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Social media fraud: The influencers promoting criminal scams – BBC News

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On social media, there’s a new type of influencer. But instead of promoting clothing lines and lifestyle products, they promote fraud.

They flash stacks of cash, hide their faces, and some even lure new recruits by selling guides on committing fraud.

You’d think these scammers and their illegal products would be hard to find, and once upon a time, they were, hidden in the shadows of the dark web. But not anymore.

As part of an investigation for BBC Panorama, I discovered just how easy it was to make deals with fraudsters and purchase fraud guides online. I also unmasked one anonymous influencer who has been selling them.

On social, perpetrators of online retail fraud refer to it as “clicking”, making it seem more innocuous.

But committing fraud – which is defined by the police-run service Action Fraud as using trickery to gain a dishonest advantage, often financial, over another person – can lead to up to 10 years in prison.

The guides being traded are known as methods.

They can target banks, retailers and even the government’s Universal Credit system, leaving organisations and members of the public out of pocket.

And they all rely heavily on something known as fullz, slang for full information.

These are the personal details of an unconnected person: typically an individual’s name, phone number, address and bank details.

With the fullz in hand, fraudsters can follow the steps in the guides to make online purchases or even take out a loan in someone else’s name.

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Panorama: Hunting the Social Media Fraudsters is on BBC One at 19:35 BST on Monday or later on iPlayer

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How do these private details end up in circulation in the first place?

They have often come from phishing scams. Think of those dodgy emails or text messages that pretend to be from legitimate sources and con people into revealing their personal information.

Sometimes these fraudsters conduct or commission phishing activities themselves, or sometimes they get hold of the information via others.

Exploiting a person’s “fullz” – by, for example, making purchases using their details – can wreck their credit score. A bad credit score can have life-changing implications: it affects your chances of applying for a loan, or getting a mortgage, or even opening a new bank account.

I contacted one fraudster who was advertising his services on social media and, through a messaging app, he offered to build me a fake website and send 4,000 phishing texts on my behalf to get people’s personal details. His fee was £115.

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Terms used by scammers

  • methods – tips on how to commit fraud
  • fullz – short for full details. Relates to personal banking information (e.g. I can get you their fullz)
  • clicking – fraudulently purchasing products from online retailers

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On a separate Instagram profile, I noticed a scammer had posted some “fullz” – as a sort of free sample, encouraging people to pay to receive many more stolen details. I decided to call some of the phone numbers that were listed.

It was difficult listening to a stranger react as I told them their names, addresses, card details and phone numbers were posted online for anyone to see and exploit.

I later met up with one of the victims, Wilson from Oxford, who said seeing all his details online was scary because it made him realise how unprotected he was.

So why aren’t more people behind these schemes being caught?

Cybercrime specialist Jake Moore says investigators are facing an uphill battle to find the culprits.

“Anonymous accounts are leaving not just a small amount of breadcrumbs to investigate them – there are no breadcrumbs,” he says. “There’s no digital footprint left behind them. So to investigative this is nearly impossible.”

But being an influencer inevitably means sharing some elements of your life online – and over time, one influencer has left behind a few too many clues.

He calls himself Tankz, and in videos of him rapping online, he boasts: “I’m a London scammer. I see it, I want it, I click it.”

He sells fraud guides – or methods.

I posed as someone interested in learning about fraud and messaged Tankz about his methods via Instagram. We bought his top guide for £100.

It arrived as a link, sent via social media, to 43 files on a cloud storage system.

The files were filled with detailed techniques on how to exploit online retailers. They also directed would-be criminals to websites where they can buy “fullz”.

We wanted to find out who this masked fraud influencer was.

Panorama analysed footage Tankz posted on social media, and realised he gave too much away while trying to remain anonymous.

We noted a reference to north London’s Wembley as his local area, a mention of studying economics and finance at university, and a glimpse of his car number plate.

One clip also featured a distinctive black-and-grey carpet, and we were able to find a match on a website advertising student accommodation in the Wembley area.

We went to the block, spotted the car, and waited. Then we saw a man approach the car wearing the exact same tracksuit Tankz had been wearing earlier that day in a social media video.

Left: a photo of Tankz in a blue tracksuit, right: a photo of a man in a black tracksuit that BBC Panorama believes may be Tankz

YouTube/BBC

We had unmasked the masked fraudster but who was he?

His social media posts are anonymous, but we discovered that his songs were also listed on Apple Music. On one of his tracks, the copyright isn’t listed to Tankz, but to what seems is his real name: Luke Joseph.

It didn’t stop there. We discovered an email sent from Tankz’s official address which also made a reference to the same name. There was even an eBay account under the name of Tankz, where Luke Joseph is the contact address.

Finally, we discovered that there was someone of the same name living in the same student accommodation block in Wembley. It seems that Tankz may be a London student called Luke Joseph.

We contacted Luke Joseph, and Tankz, but we didn’t get a response.

His TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat accounts were removed by the respective social media platforms after Panorama notified them about the content.

Since then, he has created a new TikTok account where he continues to post about his life.

So what are the wider authorities doing to crack down on online fraud and those who promote it?

Earlier this year, the government revealed plans to reduce illegal and harmful digital content. It wants the communications regulator Ofcom to police social media and hold big tech giants to account.

Fraud-related content was not originally set to be included in this Online Safety Bill, but at the last minute the government changed its mind. The word “fraud” is still absent, but it could be covered by what the bill refers to as “illegal content”.

Some have voiced concerns that it won’t specifically address the problem.

Arun Chauhan, a solicitor specialising in fraud, says he thinks the bill “is not fit for purpose in the fight against fraud”.

But a government spokesperson told Panorama the new law would “increase people’s protection” from scams, and said they “continue to pursue fraudsters” and “close down the vulnerabilities they exploit”.

TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube all told us they did not allow fraud on their platforms.

They said that they took fraud very seriously and were constantly clamping down on criminal content.

The question is whether they can take it down faster than it’s being posted.

Panorama: Hunting the Social Media Fraudsters is on BBC One at 19:35 BST on Monday or later on iPlayer

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Media Release – September 24, 2021 – Guelph Police – guelphpolice.ca

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Home Invasion Investigation

On the morning of September 16th, 2021, three adult males and an adult female forced their way into an apartment in a residential building located near the intersection of Speedvale Avenue East and Stevenson Street North in the City of Guelph.

An adult male resident was struck with a firearm, and other weapons were brandished during this incident. The male resident and an adult female resident were ultimately able to lock themselves in a room and contact the Guelph Police Service for assistance. The three males and female fled on foot.

The male resident was transported to hospital, treated for his injuries and released.     

Police later located the three males inside another apartment in the building and they were subsequently arrested.

Through investigation, police identified the female involved and a warrant was issued.

This was a targeted incident and there is no concern for public safety. 

A 26 year old Guelph male has been charged with:
-Disguise With Intent
-Break, Enter And Commit Indictable Offence

He was held in custody pending a bail hearing on September 24th.

A 27 year old Guelph male has been charged with:
-Disguise With Intent
-Break, Enter And Commit Indictable Offence
-Use Firearm While Committing Offence
-Possession Of A Weapon For A Dangerous Purpose x2
-Breach Probation
-Fail To Comply With Judicial Release Order

He was held in custody pending a bail hearing on September 24th.

A 33 year old Guelph male has been charged with:
-Disguise With Intent
-Break, Enter And Commit Indictable Offence
-Possession Of Weapon For A Dangerous Purpose
-Fail To Comply With Judicial Release Order

He was held in custody pending a bail hearing on September 29th.

On September 23rd, just before 9:46am, police observed the female as a passenger in a motor vehicle driving near the intersection of Wellington Street West and Fife Road. A traffic stop was initiated, and an adult male driver fled the area on foot.

The female was subsequently arrested.

A search incident to arrest revealed 1.18 grams of Fentanyl.

Further investigation revealed that both the vehicle and the vehicle plates were stolen.

A 30 year old Guelph female has been charged with:
-Disguise With Intent
-Break, Enter And Commit Indictable Offence
-Use Firearm While Committing Offence
-Possession Of Weapon For A Dangerous Purpose
-Assault With A Weapon x2
-Breach Probation
-Fail To Comply With OIC Undertaking
-Possession Of A Controlled Substance – Schedule I
-Possession Of Stolen Property Under $5,000 x2

She was held in custody pending a bail hearing on September 24th.

Please note that police found a second adult female in the vehicle during the traffic stop. She was also subsequently arrested.

A 23 year old Guelph female has been charged with:
-Possession Of Stolen Property Under $5,000 x2

She will appear in court on January 14th, 2022.

The male who fled the vehicle on foot was not located.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Constable Jenifer Nadalin at 519-824-1212 ext. 7523, email her at jnadalin@guelphpolice.ca, leave an anonymous tip at CRIME STOPPERS 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or submit an anonymous tip online at www.csgw.tips.

Road Rage Incident Leads To Weapon Charges

On September 23rd, 2021, just before 6:01pm, a road rage incident occurred between two adult male drivers, which lead to both males exiting their motor vehicles out front of a residence located near the intersection of Starwood Drive and Eastview Road in the City of Guelph. One of the males then pulled foldable knife out of his pocket, opened the blade and held it out in a threatening manner. He eventually left the area in his vehicle.

At 10:32pm, the male who had the knife turned himself into the Guelph Police Service station and was subsequently arrested.

A 29 year old Guelph male has been charged with:
-Assault With A Weapon
-Possession Of A Weapon For A Dangerous Purpose

He will appear in court on January 11th, 2022.

Motor Vehicle Collision Investigation

On September 23rd, 2021, just before 4:52pm, a collision occurred between two motor vehicles near the intersection of Dawson Road and Speedvale Avenue West in the City of Guelph. The collision resulted in minor injuries but significant damage to both vehicles.

Anyone with any dash camera footage in the area or any information at all is asked to contact Constable Lindsay Porterfield at 519-824-1212 ext. 7182, email her at lporterfield@guelphpolice.ca, leave an anonymous tip at CRIME STOPPERS 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or submit an anonymous tip online at www.csgw.tips.

Stolen ATV

Some time between midnight and 8am on September 23rd, 2021, a shed in the backyard of a residence located near the intersection of Edinburgh Road South and Waterloo Avenue in the City of Guelph was entered. An ATV was then taken, as its key was left in the ignition.

However, the vehicle wasn’t in good working order and was difficult drive, so it was abandoned around the corner from the residence, and was recovered by police at 9am.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Constable Joshua van Breda at 519-824-1212 ext. 7417, email him at jvanbreda@guelphpolice.ca, leave an anonymous tip at CRIME STOPPERS 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or submit an anonymous tip online at www.csgw.tips.

The Guelph Police Service would like to encourage the public to never leave keys in the ignition of an unattended motor vehicle.

Multiple Motor Vehicle Collisions And Driving Complaints

Over the past 24 hours the Guelph Police Service received reports of 14 motor vehicle collisions and 11 driving complaints occurring throughout the City of Guelph.

The Guelph Police Service would like to encourage the public to slow down and follow the rules of the road in order to help ensure everyone arrives to their destination safely.

Calls for Service in the last 24 hours: 227

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Black Press Media Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week – Summerland Review – Summerland Review

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Good afternoon and happy Friday!

Before you start off your weekend full of sunshine, cooler weather and pumpkin patch adventures, catch up on some of this week’s news headlines from the Okanagan-Shuswap region.

Woman found dead at Highway 33 and Nickel Road in Kelowna

Kelowna RCMP launched an investigation after the body of a woman was found at Highway 33 and Nickel Road in the city.

Police said they don’t have much information surrounding the woman’s death or the cause of it, but the investigation is ongoing.

Fundraisers set up for family of Penticton murder victim

Fundraisers have been set up for a Penticton murder victim’s family.

Taig Savage’s mother, Tracey, previously lost two other children in a house fire. The goal of the fundraisers is to support her as she goes through losing a child in a tragic way for the third time.

One dead in Vernon shooting

One person died and another person was taken into police custody after a morning shooting in Vernon on Monday (Sept. 20).

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP said the victim and the man in custody are known to each other. As he is still in custody, police said there is no further threat to public safety.

Boaters want Shuswap Lake channel dredged but obstacles deter city

Boaters have been asking the City of Salmon Arm to dredge the channel that leads into Shuswap Lake, but the mayor and his staff say that the high costs and government requirements to dredge are keeping them from doing it.

Staff added that dredging is a temporary solution and has a short life span.

And that’s all for this week. Have yourself a good and safe weekend.


@twilamam
twila.amato@blackpress.ca

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Media Day hype, player rankings are clickbait | Pickaxe and Roll – Denver Stiffs

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Ryan Blackburn shares his thoughts on the third day of player interviews for media week that included Aaron Gordon, Will Barton, Jeff Green, Austin Rivers, and Michael Porter Jr. in a stacked session. Gordon was chill, Barton was excited, Green was professional, Rivers was insightful, and Porter showed readiness to take the leap. Then, Ryan discusses the ESPN player rankings that are filtering out and what they had to say about the Nuggets and Nikola Jokić.

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