ICI is now offering credit checks

International Consultants and Investigations, Inc. (ICI) is now offering credit checks for pre-employment and rentals for a fee of $50.00.  As an added bonus, ICI will also provide our Global Watch program.  The Global Watch program is inclusive of US Government and financial enforcement checks as well as an international criminal background evaluation.  Complete background checks are available; fees are dependent upon the depth of check required.

Note that an authorization signed by the subject is required for all credit checks within the US. ICI can provide this form upon your request.

For information, contact ICI at: info@icicompanies.com

Visit us at : www.icicompanies.com

 

TEGO CYBER SECURITY – ICI’s exciting new client

ICI’s exciting new client, Tego Cyber has requested the we enlighten our associates and clients to this powerful new cyber security solution. As a rule, we do not disclose client names but, in this case, we feel compelled to release this information.

TEGO Cyber’s mission is to deliver an intelligent, state-of-the-art threat intelligence platform with a proprietary process of collecting and enriching threat data to help enterprises identify threats within their environments.

TEGO Cyber threat intelligence application helps enterprises meet the challenges of today’s connected business world. This is an advanced threat intelligence platform utilizing proprietary software solutions for the enterprise space; the founding team is highly experienced and recognized within the cyber security field. The TEGO threat intelligence [platform (TTIP) integrates with top end security platforms to gather, analyze and proactively identify threats to an enterprise network. As a result:

A proprietary process is used to compile, analyze and then deliver data to an enterprise network in a foprmat that is timely, informative and relevant. This data is provided in context and included specific details for the enterprise to identify and counteract threats.

 

Stay tuned for more on Tego Cyber!

Airport and Hotel Wi-Fi Hacks

Connecting to public Wi-Fi gives savvy hackers easy access to your personnel information.  Too avoid these scams use your smart phone to connect to the internet more securely.  You might also invest in a virtual private network (VPN), a service that encrypts your data to keep unscrupulous hackers from stealing sensitive information online.  A VPN costs about $30 to $100 a year.

AARP Bulletin June 2021

  IDENTITY THEFT…IT’S THE CRIME THAT KEEPS ON TAKING

LAST YEAR IDENTITY THEFT COST CONSUMERS IN THE U.S. ALMOST FIVE BILLION DOLLARS.

EARL JOHNSON, CEO OF ICI COMPANIES HAS A FEW SELF-DEFENSE STRATEGIES TO STOP THIS CRIME BEFORE IT HAPPENS TO YOU!

1. THE INTERNET POSES A HUGE THREAT.  HERE ARE SOME OF THE THINGS YOU HAVE TO BE AWARE OF:

a) don’t store credit card info on a website

b) don’t open or respond to unwanted email or email from a party you don’t know.  This can unleash a “worm” air virus on your computer that will disable your system and/or allow hackers to get in.

c) make sure you are on a secure page when shopping on the Internet.

d) use just one credit card exclusively for internet shopping

e) utilize virus and security protection.  These can be purchased or provided for free by firms like Microsoft for users of their operating system.

2. ATMs, ALMOST EVERYONE USES THEM AND WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THREATS YOU FACE USING THEM?

a) do not use convenience store ATMs or those not provided by a financial institution.

b), choose a pin number that’s hard to crack

c) always make sure no one is looking over you shoulder while you’re using an ATM

d) make sure the ATM hasn’t been tampered with

e) use ATSMs that are in trafficked and well lit areas and not isolated or hidden from view

3. YOUR PHONE CAN ALSO EXPOSE YOU TO IDENTITY THEFT.

WHAT ARE SOME PRECAUTIONS YOU CAN TAKE?
a) do not give out personal info over the phone if you didn’t initiate the call own know the party you’re speaking to

b) register with a national do not cal system

c) don’t offer up your social security, credit card or bank account numbers unless you know who you’re speaking to

d)  do not send money over currency apps or give credit/debit card info to parties you don’t know.  Current scams revolve around grand children in trouble needing money, “Medicare” or “IRS” calls threatening legal action if “past due balances” aren’t remitted immediately or any other call from a bank or financial institution requesting verification of account numbers, PIN numbers, etc.

4. RECENTLY, THERE HAVE BEEN SOME CHANGES TO THE FAIR CREDIT REPORTING ACT WHICH WILL ENABLE EVERYONE TO OBTAIN ONE FREE CREDIT REPORT A YEAR.

a) consumers are entitled to a free copy of their credit report every 12 months.  All three of the credit reporting agencies are required by law to fulfill the request.  Log onto consumer.gov for more info or refer to ICI’s website  icicompanies.com

Online Vaccine Scams: Homeland Security Investigations, INTERPOL Issue Public Warning

Online Vaccine Scams: Homeland Security Investigations, INTERPOL Issue Public Warning

Source: ICE Newsroom bulletin
MARCH 24, 2021WASHINGTON, DCINTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS AND COMMERCIAL FRAUD, COVID-19

Online vaccine scams: Homeland Security Investigations, INTERPOL issue public warning

‘Be vigilant, be skeptical, be safe’

WASHINGTON — Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)and INTERPOL have joined forces to warn the public against purchasing alleged COVID-19 vaccines and treatments online.

With criminal groups producing, distributing and selling fake vaccines, the risks to the public are clear: these can include buying a product which not only does not protect against COVID-19, but poses a serious health hazard if ingested or injected. Such products are not tested, regulated or safety-checked.

Legitimate vaccines are not for sale. They are strictly administered and distributed by national healthcare regulators.

“Counterfeit vaccines threaten the health of consumers who are duped by nefarious actors seeking to exploit the pandemic situation for financial gain. HSI and its law enforcement partners will vigorously investigate and seek prosecution for criminals taking advantage of the public’s quest for COVID-19 vaccinations and those who endanger the lives of the very people the vaccines are intended to protect,” said HSI Assistant Director, and Director of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, Steve Francis.

Anyone buying these products online also runs the risk of potentially giving their money to organized criminals.

Crime wave

“From the very beginning of the pandemic, criminals have preyed on people’s fears in order to make fast cash. Fake vaccines are the latest in these scams, which is why INTERPOL and HSI are warning the public to be extra vigilant,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock. “Anyone ordering a vaccine online rather than obtaining it from their national provider, will be buying a fake product.”

“The networks behind these crimes have global ambitions. No country or region can fight this type of crime alone. INTERPOL is assisting law enforcement around the world to both identify criminal networks and to dismantle them,” added Secretary General Stock.

Following a global alert issued by INTERPOL in late 2020 the world police body recently announced the first internationally linked arrests and seizures in connection with fake vaccines after criminal networks were disrupted in China and South Africa.

INTERPOL has also been receiving additional information on fake vaccine distribution and scam attempts targeting health bodies, including nursing homes.

“HSI will continue to work with INTERPOL to coordinate investigations targeting every level of the transnational criminal organizations trafficking in counterfeit COVID-19 vaccines,” added Francis.

Online scams

An emerging trend has seen cybercriminals set up illicit websites claiming to be legitimate national and/or world organizations offering pre-orders for vaccines against the COVID-19 virus. These websites offer payments in bitcoins and other payment processing methods.

Using trademark logos of major pharmaceutical companies producing approved COVID-19 vaccines, the fake websites are suspected of being used to conduct phishing attacks and/or dupe victims into giving charitable donations.

In addition to opening up their computer to cyberattacks when attempting to purchase alleged COVID-19 vaccines online, people also run the risk of having their identity stolen.

In December 2020, HSI seized two websites purporting to be those of biotechnology companies developing treatments for the COVID-19 virus. Instead they appeared to have been used to collect the personal information of individuals visiting the sites, in order to use the information for criminal purposes, including fraud, phishing attacks, and/or deployment of malware.

Ransomware attacks have also been conducted against hospitals, laboratories, local governments and other targets, remotely blocking computer systems and demanding a payment to release them.

Given the need for a global response against these types of cyber-enabled fraud and financial crime, INTERPOL created the Global Financial Crime Task Force (IGFCTF) in 2020 with member countries in order to enhance international cooperation and innovation with public and private sector partners.

To report suspected illicit criminal activity or fraudulent schemes related to the COVID-19 pandemic, email Covid19Fraud@dhs.gov.

ATM Users – Beware!

ATM Users – Beware!

ATM users be advised, this counterfeit $20.00 bill, seen below, is one of 100 inserted into an ATM machine in one stack; this is what placed it out of order.  The perpetrators planned to recover an advance fee from the bank of $200.00 utilizing a bank account opened with a stolen identity. This is just one scam involving the ATM machines of major financial institutions as well as the smaller regional banks.

CONCERNS:

First main concern:  bad guys will intentionally place a machine out of order utilizing a jamming device to set up an armed robbery while a technician is repairing the system.  The bank customer may also be forced at gunpoint to withdraw money by an armed robber who will remove the “jam”.  This, unfortunately is more common than most expect, especially at night in remote locations.  Remember,   each ATM machine contains substantial amounts money and is, therefor, a popular target for thieves.

Second main concern: there are mutable capabilities provided bad guys via high tech to obtain your personal data including your account information even as you use the machine.  Avoid using machines not owned by financial institutions such as those found in bodegas, convenience stores, etc.

In the past, a criminal could steal the whole ATM machine.   Mega structures containing these machines have made it very difficult if not impossible to succeed at that.  More reason, therefor, for you to be concerned that you are the “soft” target.

You must be always alert, avoid late night visits to ATM’s in areas of large shopping malls; especially stand alone island machines.  Make sure you observe the surrounding area looking for individuals standing around, often under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  At drive-up machines, as you approach the kiosk, be aware of occupied cars in an overlook position within the area of the ATM.

While utilizing an ATM system: 1) maintain due diligence, make sure you’re not being watched and/or someones has not sidled up to you, 2) If you drove up to a system, once again keep your eyes open for approaching individuals during or persons loitering in a automobile or being a column, 3) avoid machines not operated by financial institutions and 4) If possible avoid late night visits to utilize the ATM system.

Emerging Cyber Security Threats, 2021 and Beyond – Part 3

Internet of Things – The internet of things is exploding. Everything around us is becoming “intelligent” and connected. From the refrigerator that tells us when we need to buy more food, to the connected thermostats and light bulbs in our homes, everything is getting a chip inside. This means that hackers have new ways to get into our homes. There have been many reports of a hacker taking control of a baby monitor and was talking to the child through the internet. Home camera systems allow for hackers to watch our every move. They know when we are home, and when we are not.

One of the major areas of concern for IoT security is with medical devices. There have been numerous recent cases of vulnerabilities with connected medical devices that lacked security to keep hackers from making changes to medication dosages.

With the internet of things, we must begin to have a standard of security before allowing these technologies in our home. We are constantly researching new “IoT” items and looking for the vulnerabilities. We work with manufacturers to plug these security holes.

Mobile vulnerabilities – There are now malware and ransomware specifically designed for mobile devices that can lock your device or steal data from it. Hackers are using smart phone vulnerabilities to track people with GPS. We have found many cases where people were surveilled by criminals after having their phone infected. Hackers are also using ransomware to lock your smartphone and ask for money to unlock it. In some cases, this malware allows the criminals to steal valuable banking data from your device which can give them access to your bank account.

With many businesses having Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies, enterprises must be aware of the risks of mobile devices being active on business networks. With the lines between business and personal usage of mobile devices being blurred, there is an increase for the business that allows personal devices to be used for business purposes.

Careers in cyber security – There is a tremendous shortage of qualified candidates with cyber security skills. There is an estimated 1 million unfilled cyber security jobs across the globe. By 2025, it is expected that there will be over 1.5 million vacancies unfilled.

In the US, not a single one of the top 10 computer science universities require a cyber-security course in order to graduate. Higher education needs to begin to start cyber security education programs in order to give the workforce of the future the skills they need to succeed.

As the world becomes more connected and reliant on technology, the need for cyber security will only grow. Now is the time to start getting involved, start educating, and start securing the future.

Fraud in the Time of Corona -19

Fraud in the Time of Corona -19

During this time of uncertainty due to the Corona-19 virus, we all need to protect ourselves and our loved ones and friends from unscrupulous people.  These bad actors will take advantage of any situation in order to defraud those vulnerable or unaware.

International Consultants and Investigations, Inc. (ICI) recommends the following guidelines in order to avoid falling prey to scammers:

  1. Don’t give out a healthcare insurance number or Medicare number to anyone other than a trusted health care provider.
  2. Do not provide a social security number, bank account or checking account number over the phone to anyone, even if they claim to be from the Social Security Administration or your financial institutions. A follow-up call to the Agency or your bank can confirm if there is an issue to be addressed.
  3. The Census taker will not require any personal information such as an employee ID, Social Security number, etc.
  4. The IRS will not call to inform you that you are under threat of arrest unless you remit immediately by providing banking information to the caller. The IRS does not make these calls.
  5. The World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or other health agencies will not call to ask for donations. Stick to charities you know and trust.
  6. Beware of any stranger or recent acquaintance that offers to take your money and go to the supermarket or drug store for you; your money and your new friend will not be back.
  7. If you don’t recognize a number on your caller ID don’t answer. If it’s a “real” call a voice mail will be left.  If you don’t have caller ID and you answer the phone to “dead space” hang up; chances are it’s a “robo” call.
  8. Work from home offers are often scams requiring the victim to “buy” materials necessary to earn money for representing the “firm”. Check any such offering of work-at-home home with your local Better Business Bureau or the police.
  9. No one from Nigeria or a Baltic country has millions of dollars they need you to help move to the United States. In all cases remember, if it sounds too good to be true it is probably fraud.

Scammers are friendly people.  In this time of social isolation a friendly voice on the phone is a scammer’s primary tool used to cheat you. Being aware is your best defense.

 

What Is Financial Fraud?

What Is Financial Fraud?

International criminals entice their victims by offering convincing documents, generally fraudulent, promising substantial sums of money for participating in their scheme. At some point the victim will be asked or directed to provide up front fees to proceed with the transaction.

Financial Instruments generally offered in fraudulent transactions are:
Cryptocurrency Ransom-ware, ICO Theft, Zero Coupon Bonds, Prime Bank Notes, Bank Guarantees, Money Loans or Transfers, Bearer Stock, Precious Metals, Mining Stock, Crude Oil and Major Construction Projects.

The players are unsuspecting businessmen, brokers, bank officers, government agents, notar’s, attorneys, accountants and financial consultants. The perpetrators will associate their activities with trust companies, officers of banks, non-registered banks domiciled in offshore tax havens, and governments agents.

International criminal financial transactions are offered via the Internet, fax and telex. The current choice of delivery is the Internet.(see News Alert). If you or one of your clients are approached or have been caught up in one of these transactions, we suggest that you contact your local FBI office or Interpol. However if you are currently facing criminal prosecution or you are not sure what you are involved in, contact our ICI office as soon as possible.

Why these international criminals are so successful: Legitimate financial transactions are conducted every moment of every day in the world, international trading uses Crypto Currency (Bitcoin), prime bank notes, bonds, stock, bearer stock, letters of credit, government guarantees, insurance policies, euro bonds/currency, trust instruments, interests and currency swaps, commodities and oil. There are over 400 major banks in every tax haven in the world. Many major corporations maintain a presence in these markets for tax deferments, ease of commerce and trading.

Knowledge is paramount: ICI will assist with investigative due-diligence prior to making an investment or financing a project. The international market offers many opportunities for investment. ICI has the ability to investigate and bring to light the total picture. We will develop intelligence on the local business climate, government cover-ups, questionable partners, potential labor problems and development authorities that have been known to be less informative than they should be. ICI operatives are trained to obtain the answers to your questions and provide the information required for the right decisions to be made, prior to a costly venture. Planning for the unknown is always sound advice.

ICI operatives have recovered substantial financial returns for the investors of funds managed by large Capital companies in Europe the United States and other countries, including one of the largest NASD arbitration awards.