially the plethora of top level domains that criminals habitually use for the nefarious activities, it's time to block them entirely.

CoNet Section: 

Fraudsters are like fishermen: they dangle a juicy titbit and expect you to snap it up and get hooked.

But often it's not actually a worm, it's fake meat, a plant-based concoction that has artificially induced flavours and aromas. It misrepresents itself by appearance.

That's what this scam is all about and only the names have been changed because J.K. Rowling is back in the news.

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