I was a victim of cyber fraud and it was so eye opening!

I belong to a few Facebook (FB) group pages where people buy and sell items. I buy things online all the time through different platforms. When
shopping on the open marketplace, there’s always assumed risk, so I made sure not to spend too much money. In a recent purchase, I was SCAMMED, and the
process of how this went down was so eye opening.

After a week of not getting a tracking number for shipment from the seller, I started to get suspicious and the detective in me started going to work.
There were about 20 other people talking to the seller on the public forum, so I was able to capture information of those that could possibly be in the
same boat. Shortly after I made my purchase, the seller Chelsy deleted her profile from FB. Apparently, this person has been in other FB groups defrauding
people for years and getting away with it! How can someone get away with such illegal activity?

This is what I found out...

  • I paid her via Venmo which is owned by Paypal. Paypal offers Payment Protection, but Venmo does not guarantee your goods or services;
  • After discovering her real name, I found all her online profiles for each social media platform;
  • I found her license online with her birthdate and address. (Be sure to educate your kids never to post their info online)
  • Others who were scammed, also helped investigate and discovered that Chelsy has swindled a lot of people out of money;

At this point, I called the police to file a police report, to better understand how this process works. I had all the details necessary, her telephone number, her license info, her name etc.

The response, “We can’t do anything”.

They wanted each of the defrauded parties to contact the police department where they lived. When pushed further, we pretty much did all the detective work for the
police, they simply said: “We’re too busy investigating murders and rapists, we don’t have time for cyber crime because it's done over the internet across
different states so it's under the jurisdiction of the FBI."

And that’s why cybercrime is so prevalent, there’s no punishment or process. Tips for buying online:

  • If possible try to avoid purchasing from non monitored platforms like Facebook groups, but if you do, try to follow these things:
  • Only use Paypal when buying online;
  • Consider the buyer/seller ratings in the marketplace. Be observant of types of transactions and reviews they have;
  • Never use your home address when sending items;
  • Lock down your social media so others can’t see anything without permission.

Per an FBI 2011 report, 300,000 people were victimized over the Internet to the tune of $1.1 billion. Although that averages out to only $3,666
per victim, the typical Internet hacker commits thousands to hundreds of thousands of these crimes and almost never gets caught. This is why cybercrime
is prevalent. It’s hard to get caught, and when caught, penalty is minimum (often just a few years of jail time).
Protect yourself!

- A Message from Anne-Marie Lerch, CXO

Download a copy of the AUGUST 2020 NEWSLETTER

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