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Informational News on Internet Scams

Updated: Aug 4, 2022

The World Anti-Internet Fraud Alliance has done research on internet scams. To spread awareness and education, we share with you these stories of internet scams:

Two people arrested in Nicosia for an internet fraud operation

Key Points:

  • Two individuals, a 51-year-old male and a 22-year-old female, were arrested for cases of embezzlement and fraud.

  • According to police reports, several people were conned between June and July 2022 and had money extorted from them totaling €15,000. Remittances were used to deposit the funds into bank accounts in Cyprus and overseas. Two of the bank accounts are jointly owned by the 22-year-old and the company of the 51-year-old.

  • The two suspects are being looked at for money laundering, wire fraud, falsifying documents, etc.

Learn more here:

Senior citizens lost approximately $1 billion as a result of fraud

Key Points:

  • 105,301 individuals aged 65 or older were scammed by internet fraudsters and lost an average of $9,175. To add on, nearly 2,000 older Americans had losses greater than $100,000.

  • Millions of elderly individuals fall for some sort of scams such as romance scams, tech support fraud, lottery scams, and sweepstake scams.

Learn more here:

Some Regulatory Authorities/ Agencies In Charge of Investigating Internet Related Crimes In China

Key Points:

  1. Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT)

  • Accepts reports of malware, websites, blogs, instant messages involving pornography, violence, virus, fraud or slander, and spam emails including illegal information or virus.

  • Report at or call 12321

  1. Internet Society of China (ISC)

  • Founded China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Center (CIIRC): Accepts reports on illegal and harmful information on the Internet in China; assists authorities to those reports; develops public education on Internet laws and ethnic online behaviors.

  1. Ministry of Public Security (MPS)

  • Some reports MPS accepts are related to internet gambling; use of the Internet for theft, fraud, and extortion; use of the Internet to steal/ alter other people’s data; network intrusion; intentionally spreading computer viruses/ other destructive software; and other intellectual property crimes.

  • Report such crimes at

  1. State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC)

  • Accepts reports regarding online infringement, including counterfeiting activities. Once the report and associated paperwork are reviewed and accepted, the agency and other related members will work together to conduct investigations.

  • Also responsible for the supervision of business administration in China.

Learn more here:

Computer Anti-virus Protection Fraud

Key Points:

  • Vinoth Ponmaran, a 34-year-old Indian man, was charged by U.S. prosecutors in Manhattan for his role in a scheme that tricked over 7,000 victims, many of whom were elderly, into buying unnecessary computer anti-virus protection software by falsely alleging that their devices had been infected by malware.

  • The victims will see pop-ups on their computers, sometimes containing logos from well-known companies, making them believe that a virus is actually detected from their computer. They’d then be lured into purchasing anti-virus tools from the fraudsters and end up losing money and giving away their personal information.

  • Madison faces up to 20 years in prison for both the charges of conspiring to commit wire fraud and actually committing wire fraud.

Learn more here:

Ransomware Incidents

Key Points:

  • Colonial Pipeline Ransomware Incident: On May 7, 2021, hackers left a ransom note in the control room of the Colonial Pipeline, demanding cryptocurrency in exchange for the decryption of the oil and gas company's data. The hackers were able to use a former employee's password to log into its VPN and get into the company system. Eventually, the company paid nearly $5 million in bitcoin to contain the threat.

  • Kaseya Attack: A ransomware attack against the Florida-based software company Kaseya resulted in the infection of up to 1,500 businesses who employed the company's IT products. A Swedish grocery chain had to close hundreds of its stores due to this attack. The hacking group, REvil demanded an outrageous $70 million to repair all affected systems. Kaseya's systems were all restored later, but it's not clear if they paid the ransom.

Romanian Hacker Known As “Virus” Extradited For Distribution Of Destructive Malware

Key Points:

  • Mihai Ionut Paunescu is a dual Romanian and Latvian national, who was extradited for allegedly running a “bulletproof hosting” service that allowed cyber criminals to implant the Gozi virus, a computer virus that is considered to be one of the most “financially destructive” viruses in history.

  • Additionally, Paunescu is accused of facilitating spam spreading, distributed denial of service (DDoS) assaults, and the distribution of malware such as the "Zeus Trojan" and the "SpyEye Trojan."

  • The Gozi Virus is malware that took control of infected computers and stole users' personal banking information.

  • Over a million computers were victims of the Gozi Virus, including over 40,000 in the United States, including machines used by NASA.

  • Paunescu has caused, in total, tens of millions of dollars in losses to the individuals, businesses, and government entities.

  • Paunescu has been charged with, according to “one count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison; one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, which carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison; and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.”

Learn more here:

Quincy Man Arrested for Using Various Online Schemes to Defraud Victims

Key Points:

  • Kelechi Collins Umeh, a Quincy resident, was detained for his involvement in large-scale internet fraud operations that prey on Americans.

  • Umeh was involved in romance scams, advance fee scams, and business email compromise scams. The scams were intended to trick victims into sending money to accounts that he and his conspirators controlled.

  • Umeh is accused of a single count of bank fraud conspiracy.

  • Umeh is accused of opening bank accounts in and around Boston using fake passports in the names of multiple aliases in order to collect and launder the earnings from the online scams.

  • Umeh and co. allegedly execute quick large cash withdrawals from their fraudulent accounts, typically days after they receive a deposit and typically organized in sums under $10,000, in an effort to avoid detection and the reporting requirements for money transactions.

Learn more here:

Extradition of a Nigerian to the US to face fraud accusations

Key Points:

  • Fatade Idowu Olamilekan, a suspect in wire fraud who was wanted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), has been extradited to the United States on counts of fraud and aggravated identity theft in conjunction with allegedly stealing equipment valued at more than $3.5 million and committing fraud and aggravated identity fraud.

  • Damian Williams, a U.S. Attorney, said: “Fatade Idowu Olamilekan is alleged to have carried out a sprawling criminal scheme to fraudulently obtain medical equipment and other merchandise.

  • Olamilekan allegedly identified U.S. procurement officials, including the Chief Procurement Officer for New York, to then impersonate them and use their credentials to request millions of dollars in equipment shipments from various suppliers without advance payment. Olamileken has now been extradited to the U.S. for his alleged attempt to illegally profiteer from the worldwide pandemic.”

Learn more here:

Kenneth Gibson: Stole Info From Thousands of Employees and Customers

Key Points:

  • Kenneth Gibson worked as an IT expert for a software firm between 2012 and 2017. He had access to the personal information of thousands of consumers and workers. During his five years at the organization, he stole data meticulously.

  • Gibson created a computer software that would read people's information from the list and create phony accounts for them. He utilized those accounts to transfer little sums of money in a systematic manner. This system worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and he established almost 8,000 bogus PayPal accounts over time. He remained undiscovered since he sent money in modest amounts.

  • He was eventually discovered when he asked PayPal to give him a check. Normally, he would get cash from an ATM, but he became irresponsible. One of the cheques he received from PayPal had the same name as one of the victims.

  • He was sentenced to four years in jail, three years of supervised leave, and community service. To recoup the $3.5 million stolen, he had to pay $1 million in compensation and sell assets.

Learn more here:

Broken hearts and Millions Lost Resulting From the Explosion of Romance Scams

  • Suzanne Woolley, Misyrlena Egkolgopoulou, and Claire Ballentine have recently published a news article on Bloomberg with the title, “Romance Scams Explode, Leaving Broken Hearts and Millions Lost”. The article goes through how romance scams have been on rise due to the lockdowns caused by the pandemic.

  • The article includes statistics from the Federal Trade Commission stating that in 2021 more than 95,000 US citizens reported fraud that started on social media platforms, with damages totalling around $770 million. They have a bar graph to visually present the disparity in fraud loss between the years.

  • They interviewed a 38-year old woman named Rebecca Rosebrough who was a victim to a romance scam and lost around $24,000. The article goes through the process of how Rebecca was scammed.

Learn more here:

Euro Police Bust €3m Internet Fraud Gang

Key Points:

  • Police from Spain and Romania have teamed up to bust a group that is said to have made at least €3 million (3.1 million dollars) from online scams.

  • After a long investigation, Spain and Romania jailed 9 people in total, with Spain having three and Romania having six

  • Suspects are charged with publishing fake advertisements for used cars and other goods. Sometimes they would reprint legitimate ads but alter the contact information.

  • They would collect money from pre-payments and then disappear without giving their buyer a product

  • Police raids resulted in the seizure of jewelry, watches, cash (€4500 and £2800), and more than €20,000 in cryptocurrency. Investigators also took 14 mobile phones, 70 SIM cards, a server, eight computers, 17 hard drives, and other items, according to the news agency.

Learn more here:

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