My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: How Scammers and Hackers are on the Rebound Laundering Money as Peter Bunting misguided on Scammers

Thursday, August 7, 2014

How Scammers and Hackers are on the Rebound Laundering Money as Peter Bunting misguided on Scammers

“This is not just limited to the security forces but of any organisation in Jamaica, but for a small unit within the Major Organised Crime Agency. The over 600 arrests with convictions to all that came through the system is an excellent record”

Minister of National Security Peter Bunting during a press Conference on Monday August 5th 2014 responding to allegations that Scamming has gotten worse

Despite the implementation of the Law Reform Fraudulent Transaction Special Provisions Act and the related Cybercrime Act as I’d reported back in June 2013 in my blog article entitled “GOJ amends the CyberCrime Act of 2010, enlists Ethical Hackers in a Cyber Emergency Response Team - White Hat Hackers are the Q.U.E.E.N Project Janelle Monae and Erica Badu Style”, scamming is now on the rise.

This according to an article in the Associated Press that points out the scammers have merely shifted their tactics and have found new, more sophisticated ways to get money via scamming, an indication that the situation is getting worse, not better.

Minister of National Security Peter Bunting, with his reputation on the line, has claimed otherwise to journalists at a Press Conference held on Monday August 5th 2014, citing some 600 arrested and charged of Lotto Scamming under the new Act as stated in “Lotto scammers under pressure, says Bunting”, published Tuesday August 5, 2014 by Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer, The Jamaica Gleaner.

To quote Minister of National Security Peter Bunting: “Therefore, I don't think there is any basis to suggest that the situation has got any worse; I believe [it has] improved .... Certainly from the intelligence that we get on the ground, the suggestion is that the scammers are under a lot of pressure”.

He cited the fact that there are some 20 cases that have gone through the Legal system in collaboration with the US Authorities that have resulted in convictions and possible extraditions to face legal proceeding abroad, quote: “My feedback from the US law enforcement is that the US considered the level of cooperation as unprecedented”.

How scammers are on the Rebound – Money Laundering is the new Tool For Scammers

Well, scammers naturally would be under pressure if this much firepower, both legally and in terms of the JCF (Jamaica Constabulary Force) aka the Jamaican Police, was brought to bear against them. But as usual with these Ministries of Government in Jamaica, the devil is in the statistical details.

The most obvious is the claim of 600 arrested and charged under the Law Reform Fraudulent Transaction Special Provisions Act and the related Cybercrime Act. This is being touted as a sign of “unprecedented” cooperation.

But these arrests took place over a 15 month period according to the article. That breaks down to 40 persons arrested per month. But over that same period, only 20 cases have been tried and convicted. Thus, albeit they have arrested and charged 600 persons for certain breaking aspects of the Law Reform Fraudulent Transaction Special Provisions Act and the related Cybercrime Act, they’ve only managed 20 cases and convictions, effectively a 3% efficiency rate.

The US authorities would naturally say this; other countries that they’ve had to deal relating to Scamming and Cybercrime, which is an aspect of Scamming and is closely related, are dictatorships and countries with foreign policies hostile to the Barack Obama Administration. Thus, that fact we’re “cooperating” is being congratulated in a bid for the Americans to get more information from our Law Enforcement based on information that they supply us about suspected Scammers.

As we Jamaicans would say, “encouragement sweeten labour”, albeit Jamaicans cooperation is more of a fear of repercussions from Uncle Sam from the North as opposed to genuine concerns over scamming victims in the US of A. Truth be told, we’re more afraid of their sanctions, so any action on our part to make us look like we’re “cooperating” would naturally be lauded by the Minister of National Security Peter Bunting to make it appear in the eyes of the public that we’re doing something.

Scammers working with Hackers - Money Laundering is the new Tool For Scammers

In reality, 3% barely scratches the surface of the scamming problem. Worse, scammers have gotten more sophisticated.

They no longer need to get their lead lists from Call Centers as I’d described in my blog article entitled How to find work in Jamaica at Call Centers - Why Paper Free Environment prevent Scamming and Attract more BPO's

They’re now dabbleing in areas that are more akin to Hacking and phishing to create lead lists. They also no longer flash cash; it’s all in the form of Prepaid Debit Cards as described in my blog article entitled “Jamaican Music Industry 2 Years post-Ban - How Artiste and Booking Agents Launder Money”.

Based on my sources working in the Call Centers with whom I communicate, their latest methods involve setting up websites that advertise sweepstakes or even allow persons to gamble and pay for Supreme Ventures Lottery games e.g. Cash Pot, Super Lotto Draw, etc, even though most of those persons accessing these websites are Americans and Europeans!

Scammers still buy lead lists. But they no longer need to do so from Call centers, say my Call Center Sources. Instead, they can buy their lists from shady Hacking Community made up of mostly Gangs of hackers.

These Gangs are spread across the US of A, Russia, Brazil and even as far as China, who regularly pummel the Servers of the US Government with organized botnet attacks as described in my blog article entitled “Norse map indicates USA needs a Return of the Jedi as the Empire Strikes Back at Chinese Hackers”.

They also attack more popular websites such as EBay and Amazon, seeking to steal logins and passwords by exploiting vulnerabilities in their websites and overall security using the tried and tested Botnet Army.

Scammers and Hackers meet – 1.2 billion Logins and Passwords for sale from Russian Hackers

Scammers meets these hackers in the Hacker Underworld at chatrooms in Darkweb websites communicating via mIRC, PGP encrypted email or simply even *.pdf files sent as attachments in email as explained in my blog article entitled “How to Create PDF Documents using PDFCreator”.

Facebook and Social Media are avoided; too easy to eavesdrop on conversations even in Messenger on those websites. Also no phone Calls except VoIP, which means that the current VoIP blockade as described in my blog article entitled “Telecom Providers await OUR’s Judgement on VoIP Bypass – Viber is on the rebound but USF Revenue for GOJ means they’ll win” is hurting scammers right now

The persons these scammers strike deals with are hackers who glean the information from websites such as GOJ (Government of Jamaica) websites hacked using an army of Botnets and a variety of hacking tools as detailed in my blog article entitled “GOJ securing Government Websites against Hackers - Linux-based GovNET to remove Windows vulnerabilities and change Human Behaviour”.

This information hacked from Jamaican websites as well as American and European Websites is just as data rich as a Lead list and contains:

1.      Names
2.      Addresses
3.      Emails
4.      Phone Numbers
5.      Social Security Numbers
6.      TRN
7.      NIS
8.      NHT
9.      Passport No
10.  Driver’s License
11.  Login and password pairs

Lead Lists from Hackers – Why break in when you can steal the key and open the door

Scammers then buy these improved lead lists for Jamaican as well as Lead lists from hackers abroad for American and European Citizens. Right now, you can get a list of 1.2 billion logins and passwords gleaned from some 420,000 websites over a one year period by a Russian Hacking Gang as reported in “Hackers nab 1.2B passwords in colossal breach, says security firm”, published August 5, 2014 6:10 PM PDT by Dara Kerr, CNET News.

According to that article, they’d used software to basically scan for vulnerabilities in these websites using common Network analysis tools. Once they located these vulnerabilities, they then set up their botnet networks and hacked their way in…..exactly as I’d described in my blog article entitled “GOJ securing Government Websites against Hackers - Linux-based GovNET to remove Windows vulnerabilities and change Human Behaviour”.

That’s all that’s needed.

Websites offering the chance to win Lottery Prizes or play lottery games, prompting gamblers to spend money in order to win at a game of chance. As for the lead lists obtained from hackers, the scammers can send targets emails with links in it that prompt the person to click in order to get a prize.

Once they’re clicked, these scammers with the help of hacker, would basically be able to install keyloggers on the target computers and in the  process, record all keystrokes on your machine and harvest a lot of personal information as explained in my blog article entitled “Professor Marco Gercke warns of Scammers using Keyloggers for Spear Phishing - How to use Keyloggers and how to Protect yourself from Scammer's American Hustle for Fast Cash”.

Minister of National Security Peter Bunting misguided – Scamming is switching gears

The Scammer of days gone by is now a relic of the past. Those are the bulk of the 600 persons that the Minister of National Security Peter Bunting. Instead, hackers have gone “legit”, opting to use Lead Lists obtained online to get Personal Information to initiate Scams. They no longer revolve around the lottery but they do involve the victim having to pay money to play lottery games online.

And no more extravagant living or cash spent in public; they now collect their cash in Bank Accounts linked to Prepaid Debit Cards, as they understand the Banking System a lot better now. They realize that the best way to scam is to do so through the biggest scammer of all – the Jamaican Central Bank.

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