Our blog entries have discussed various scams that our clients have been unsuspected victims of over the past couple of years. We talked about scammers searching for vulnerable people looking for love on dating services. We discussed the widespread and growing problems of Ransomware; when a computer literally becomes taken over by criminals.
Recently, depending upon the type of computer you have, you may have received a warning icon window telling you a virus has been detected and to immediately call either Microsoft, if you have a PC, or Apple if you have an Apple computer. You call the number and a representative will take your credit card and try to sell you a one-time virus detection program that your computer most likely already has. While all you needed to do was hit control-alt-delete and close the window with the warning. Now, we would like to discuss how one of our recent clients became the unsuspecting victim of a secret shopper scam.
What we really want to focus on is the connection between the above mentioned scams (and countless other scams) and terrorist acts perpetrated around the globe. First, A few words about how terrorist cells operate. Terrorist organizations are structured around cells. Each cell has their own specified role of responsibility, but they remain autonomous and separate from each other, in order to avoid detection. It is fairly common to have four specific functional cells: intelligence, financial, logistics and operational. We will be discussing the financial cell only. For in-depth discussions of each cell, we refer you to Terrorism and Public Safety Policing by James F. Pastor.
The financial cell provides the money needed to perform the operation (terrorist act). This includes fundraising, money laundering, drugs and fraudulent schemes, such as social scams. A key goal of these moneymaking operations is not to raise suspicion of law enforcement. Thus, scams are an excellent way for the financial cell to raise money for the operation. The individual you are communicating with on Match.Com and unknowingly giving money too would be next to impossible to track down, as they all assume a bogus identity and provide fake profiles. When crimes are committed for the purpose of financing a terrorist operation, they are commonly referred to as precursor crimes. As a result, any money that is flowing to the perpetrators via scams and is traceable back to the victim can link the victim to the act of terrorism.
In essence, if you have been a victim of a scam, report the matter to the authorities. Many people feel embarrassed about the whole event, and just want to move on. My client just wanted the whole episode to go away, but we convinced him to report the matter to the bank and file a police report. If you are a victim, it’s critical that it goes on record. Not to mention, your information may be helpful to the counter-terrorism enforcement agencies. Prior to entering into a relationship, it may be a good idea to contact a professional security company, like Integrated Security Services, in order to prevent yourself from falling into a similar predicament.