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  1. Police in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar have apprehended 800 Chinese citizens and confiscated hundreds of computers and mobile phone SIM cards as part of an investigation into a cybercrime ring, local security authorities said. The arrests took place after police raided four locations, and followed two months of investigations, Gerel Dorjpalam, the head of the General Intelligence Agency of Mongolia, said at a media briefing. He did not go into specific details of the offences but said they involved illegal gambling, fraud, computer hacking, identity theft and money laundering. "As of this moment we suspect they are linked to money laundering," he said. "We are looking into the matter." All of the 800 Chinese citizens in detention came to Mongolia using 30-day tourist visas. The Chinese Embassy in Ulaanbaatar said in a statement that it would cooperate with the Mongolian police. "The police department of Mongolia has taken the necessary measures in this case and is currently in the process of investigating," it said. "China and Mongolia will have open law enforcement and security cooperation, and the two parties will be working closely together on this matter." A month ago, 324 undocumented Chinese citizens were arrested in the Philippines on charges of running illegal online gaming activities and engaging in cyberfraud, according to a notice by the country's immigration bureau. Mongolia saw about 480,000 foreign tourists enter in the first three quarters of this year, up 10.7%, with Chinese citizens accounting for nearly a third of the total. The landlocked north Asian nation is trying to diversify its economy and ease its dependence on raw materials, but it has traditionally been wary of opening up its economy to China, its giant southern neighbour. Source: Mongolia arrests 800 Chinese citizens in cybercrime probe (via The Star Online)
  2. The suspect, only identified by the initials B.B.A., second from left, is presented at a press conference at the headquarters of the National Police in South Jakarta on Friday. (Antara Photo/Reno Esnir) Police arrested a 21-year-old man in Sleman, Yogyakarta, on Friday for allegedly using malicious software to extort victims and steal financial data for personal gain. Yogyakarta Police spokesman Senior Comr. Yuliyanto said the suspect, only identified by the initials B.B.A., sent phishing emails to at least 500 randomly selected addresses to spread ransomware, or software designed to block access to computer systems until a ransom is paid. The suspect had reportedly been acting alone since 2014 and collected 300 Bitcoins, or equivalent to around Rp 31.5 billion ($2.25 million), Yuliyanto said. He said the investigation started after a tipoff that the suspect had hacked the computer system of a company based in San Antonio, Texas. The suspect allegedly also stole credit card data from internet users for personal gain. The National Police's cybercrime unit is investigating the case. Yuliyanto said the Yogyakarta Police are assisting in the investigation and will forward evidence to the National Police headquarters in Jakarta. "The evidence includes a Harley Davidson motorcycle and several computers. We will send these [to Jakarta]," he said. The suspect has been in custody in Jakarta since his arrest. The suspect lived in a boarding house in Sleman for the past two years, Yuliyanto said, without providing further detail. Senior Comr. Rickynaldo Chairul, head of the police's cybercrime investigation unit, said separately in Jakarta that the suspect had sent emails containing hyperlinks that directed unsuspecting recipients to his webmail server, which would then install ransomware on recipients' computer systems and prevent them from accessing their data. In the case involving the US company, the suspect threatened to delete its data if it failed to pay the ransom within three days. "The suspect demanded the ransom be paid in Bitcoin before restoring access to the victim's mail server," Rickynaldo said. The suspect reportedly used the email address, [email protected], in his communications with victims. He faces up to six years in prison under the Electronic Information and Transactions Law. Source: Police Arrest Yogyakarta Man Who Used Ransomware Attacks to Amass 300 Bitcoins (via Jakarta Globe) p/s: For those who can understand Indonesian language, there's a news reporting on that. https://cyberthreat.id/read/3532/Pertama-Kali-dalam-Sejarah-Polri-Tangkap-Hacker-Ransomware
  3. Most Important Methods to Detect and Prevent Identity Theft From Hackers An identity thief can steal your sensitive information to commit fraudulent activities, such as file tax, apply for medical services or credit. Identity theftcan damage your reputation, credit status, and cost your money and time. If you receive mysterious bills or credit card charges without shopping for anything, investigate this matter carefully because you are a victim of identity theft. Sometimes, you may get denials for your loan application, or someone calls you to collect debts for new accounts. All these situations indicate that your identity is stolen and misused. A victim of identity theft may spend over 600 hours in clearing his/her identity. You will need affidavits and reports to prove theft. To protect yourself from this situation, you will need a service such Identity Guard to protect against future theft. Here are some easy tips to decrease the risk of identity theft. Fraud Alert and Security Freeze Contact a credit bureau and put a fraud alert on your credit reports. Duration of a fraud alert may vary between 90 days and seven years. After placing a fraud alert, you will get notifications to verify your identity before taking any action on credit. For a security freeze, you will need a password or PIN to check your credit report. Unlike fraud alerts, you have to pay a fee for a security freeze on credit reports. Obtain Credit Reports You are entitled to a free credit report annually from three credit bureaus. Make sure to order these reports once after every four months to monitor your credit. Unfortunately, you can get a report of one bureau at a time. If your reports don’t show identity theft, you might miss these reports for one year. After using your free annual reports, you can purchase credit reports at $11 to $15. Subscribe to credit monitoring services to get free credit reports. Monitor Online Accounts Get access to online banking to check your bank accounts periodically. In this way, you can keep an eye on your accounts and avoid unauthorized charges. For the security of your online bank account, you should not write down your login information. Moreover, don’t share it with anyone. You have to protect this information from identity thieves. Credit Monitoring Discontinue Pre-Approved Credit Cards A pre-approved card can disclose your personal information. Identity thieves can misuse this information to get new credit cards. Make sure to shred credit cards before throwing them away. Pay online bills because identity thieves can steal your checks from a mailbox. Get the advantage of online payment facilities to prevent attacks of identity thieves. Secure Your Social Security Number Keep your social security number at a safe place. Avoid putting a social security card in your pocket or wallet. You should not write down its number on a random location. Before giving this number to customer service personnel, carefully see around. Potential thieves can note down your number for its misuse. Thieves can get your sensitive information via stolen checks. With your checking account number, an identity thief can make purchases and create checks. Pick up your new checks from the bank instead of getting them in your mailbox. Source
  4. FTC: We Know You're Excited, but Please Don't Post That Photo of Your Covid-19 Vaccination Card A healthcare worker displays a COVID-19 vaccine record card at the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center on December 16, 2020 in Portland, Oregon. Photo: Nathan Howard (Getty Images) I don’t know about you all, but I’ve seen quite a few photos of friends’ vaccination cards on my social media feeds. I can’t exactly tell you how many—because frankly, I forgot—but I can tell you that every time I saw one it generated a mixed reaction. On one hand, I was thrilled that my friends that were posting, many of which are health care workers or educators, got a vaccine. Another part of me felt uneasy, though. Posting a photo with personal and vaccine information just seemed like a bad idea. Apparently, the Federal Trade Commission shares my unease. In a blog on the subject posted on Friday, the agency sternly stated that social media is no place to share your covid-19 vaccination cards. It gently chastised people that were celebrating their second covid-19 dose—the current vaccines approved in the U.S. require two shots—with “the giddy enthusiasm that’s usually reserved for weddings, new babies, and other life events.” I totally think that people have the right to be happy they got the vaccine. This pandemic has been terrible and devastating. And truly, if you’ve already gotten the vaccine, I am very happy for you and hope you feel a bit more at ease. However, a celebratory picture is not worth the problems it could generate down the road. “Please—don’t do that! You could be inviting identity theft,” wrote the FTC’s Seena Gressin, an attorney with the agency’s division of consumer and business education. As explained by the agency, the covid-19 vaccination card has important bits of information about you, such as your full name, date of birth, the place you got your vaccine, and when you got it. Posting this to social media is like willingly giving bad actors something they’re looking for. Gressin compared identity theft to a puzzle, which is made of up of pieces of your personal information. You don’t want to give identity thieves what they need to finish your puzzle, she said. “One of those pieces is your date of birth,” Gressin said. “For example, just by knowing your date and place of birth, scammers sometimes can guess most of the digits of your Social Security number. Once identity thieves have the pieces they need, they can use the information to open new accounts in your name, claim your tax refund for themselves, and engage in other identity theft.” Another concern, as noted by the New York Times, is that the vaccine cards could be forged by people who haven’t gotten a vaccine or who do not have plans to get one in order to gain access to jobs, restaurants, or events. A December report in the UK outlet the Sun stated that some people were already selling counterfeit vaccination cards on TikTok. Even worse, the Times states that scammers might even use the information to con people into paying for the second dose of their vaccine or any future booster shots. In the U.S., vaccines purchased by the government are given free of charge, although the vaccination provider is allowed to charge an administrative fee for giving someone the shot, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The list of possible downfalls over an innocent photo can go on and on. This doesn’t mean that government officials and experts are saying that you can’t post any pictures about this important moment on social media. However, they have a suggestion: Take a picture of the vaccine stickers given out at some sites. Or of the bandage on your arm from the injection. Per the FTC, the latter gives you the opportunity to “show off your tattoos and deltoids at the same time.” I personally like the sticker. And hey, we already have experience rocking selfies with “I Vote” stickers. Doing it with the “I got my Covid-19 vaccine!” stickers will be a walk in the park. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Source: FTC: We Know You're Excited, but Please Don't Post That Photo of Your Covid-19 Vaccination Card
  5. US govt: Number of identity theft reports doubled last year The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said today that the number of identity theft reports has doubled during 2020 when compared to 2019, reaching a record 1.4 million reports within a single year. Throughout last year, fraudsters have continuously targeted government funds reserved for people finding themselves in financial trouble due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. "2020’s biggest surge in identity theft reports to the FTC related to the nationwide dip in employment," the FTC said. "After the government expanded unemployment benefits to people left jobless by the pandemic, cybercriminals filed unemployment claims using other people’s personal information." For instance, the FTC received 394,280 reports regarding government benefits fraud attempts, the vast majority of them describing unemployment benefit identity theft fraud — compared with 12,900 reports filed in 2019. The FTC also saw reports regarding cybercriminals using stolen business or personal information to illegally apply for government-sponsored small business loan programs. "Last year, we had 99,650 reports of fraud involving business or personal loans, compared with 43,920 reports in 2019," the FTC added. "Not all of the new reports related to the government relief effort, but they were a big share of the increase." IRS federal stimulus payments were also targeted by scammers and reported to the FTC as tax identity theft attempts, with 89,390 reports being filed last year compared to the 27,450 reports sent in 2019. In 2020, FTC received 394,280 reports about gov't benefits fraud — overwhelmingly about identity theft involving unemployment benefits. Compare that with 12,900 reports in 2019. More: https://t.co/OQa3GHTRRD #IDTheftWeek2021 pic.twitter.com/JlfB7sTgt8 — FTC (@FTC) February 1, 2021 The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has recently published taxpayer guidance on how to identify theft attempts involving unemployment benefits. "The Internal Revenue Service today urged taxpayers who receive Forms 1099-G for unemployment benefits they did not actually get because of identity theft to contact their appropriate state agency for a corrected form," the US federal revenue service said. "Additionally, if taxpayers are concerned that their personal information has been stolen and they want to protect their identity when filing their federal tax return, they can request an Identity Protection Pin (IP PIN) from the IRS." The IRS announced in November 2020 that sensitive information will be masked on all business tax transcripts starting December to protect companies from identity theft. The US Treasury Department bureau also warned of a surge in pandemic-related scams trying to harvest personal information using economic impact payments as a lure, with the stolen info to be later used for identity theft and tax-related fraud. Source: US govt: Number of identity theft reports doubled last year
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