Letter of Credit Fraud

by Rudolf Faix Friday, July 10, 2015 8:43 AM

Old Letter of CreditLegitimate letters of credit are never sold or offered as investments. They are issued by banks to ensure payment for goods shipped in connection with international trade. Payment on a letter of credit generally requires that the paying bank receive documentation certifying that the goods ordered have been shipped and are en route to their intended destination. Letters of credit frauds are often attempted against banks by providing false documentation to show that goods were shipped when, in fact, no goods or inferior goods were shipped.

Other letter of credit frauds occur when con artists offer a “letter of credit” or “bank guarantee” as an investment wherein the investor is promised huge interest rates on the order of 100 to 300 percent annually. Such investment “opportunities” simply do not exist. (See Prime Bank Notes for additional information.)

Tips for Avoiding Letter of Credit Fraud:

  • If an “opportunity” appears too good to be true, it probably is.

  • Do not invest in anything unless you understand the deal. Con artists rely on complex transactions and faulty logic to “explain” fraudulent investment schemes.

  • Do not invest or attempt to “purchase” a “letter of credit”. Such investments simply do not exist.

  • Be wary of any investment that offers the promise of extremely high yields.

  • Independently verify the terms of any investment that you intend to make, including the parties involved and the nature of the investment.

 

Prime Bank Note Fraud

by Rudolf Faix Friday, July 10, 2015 8:34 AM

Old Bank GuaranteeInternational fraud artists have invented an investment scheme that supposedly offers extremely high yields in a relatively short period of time. In this scheme, they claim to have access to "bank guarantees" that they can buy at a discount and sell at a premium. By reselling the "bank guarantees" several times, they claim to be able to produce exceptional returns on investment. For example, if $10 million worth of "bank guarantees" can be sold at a two percent profit on 10 separate occasions - or "traunches" - the seller would receive a 20 percent profit. Such a scheme is often referred to as a "roll program".

To make their schemes more enticing, con artists often refer to the "guarantees" as being issued by the world’s "prime banks", hence the term "prime bank guarantees". Other official sounding terms are also used, such as "prime bank notes" and "prime bank debentures". Legal documents associated with such schemes often require the victim to enter into non-disclosure and non-circumvention agreements, offer returns on investment in "a year and a day" and claim to use forms required by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). In fact, the ICC has issued a warning to all potential investors that no such investments exist.

The purpose of these frauds is generally to encourage the victim to send money to a foreign bank, where it is eventually transferred to an off-shore account in the control of the con artist. From there, the victim’s money is used for the perpetrator’s personal expenses or is laundered in an effort to make it disappear.

While foreign banks use instruments called "bank guarantees" in the same manner that U.S. banks use letters of credit to insure payment for goods in international trade, such bank guarantees are never traded or sold on any kind of market.

Tips for Avoiding Prime Bank Note Fraud:

  • Think before you invest in anything. Be wary of an investment in any scheme, referred to as a “roll program”, that offers unusually high yields by buying and selling anything issued by "prime banks".

  • As with any investment, perform due diligence. Independently verify the identity of the people involved, the veracity of the deal and the existence of the security in which you plan to invest.

  • Be wary of business deals that require non-disclosure or non-circumvention agreements that are designed to prevent you from independently verifying information about the investment.

 

Health Care Fraud or Health Insurance Fraud

by Rudolf Faix Friday, July 10, 2015 8:01 AM

StethoscopeHealth care fraud costs the country tens of billions of dollars a year. It’s a rising threat, with national health care expenditures estimated to exceed $3 trillion in 2014 and spending continuing to outpace inflation. Recent cases also show that medical professionals continue, and may be more willing, to risk patient harm in furtherance of their schemes. The FBI is the primary agency for exposing and investigating health care fraud in the U.S., with jurisdiction over both federal and private insurance programs. We seek to identify and pursue investigations against the most egregious offenders involved in health care fraud through our investigative partnerships with federal, state, and local agencies, as well as our relationships with private insurance national groups, associations, and investigative units. Our field offices proactively target fraud through coordinated initiatives, task forces and strike teams, and undercover operations.

Medical Equipment Fraud: Equipment manufacturers offer “free” products to individuals. Insurers are then charged for products that were not needed and/or may not have been delivered.

“Rolling Lab” Schemes: Unnecessary and sometimes fake tests are given to individuals at health clubs, retirement homes, or shopping malls and billed to insurance companies or Medicare.

Services Not Performed: Customers or providers bill insurers for services never rendered by changing bills or submitting fake ones.

Medicare Fraud: Medicare fraud can take the form of any of the health insurance frauds described above. Senior citizens are frequent targets of Medicare schemes, especially by medical equipment manufacturers who offer seniors free medical products in exchange for their Medicare numbers. Because a physician has to sign a form certifying that equipment or testing is needed before Medicare pays for it, con artists fake signatures or bribe corrupt doctors to sign the forms. Once a signature is in place, the manufacturers bill Medicare for merchandise or service that was not needed or was not ordered.

Tips for Avoiding Health Care Fraud or Health Insurance Fraud:

  • Never sign blank insurance claim forms.

  • Never give blanket authorization to a medical provider to bill for services rendered.

  • Ask your medical providers what they will charge and what you will be expected to pay out-of-pocket.

  • Carefully review your insurer’s explanation of the benefits statement. Call your insurer and provider if you have questions.

  • Do not do business with door-to-door or telephone salespeople who tell you that services of medical equipment are free.

  • Give your insurance/Medicare identification only to those who have provided you with medical services.

  • Keep accurate records of all health care appointments.

  • Know if your physician ordered equipment for you.

 

Nigerian Letter or “419” Fraud

by Rudolf Faix Friday, July 10, 2015 5:43 AM

Laptop with flying bank notesNigerian letter frauds combine the threat of impersonation fraud with a variation of an advance fee scheme in which a letter mailed from Nigeria offers the recipient the “opportunity” to share in a percentage of millions of dollars that the author - a self-proclaimed government official - is trying to transfer illegally out of Nigeria. The recipient is encouraged to send information to the author, such as blank letterhead stationery, bank name and account numbers, and other identifying information using a fax number provided in the letter. Some of these letters have also been received via e-mail through the Internet. The scheme relies on convincing a willing victim, who has demonstrated a “propensity for larceny” by responding to the invitation, to send money to the author of the letter in Nigeria in several installments of increasing amounts for a variety of reasons.

Payment of taxes, bribes to government officials, and legal fees are often described in great detail with the promise that all expenses will be reimbursed as soon as the funds are spirited out of Nigeria. In actuality, the millions of dollars do not exist, and the victim eventually ends up with nothing but loss. Once the victim stops sending money, the perpetrators have been known to use the personal information and checks that they received to impersonate the victim, draining bank accounts and credit card balances. While such an invitation impresses most law-abiding citizens as a laughable hoax, millions of dollars in losses are caused by these schemes annually. Some victims have been lured to Nigeria, where they have been imprisoned against their will along with losing large sums of money. The Nigerian government is not sympathetic to victims of these schemes, since the victim actually conspires to remove funds from Nigeria in a manner that is contrary to Nigerian law. The schemes themselves violate section 419 of the Nigerian criminal code, hence the label “419 fraud.”

Tips for Avoiding Nigerian Letter or “419” Fraud:

  • If you receive a letter from Nigeria asking you to send personal or banking information, do not reply in any manner. Send the letter to your local authorities.

  • If you know someone who is corresponding in one of these schemes, encourage that person to contact the local authorities as soon as possible.

  • Be skeptical of individuals representing themselves as Nigerian or foreign government officials asking for your help in placing large sums of money in overseas bank accounts.

  • Do not believe the promise of large sums of money for your cooperation.

  • Guard your account information carefully.

 

Identity Theft

by Rudolf Faix Thursday, July 9, 2015 4:08 PM

Comic Identity TheftIdentity theft occurs when someone assumes your identity to perform a fraud or other criminal act. Criminals can get the information they need to assume your identity from a variety of sources, including by stealing your wallet, rifling through your trash, or by compromising your credit or bank information. They may approach you in person, by telephone, or on the Internet and ask you for the information.

Identity fraud can be described as the use of that stolen identity in criminal activity to obtain goods or services by deception.

Fraudsters can use your identity details to: 

  • Open bank accounts.
  • Obtain credit cards, loans and state benefits.
  • Order goods in your name.
  • Take over your existing accounts.
  • Take out mobile phone contracts.
  • Obtain genuine documents such as passports and driving licences in your name.
  • Stealing an individual’s identity details does not, on its own, constitute identity fraud. But using that identity for any of the above activities does. 

The first you know of it may be when you receive bills or invoices for things you haven’t ordered, or when you receive letters from debt collectors for debts that aren’t yours.

The sources of information about you are so numerous that you cannot prevent the theft of your identity. But you can minimize your risk of loss by following a few simple hints.

Tips for Avoiding Identity Theft:

  • Never throw away ATM receipts, credit statements, credit cards, or bank statements in a usable form.

  • Never give your credit card number over the telephone unless you make the call.

  • If you receive an unsolicited email or phone call from what appears to be your bank or building society asking for your security details, never reveal your full password, login details or account numbers. Be aware that a bank will never ask for your PIN or for a whole security number or password.

  • Reconcile your bank account monthly, and notify your bank of discrepancies immediately.

  • If you’re expecting a bank or credit card statement and it doesn’t arrive, tell your bank or credit card company.

  • Keep a list of telephone numbers to call to report the loss or theft of your wallet, credit cards, etc.

  • Report unauthorized financial transactions to your bank, credit card company, and the police as soon as you detect them.

  • If you move house, ask your mail service to redirect your post for at least a year.

  • Review a copy of your credit report at least once each year. Notify the credit bureau in writing of any questionable entries and follow through until they are explained or removed.

  • If your identity has been assumed, ask the credit bureau to print a statement to that effect in your credit report.

  • If you know of anyone who receives mail from credit card companies or banks in the names of others, report it to local or federal law enforcement authorities.

 

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I'm since more then 35 years in the computer business (programming and technical support) and using the Internet since it has started. Since 2002 I'm programming solutions for Asterisk and since 2004 I'm in the call center industry.

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