FBI Recovers $16.4M After Catching Phishing Ring

FBI Hooks a Major Phish

This week, the FBI had a big win when it comes to making a dent in cyber crime.  After investigating a crime ring, the FBI, Secret Service, Postal Inspection Services, Homeland Security Investigations, and Treasury Department arrested 74 alleged cyber criminals for taking part in a business email scam.  A majority of those arrested came from the United States, while the others were from Nigeria, Canada, Mauritius, and Poland.

The cyber crime ring was targeting various business employees with emails that included malicious attachments and/or links.  This is known as a phishing scam.  The exact email templates the hackers were using are not being released.  It also remains unclear who the victims were.  However, while busting the cyber gang, the FBI seized $2.4 million as part of the raids.  In addition, another $14 million in fraudulent wire transfers were also recovered.

This bust is a good one.  However, to say it puts a dent in the cyber crime market is an overstatement.  In 2017, the total costs of cyber crime exceeded $600 billion, with the full expectation that the financial impact will only increase as time progresses.

Avoid Falling Victim

Keeping information and devices secure against cyber threats, such as phishing attacks, is imperative as the dependency on technology continues to increase.  PC Matic encourages users to do the following to prevent falling victim:

  • Think before you click.  If you don’t know what that link or attachment is for — DO NOT open it!
  • Check the From: and Reply To: addresses of emails — often times they won’t be someone you’re familiar with
  • If you ever question the legitimacy of an email, call the alleged sender with the contact information you already have on file — NOT what is listed in the potentially malicious email
  • Implement application whitelisting to prevent malicious files from executing
  • Make sure your operating system and third-party applications are all updated timely

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10 thoughts on “FBI Recovers $16.4M After Catching Phishing Ring

  1. Now the authorities have a golden opportunity to demonstrate to these scum, that this behavour will not be tolerated. Jail for a minimum of 25 years.


  2. Not all private calls are malicious but if they won’t leave a message, they don’t get a call back from me. When I get an email from an unknown party, or the message seems strange I always check the address of the individual, oftentimes I find it is from a foreign country, but appears to be from someone in my address book. I generally send the information to the FBI and also tell my contact that they may have been hacked.

  3. Most of the time I’m home when the phone rings, so instead of putting the phone down, I like to chat a while with the caller. Sometimes I just make up something to say, so they think I live an exciting life.
    Now, I don’t know if “staying on the phone longer” is a good thing or not, but it does get lonely sometimes.

    Here’s a Question, Will the FBI use this seized money to help families, firms and hospitals who fell/fall victim to this type of attack? Or are they going to use it for personal gain? This is what the people really wont to know!

    Thanks for the review.

  4. At least once a day for over a month my phone starts blinking, but does not ring. When I check to see who called it says “Private Number”. Could this be phishing?

    • It could be scammers trying to call. There are few ways to confirm this, unless they either leave a voicemail or you answer the call. Often times they will say you’ve won various “prizes”, or they’ve over-charged your credit card and you’re due for a refund, or they may just say your device has been infected with malware and they can remove it for a fee. Not all private numbers are malicious. Like I said, it is hard to confirm it is, unless you answer or they leave a voicemail.

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