USA

U.S. Government Bans Woman Money Mule From Helping Scammers Anymore – 2024

U.S. Government Bans Woman Money Mule From Helping Scammers Anymore

In a First of Its Kind Decision, the U.S. Court Orders Money Mule to Stop Helping Scammers! This was Required Because She Would Not Stop!

Primary Category: Scam Victim’s Story

Authors:
•  SCARS Editorial Team – Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
•  United States Attorney’s Office, Department of Justice

About This Article

In a landmark decision, the U.S. Federal Government has barred Holly Freidamarie Locke, a 70-year-old Michigan woman, from participating in any further online romance scams. Locke, initially a victim herself, was deceived into acting as a “money mule,” transmitting funds for scammers. Despite police warnings and a signed cease and desist order, she continued facilitating scams.

U.S. District Judge Paul D. Borman approved a consent decree preventing Locke from aiding scammers. This decision, the first of its kind in Michigan, is part of a broader DOJ effort to combat international fraud rings exploiting U.S. citizens.

Locke’s case highlights the manipulation tactics used by scammers and the crucial role of money mules in these schemes. By cutting off this flow of money, the decree aims to protect potential victims and disrupt the operations of fraud networks. Locke did not admit liability in the decree.

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Pokémon Card Scammers Arrested By FBI – 2024

Pokémon Card Scammers Arrested By FBI

The FBI has arrested Anthony Curcio and Iosif Bondarchuk for operating a nationwide scam involving sports and Pokémon trading cards.

Primary Category: Criminal Justice

Authors:
•  SCARS Editorial Team – Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
•  Federal Bureau of Investigation

About This Article

The FBI has arrested Anthony Curcio and Iosif Bondarchuk for operating a nationwide scam involving sports and Pokémon trading cards. Charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud, the duo allegedly manipulated the market by misrepresenting low-to-mid grade cards as high-grade, authenticated by a reputable grading company, causing victims to overpay and resulting in over $2 million in fraudulent sales.

The scheme, which spanned from 2022 to May 2024, involved selling cards with falsified grades through online marketplaces and in-person venues. Curcio and Bondarchuk used fake identities to conceal their involvement, even after victims confronted them.

The case highlights the FBI’s commitment to combating fraud and protecting consumers in the collectibles market.

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A Desperate Scam Victim – Ann Mayers – Becomes A Bank Robber – 2024 [VIDEOS]

A Desperate Scam Victim – Ann Mayers – Becomes A Bank Robber

Ann Mayers, a Scam Victim lost her life savings and borrowed over $80,000 which she still owed. Out of Desperation, she decided to become a Bank Robber

However, the story is not as simple as it seems due to the trauma and cognitive impairment victims suffer from

Authors:
•  SCARS Editorial Team – Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
•  Portions WLWT5 News and other sources

About This Article

Ann Mayers, a 74-year-old Ohio woman, turned to bank robbery in desperation after falling victim to an online scam.

Police responded to a robbery at AurGroup Credit Union, where Mayers demanded cash at gunpoint. She was later found at her home and confessed to the crime, admitting recent financial losses to an unidentified online scammer. Mayers faces charges of aggravated robbery and tampering with evidence, highlighting the tragic consequences of online scams.

Such scams often leave victims traumatized, affecting their cognitive function and decision-making abilities. Victims may experience cognitive dissonance, struggling to reconcile reality with their desire to believe in the legitimacy of the scam.

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The Tragic Story Of Laura Kowal – A Romance Scam Victim Who Died Possibly At The Hands Of The Ghana/Nigerian Scammers – 2024 – [Videos]

The Tragic Story Of Laura Kowal

A Romance Scam Victim Who Died Possibly At The Hands Of The Ghana Scammers Who Controlled Here!

A Not Uncommon Case of a Romance Scam Victim Who loses Everything and then becomes a Money Mule for Ghana Scammers

Authors:
•  SCARS Editorial Team – Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
•  Portions CBS News and other sources

About This Article

Laura Kowal’s tragic story sheds light on the devastating impact of romance scams, where victims like her become enslaved by expert criminals, leading to dire consequences. Laura, a widow seeking companionship, fell victim to a scam orchestrated by individuals masquerading as her online lover, ‘Frank Borg.’

Despite initial feelings of romance and excitement, Laura eventually became a money mule for Ghana scammers, after ultimately losing $1.5 million.

Mysteriously, she was found drowned in a river, raising suspicions of foul play. Her daughter, Kelly Gowe, tirelessly seeks answers, highlighting the manipulative tactics and devastating consequences of romance scams.

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Unbelievable Story Of A U.S. Military Soldier Sanda G. Frimpong Involved In A Romance Scam Gang – 2024

Unbelievable Story Of A U.S. Military Soldier Sanda G. Frimpong Involved In A Romance Scam Gang

A U.S. Soldier from Ghana becomes a real romance scam gang member

Author:
•  SCARS Editorial Team – Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

About This Article

Former U.S. Army soldier Sanda G. Frimpong, formerly stationed at Fort Bragg, has been sentenced to 40 months in federal prison for his involvement in a money laundering romance scam targeting vulnerable individuals, including seniors and military veterans, from 2019 to 2022. Frimpong, 33, pleaded guilty to three counts of money laundering in exchange for the dismissal of multiple charges, including wire fraud and identity theft.

His fraudulent activities, which included impersonating romantic partners and military personnel, resulted in the laundering of hundreds of thousands of dollars through various bank accounts and contacts in Ghana.

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Gift Card Gangs From China Operating Inside The United States – 2024

Gift Card Gangs From China Operating Inside The United States

How Organized Crime Gangs from China are Operating inside the U.S.

Authors:
•  Craig Silverman and Peter Elkind, ProPublica
•  SCARS Editorial Team – Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

About This Article

Federal authorities are investigating the involvement of Chinese organized crime rings in gift card fraud schemes targeting American consumers, launching a task force named “Project Red Hook” to combat this growing threat. The initiative focuses on preventing “card draining,” where thieves exploit stolen or altered card numbers to siphon money before legitimate owners can use them.

Over the past 18 months, law enforcement has arrested about 100 individuals for card draining, with the majority being Chinese nationals or Chinese Americans. The schemes, estimated to have stolen hundreds of millions of dollars, highlight the need for industry collaboration and heightened security measures.

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New Privacy Bill In Congress Offers Real Privacy Rights To Everyone – 2024

New Privacy Bill In Congress Offers Real Privacy Rights To Everyone

Congress appears ready for Comprehensive Privacy Legislation covering all American Businesses (except Small Businesses)

Policy & Regulations

Author:
•  SCARS Editorial Team – Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

About This Article

The New Bipartisan Privacy Legislation in the U.S., the American Privacy Rights Act, backed by key lawmakers, including Senator Maria Cantwell and Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, introduces substantial cybersecurity mandates affecting various sectors of the economy.

Cantwell’s support marks a departure from previous failed attempts at comprehensive privacy laws, emphasizing the need to make privacy a consumer right.

Amid growing concerns over surveillance capitalism and state-level privacy regulations, the bill mandates corporations to uphold reasonable data security practices, encompassing confidentiality, integrity, and accessibility. It outlines cybersecurity measures like vulnerability assessments and bug reporting while granting consumers rights to access, correction, and opt-out of targeted advertising.

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7 Chinese Hackers Indicted In U.S. Court For Cybercrime – 2024

7 Chinese Hackers Indicted In U.S. Court

Authors:
•  SCARS Editorial Team – Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
•  United States Department of Justice

About This Article

In a significant development, seven Chinese hackers, associated with the Chinese government and operating under the APT31 cybercrime and hacking group, have been indicted for their involvement in a sophisticated cybercrime scheme targeting perceived critics of China, U.S. businesses, and politicians.

The indictment, unsealed recently, charges the individuals with conspiracy to commit computer intrusions and wire fraud, highlighting their role in cyber espionage, economic espionage, and foreign intelligence activities.

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NACHA Changes Credit-Push ACH Payments Rules To Fight Scams & Fraud – 2024

NACHA Changes ACH Credit-Push Payments Rules To Fight Scams & Fraud

Placing More Responsibility on the Financial Services Sector to Police Scams & Fraud

Authors:
•  SCARS Editorial Team – Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
•  NACHA

About This Article

Nacha members have endorsed rules to combat fraud, including business email compromise (BEC), leveraging credit-push payments. These rules mandate ACH payment monitoring for all network participants (excluding consumers), marking a pivotal shift.

Despite not altering liability, recipient financial institutions (RDFIs) gain a monitoring role for the first time. With BEC scams, vendor impersonation, and payroll fraud causing significant losses, the need for action is urgent.

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Southeast Asia Scam Gangs – SCARS Editorial – 2024

Southeast Asia Scam Gangs

A SCARS Editorial

Author:
•  SCARS Editorial Team – Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

About This Article

The rise of Southeast Asian Scam Gangs presents a global threat, defrauding countless victims and perpetuating criminal activities. While governments like the U.K. and China are taking action, U.S. attention remains diverted.

However, Washington’s involvement is crucial. These transnational criminal organizations wield substantial economic power, necessitating enhanced law enforcement support.

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Mona Faiz Montrage ‘Hajia4Reall’ – A Ghana Influencer Pleads Guilty In U.S. Court To Romance Scams – 2024

Ghana Influencer Mona Faiz Montrage ‘Hajia4Reall’ Pleads Guilty In U.S. Court To Romance Scams

Ghana Influencer Guilty of Involvement In Ghana Romance Scams

Author:
•  SCARS Editorial Team – Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

About This Article

Ghanaian influencer and musician Mona Faiz Montrage, also known as Hajia4Reall, has confessed to her involvement in a string of romance scams, leading to the illicit acquisition of over $2 million, as disclosed by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

The 31-year-old, once revered as a leading Instagram influencer with a following exceeding 3 million, was linked to a West African criminal syndicate orchestrating fraudulent activities targeting individuals and enterprises in the United States.

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A Fake Social Media Scam But A Real Murder For Hire Plot In Alaska – 2024

A Fake Social Media Scam But A Real Murder For Hire Plot In Alaska

How a Fake Social Media Profile Induced Teens Online to Commit a Murder for Hire!

Authors:
•  SCARS Editorial Team – Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
•  Portions Alaska Department of Law, KTUU, and other sources

About This Article

The chilling murder-for-hire plot in Alaska involving Denali Dakota Skye Brehmer, which resulted in the tragic death of 19-year-old Cynthia Hoffman, highlights the dangerous consequences of online deception and manipulation, particularly in the context of ‘catfishing’ schemes.

Brehmer, along with her accomplices, was induced by an Indiana man, Darin Schilmiller, who offered a false promise of $9 million in exchange for photos and videos of Hoffman’s murder.

Despite not being the one to pull the trigger, Brehmer’s pivotal role in orchestrating the murder led to her sentencing of 99 years in prison.

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U.S. Bank President Lured Into Pig Butchering Scam – Embezzled Almost $50 Million – 2024

U.S. Bank President Lured Into Pig Butchering Scam

Victim Embezzled Almost $50 Million

Author:
•  SCARS Editorial Team – Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

About This Article

The CEO of a Kansas bank was arrested for allegedly embezzling $50 million to participate in a “Pig Butchering” crypto scam, where victims are manipulated into investing in fake schemes.

This incident, causing the bank to fail, highlights the rising threat of investment fraud, which the FBI reports increased 183% from 2021 to 2022. Kansas bank commissioner David Herndon urges caution, advising against clicking unknown links or replying to suspicious emails. This case underscores the importance of investor education and awareness regarding crypto scams and other forms of investment fraud.

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New York State Goes After Citibank For Failing To Protect & Refund To Scam Victims – January 2024

New York State Goes After Citibank for Failing to Protect & Refund to Scam Victims

New York State Attorney General Files Lawsuit Against Citibank for Scam Victim

Author:
•  SCARS Editorial Team – Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

About This Article

The New York Attorney General, Letitia James, filed a lawsuit against Citibank for negligence in protecting customers from fraud, alleging that the bank failed to implement strong security measures and improperly denied reimbursement to victims.

Citi’s lax security protocols led to millions of dollars being stolen from customers, with some losing their life savings. Victims reported delayed responses to fraud claims, with Citi often leaving them on lengthy holds, allowing scammers to continue their activities. The lawsuit highlights the importance of robust security measures and swift responses to fraud reports by financial institutions.

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CDA Section 230 – Groundbreaking Decision in California Civil Case – 2024

CDA Section 230 Groundbreaking Decision in California Civil Case

Has the Dam Finally Broken or is it just a Leak?

Author:
•  SCARS Editorial Team – Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

Article Abstract

NOTE: This article about the Communications Decency Act CDA Section 230 is not intended to be a legal opinion. SCARS is not a law firm nor are licensed attorneys. This is an analysis of this case based on the need to understand the implications for potential future cases and rulings. SCARS has long suggested that social media applications could be considered defective and dangerous products, and we are gratified to see this concept finally emerge in this case.

In the Case of Neville v. Snap – Applying the Communications Decency Act CDA Section 230 in Groundbreaking Decision in California Civil Case

Judge Rejects Snap’s Section 230 Defense in Neville v. Snap

Has the Section 230 immunity Dam Finally Broken or is it just a Leak?

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Chinese Money Laundering Organizations (CMLOs) – Use of Counterfeit Chinese Passports – 2024

Chinese Money Laundering Organizations (CMLOs) – Use of Counterfeit Chinese Passports

A Scam Warning to Merchants & Businesses

Authors:
•  SCARS Editorial Team – Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
•  United States Department of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)

Article Abstract

The Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) warns U.S. financial institutions of Chinese Money Laundering Organizations (CMLOs) using counterfeit Chinese passports to facilitate criminal activities.

Chinese Money Laundering Organizations (CMLOs,) affiliated with Mexican cartels and transnational criminal groups, recruit Chinese nationals as “money mules” through social media, particularly WeChat.

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Romance Scam Victim Steals And Gives To Her Scammer – 2024

Romance Scam Victim Steals And Gives To Her Scammer

An Example Of The Level Of Control Scammers Have Over Their Victims

Author:
•  SCARS Editorial Team – Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

Article Abstract

A tragic case unfolds as Sharon Ann Schmalzriedt, a Minnesota woman and romance scam victim, faces charges for embezzling $3.75 million from a local business and misappropriating $17,150 from a vulnerable adult. Allegedly entangled in an online romance, she funneled funds to an individual named Erik Lockwood, misled by his claims of needing US currency to access millions owed.

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Scam Victim Commits Suicide – Romance Scam Scammers Arrested – 2023

Scam Victim Commits Suicide

Romance Scam Scammers Arrested

Author:
•  SCARS Editorial Team – Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

Nigerians Scammers Living In The U.S. Romance Scam Elderly Man Who Then Takes His Own Life!

The FBI has disclosed a tragic story involving a retired teacher’s suicide, a result of falling victim to a sick celebrity romance scam, allegedly orchestrated by a New Jersey couple of Nigerian descent, Chinagorom Onwumere, 34, and Salma Abdalkareem, 27, residing in the United States.

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FTC: Alexa Data Abuse – 2023

FTC: Alexa Data Abuse

Author:
•  Elisa Jillson, U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – reprinted

Article Abstract

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) underscores critical violations in Amazon and Ring’s handling of consumers’ private data, voice recordings, and video footage. Amidst AI’s burgeoning presence, the complaints highlight companies’ negligence towards customer privacy, breaching the FTC’s Biometric Policy Statement. Emphasizing the pivotal nexus of AI and privacy, the FTC urges caution in data collection, stressing the need for consumer control.

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