From: Craig Phillips [] on behalf of Craig Phillips []

Sent: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 10:38 AM


Subject: Cocktail Talk - Internet Fraud, IC3



Cocktail Talk


April 2012

Cocktail Talk

Dear Craig:   

Welcome to CN Consulting's "Cocktail Talk".


Cocktail Talk is a casual monthly newsletter intended to arm you with amusing bits and bytes of information on whats happening in the computer world. Topics sure to break the ice and capture an audience at many a social or business event.


Cocktail Talk is archived on


Currently, on Cocktail Talk - Internet Fraud


Cocktail TalkThe Internet is a wicked, evil place and until Congress and Wikipedia get it all sorted out for us it's going to stay that way.


You might  be hard pressed to name any agency bringing law and order to the internet wasteland. 

Articles say we're supposed to protect ourselves against Internet evil without saying what to look out for or offering any recourse to victims. But there is law in the internet.


Please allow me to introduce you to the Internet Crime Complaint Center.


The Internet Crime Complaint CenterIC3) was established as a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) to serve as a means to receive Internet related criminal complaints  and to further research, develop, and refer the criminal complaints to federal, state, local, or international law enforcement and/or regulatory agencies for any investigation they deem to be appropriate.* 


That's pretty official sounding. If you think you've been wronged, IC3 may be the place to go. They seem to be very willing to help and aren't asking for much on our part. It only takes minutes to file a report. Here's all they ask, straight from the IC3 website:


The IC3 accepts online Internet crime complaints from either the actual victim or from a third party to the complainant. We can best process your complaint if we receive accurate and complete information from you. Therefore, we request that you provide the following information when filing a complaint:

  • Your name
  • Your mailing address
  • Your telephone number
  • The name, address, telephone number, and Web address, if available, of the individual or organization you believe defrauded you.
  • Specific details on how, why, and when you believe you were defrauded.
  • Any other relevant information you believe is necessary to support your complaint.

The IC3 explains what to watch out for too. 


The Counterfeit Cashier's Check scheme targets individuals that use Internet classified advertisements to sell merchandise. 


Typically, an interested party located outside the United States contacts a seller. The seller is told that the buyer has an associate in the United States that owes him money. As such, he will have the associate send the seller a cashier's check for the amount owed to the buyer.


The amount of the cashier's check will be thousands of dollars more than the price of the merchandise and the seller is told the excess amount will be used to pay the shipping costs associated with getting the merchandise to his location. The seller is instructed to deposit the check, and as soon as it clears, to wire the excess funds back to the buyer or to another associate identified as a shipping agent. In most instances, the money is sent to locations in West Africa (Nigeria).


Because a cashier's check is used, a bank will typically release the funds immediately, or after a one or two day hold. Falsely believing the check has cleared, the seller wires the money as instructed. Shortly thereafter, the victim's bank notifies him that the check was fraudulent, and the bank is holding the victim responsible for the full amount of the check. 


Employment/Business Opportunity schemes have surfaced wherein bogus foreign-based companies are recruiting citizens in the United States on several employment-search websites for work-at-home employment opportunities. 


Some web-based international companies are advertising for affiliate opportunities, offering individuals the chance to sell high-end electronic items, such as plasma television sets and home theater systems, at significantly reduced prices.


The affiliates are instructed to offer the merchandise on well-known Internet auction sites. The affiliates will accept the payments, and pay the company, typically by means of wire transfer. The company is then supposed to drop-ship the merchandise directly to the buyer, thus eliminating the need for the affiliate to stock or warehouse merchandise. The merchandise never ships, which often prompts the buyers to take legal action against the affiliates, who in essence are victims themselves.


LooksTooGoodToBeTrue is a link from IC3 and has information on fraud schemes like Debt Elimination, Job Scam, Nigerian 4-1-9, Ponzi, Money Laundering and Romance scams. It is maintained by a joint federal law enforcement and industry task force, paid for by the United States Postal Inspection Service and the FBI, partners with the NW3C and should have a much cooler name or at least a three letter acronym. You can't even think LTGTBT three times fast. Here are a few scams of interest.


Fee stacking involves the seller adding hidden charges to the item after the auction is over to obtain more money. Instead of a flat rate for postage and handling, the seller adds separate charges for postage, handling, and the shipping container. As a result, the buyer has now paid a lot more for the item than what he/she had anticipated.


Multiple bidding is used to buy an item at a lower price. This occurs when a buyer places multiple bids (some high and some low) on the same item using different aliases. The multiple high bids by the same buyer cause the price to escalate, which scares off other potential buyers from bidding. Then, in the last few minutes of the auction, the same buyer withdraws their high bids, only to purchase the item with their much lower bid.


Shill Bidding is intentional fake bidding by the seller to drive up the price of his/her own item that is up for bid. This is accomplished by the sellers themselves making bids on their own items, and/or someone who is associated with the seller making bids to purposely drive up the price of the seller's item. 



If you are the victim of a scam, and I hope you never are, filing a complaint with the IC3 may be the way to go, that's your call, and that's Cocktail Talk. 



Thank you for reading,



Craig Phillips

CN Consulting, Inc.


* Right from the website.



CN Consulting, Inc -
Computer Consulting for Business!



CN Consulting Inc. (CNCI) is an independent consulting company formed in 1990 and located within easy reach of both Chicago and Milwaukee.


CNCI maintains a select client base providing consulting services concerning the use of information technology. We persistently look for advantage to our clients in added value and reduced cost made available by advancing technology.


CNCI does not have financial interest in any given product or product line. We evaluate current and emerging technologies solely based on their benefit to our clients. CNCI implements the solutions it recommends and readily partners with companies that offer products and services to the advantage of our clients. CNCI offers complete client support with singular accountability.


We maximize the benefit of our clients' existing technology, systems, and platforms while integrating the benefits provided by new technology.


Business Continuity and Business Development are our goals with Continuity being the foundation of Development.


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