Feeds

FTC, Canada bust internet scammers

Bitter medicine for pill racket

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Working with Canadian law enforcement, the Federal Trade Commission is trying to shut down a Canadian-based online scam it says is worth US$450 million.

The scam has snared consumers in at least five countries – the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – by promising “free” or “risk-free” trials either of snake-oil cures or dodgy work-from-home schemes, the FTC says.

Other rackets operated by Jesse Willms through ten companies he controlled included access to government grants, free credit reports, and penny auctions*, the US regulator alleges.

People who signed on for the offers were usually asked for credit card details to cover shipping fees. They then found themselves paying through the nose, with credit charges showing up for the “free” offers, and frequently, recurring monthly charges (usually US$79.95).

“The defendants use the lure of a ‘free’ offer to open an illegal pipeline to consumers’ credit cards and bank accounts,” FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection director David Vladeck said.

In addition, the FTC alleges the Willms companies used false or misleading information to persuade merchant banks to keep their merchant facilities operating in spite of rising chargeback rates and consumer complaints.

The scams were promoted using popup ad marketing and spam.

Other defendants in the FTC’s Federal Court complaint include Peter Graver, Adam Sechrist, Brett Callister, and Carey Milne. Companies named in the complaint include Circle Media Bids, Coastwest Holdings, Farend Services, JDW Media, Net Soft Media, Sphere Media, and True Net, all registered in Canada. ®

*Penny auction: for those not familiar with this racket, the user buys the right to place one-cent bids for between US$0.50 and US$1. Each bid raises the price of an item by one-cent, but bidders have paid the bid purchase price for every bid they placed. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.