Foreign scammers rely on your neighbors to harass you

Foreign scammers rely on your neighbors to harass you
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Foreign scammers rely on your neighbors to harass you

U.S. Attorney General William Barr should resign from office for failing to defend the rights of scam victims. Barr approved a “consent decree” that let off the hook Americans who helped foreign criminals scam hundreds of millions of dollars from elderly Americans through false IRS telephone scam calls

By Ray Hanania

How many times have you received a call from some idiot who can’t speak English properly trying to tell you he represents the IRS and you need to pay a fine or you might go to jail? The fine usually involves you buying a “gift card” or providing access to your bank account to transfer money.

Even though these morons from Nigeria, India, China, Russia and Malaysia can’t pronounce the words correctly, and often get into verbal scuffles with the call recipients, about 5 percent of the people called become victims, sending money to these scammer.

Most of the victims are seniors and the elderly, many who live alone and are easily confused by the calls.

But I bet you didn’t know that these despicable scammers who hustle you from money are relying on your neighbors for support to make their scams successful. It involves telephone scams and false order scams.

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U.S. Attorney William Barr at a press conference patting himself not he back for doing nothing. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney William Barr at a press conference patting himself not he back for doing nothing. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Justice

What happens is that scammers from these foreign countries reach out and contact Americans and offer them money in order to use their telephone systems or even their home addresses as package forwarding centers.

It happened to me a few years back when someone allegedly purchased a large generator valued at $799 from Lowes that was shipped to an address in the Southwest Suburbs. The charge was in my name but sent to the accomplice’s home address, purchased using a fake credit card stolen from someone else. 

There are four crimes here that the U.S. Attorney General failed to prosecute. The credit card information was stolen from someone else. The accomplice used the U.S. Postal system to illegally ship the stolen merchandise, crossing state lines. The scammer provided false information to make the purchase. The scammer promised to pay the moron accomplice to help him with the scam.

Stupidly, Lowes processed the charge without checking that it was a false and stolen credit card number and sent the generator out to the local address of the accomplice. That person, whom police did identify because they followed the product to his home, said he had been contacted to process shipping orders by an unknown business person. The orders would come to his home and he would then re-label and ship to the foreign country, in this case Latvia, in exchange for a cut of the illicit profits.

The packages are addressed to someone else and the complicit American criminal neighbor doesn’t ask questions when your name shows up on the delivery label. Instead of notifying UPS, Lowes, the US Postal Service or the company sending the shipment that it is addressed to someone they don’t know, they just slap a new label on it.

The worst part of all this is that our policing system doesn’t jail these idiots who profit from these illegal arrangements with the foreign-based scammers. They should be jailed. But there is no law that prohibits someone from reshipping a mis-addressed package that comes to their home to someone in another location. The person receiving the package knows that it’s illegal.

The same system works with the telephone system. These criminal fools who call your home claiming to represent the IRS are actually calling from one of their foreign locations like China, Russia, India, Nigeria or other locations. They speak broken English, but they don’t care because they are playing the odds. The number that pops up on your home phone or cell phone from these scammers is the number belonging to the American accomplice who is paid to loan their phone numbers to the scammers.

Believe me, you can blame our local politicians because they don’t care. It has never happened to them.

This week, U.S. Attorney General William Barr and the US Justice Department approved a “consent decree” in which five Americans who processed illegal robocall scams through their numbers agreed to stop.

But no one was punished. There were no fines. The Justice Department dropped the ball and let these scammer accomplices off-the-hook.

Instead of letting them off the hook, they should be charged with a crime. They should be punished. They should be jailed. We need new laws that prohibit people from knowingly participating in a criminal enterprise to defraud other Americans.

The U.S. Attorney dropped the ball, because they don’t think it is important.

Shame on US Attorney General William Barr. He should resign from office because he is not doing his job.

Here is the worthless press release that the U.S. Attorney General William Barr released patting himself on the back for doing nothing. The victims are still out the millions of dollars the scammers took and the facilitators of these crimes who allowed the scammers to use their telephone systems for profits themselves, were let off the hook.

Shame!

District Court Enters Permanent Injunction Shutting Down Telecom Carriers Who Facilitated Hundreds of Millions of Fraudulent Robocalls to Consumers in The United States

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York entered a consent decree imposing a permanent injunction barring two individuals and two companies that transmitted massive volumes of fraudulent robocalls from conveying any telephone calls into the U.S. telephone system, the Department of Justice announced today.

As alleged in a civil complaint filed earlier this year in United States v. Nicholas Palumbo, et al., spouses Nicholas and Natasha Palumbo of Scottsdale, Arizona, and their companies, Ecommerce National LLC d/b/a TollFreeDeals.com and SIP Retail d/b/a sipretail.com, received millions of fraudulent internet-based calls every day from other entities, often located abroad.  Those calls were then transmitted, initially to other carriers within the United States and ultimately, to the phones of individuals.  The defendants are alleged to have knowingly allowed numerous foreign-based individuals and entities to transmit fraudulent government- and business-imposter robocalls through defendants’ network and on to victims in the United States.  These fraudulent robocalls included millions of calls impersonating the Social Security Administration, threatening the recipients of the calls with arrest or asset seizure if they did not immediately transfer funds to the caller.  The defendants also sold U.S. telephone numbers to foreign entities, which were used as victim call-back numbers as part of massive robocalling fraud schemes, to give the impression that the fraudsters were located in the United States.  These calls led to massive financial losses to elderly and other vulnerable victims throughout the United States.

“The Department is committed to protecting vulnerable Americans, particularly America’s seniors, from those who seek to steal their hard-earned savings,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Ethan Davis of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division.  “The Department will pursue not only those who place fraudulent robocalls, but also those who knowingly facilitate such calls.  The Department recognizes the exceptional work of the Social Security Administration and Postal Inspection Service in investigating this case.”

“The consent decree is a milestone in protecting the public, especially elderly and other vulnerable persons, from predatory robocall schemes that can cause catastrophic losses to victims in this district and throughout the country,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Seth D. DuCharme.

“We are pleased that all five companies named by the Department of Justice in this civil matter are now permanently enjoined from facilitating Social Security scam calls.  The facts clearly show these companies, and their owners, knowingly did business with government imposter telephone scammers, resulting in financial and emotional harm to unsuspecting consumers,” said Inspector General Ennis.  “I want to thank DOJ’s Consumer Protection Branch, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and our other law enforcement partners who provided assistance and support throughout this investigation.”

In a written opinion issued in March of this year, the District Court found that, despite being warned more than 100 times of specific instances of fraudulent calls being transmitted through their network, the defendants never severed their business relationship with any entity they learned was associated with fraudulent call traffic prior to the United States’ filing of its lawsuit.  The Court held that “at the very least… defendants’ failure to take meaningful action in response to these complaints demonstrates reckless indifference to the fraud they were enabling.  Over time, it became increasingly clear that they knew or should have known the complaints evidenced a widespread pattern of fraudulent calls being transmitted over their network.”

Under the terms of the consent decree entered today by the District Court, the defendants agreed to be permanently barred from, among other things, using the U.S. telephone system to: deliver prerecorded messages through automatic means, carry voice-over internet protocol calls destined for phones in the United States, and not to provide any U.S. phone numbers to other individuals or entities.  In addition, the defendants are permanently barred from serving as employees, agents, or consultants to any person or entity engaged in these activities. 

This case was handled by Trial Attorneys Ann F. Entwistle and Charles B. Dunn of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Bonni Perlin and Dara Olds of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, in coordination with the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.  Investigative support was also provided by the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigation’s El Dorado Task Force and U.S. Secret Service.  The Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission also provided pertinent data.  

Additional information about the Consumer Protection Branch and its enforcement efforts may be found at http://www.justice.gov/civil/consumer-protection-branch.  For more information about the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, visit its website at https://www.justice.gov/usao-edny.  

Ray Hanania

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