Feeds

FTC, Canada bust internet scammers

Bitter medicine for pill racket

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

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. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Ice cream headache as black hat hacks sack Dairy Queen
I scream, you scream, we all scream 'DATA BREACH'!
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
KER-CHING! CryptoWall ransomware scam rakes in $1 MEEELLION
Anatomy of the net's most destructive ransomware threat
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
Three quarters of South Korea popped in online gaming raids
Records used to plunder game items, sold off to low lifes
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?