Google Hit With $593 Million Fine In France For Failing To Ink Deal With News Publishers

FRANCE-ECONOMY-TECHNOLOGY-VIVATECH

Google was hit with a $593 million (€500 Million) fine by antitrust regulators in France on Monday after the company failed to offer a fair deal to local publishers for hosting their news content on its platform, adding to the list of several large fines the U.S. tech giant has copped in Europe in the past few years.

The ruling comes after Google failed to comply with an April 2020 decision by the French regulators to negotiate a deal “in good faith” with publishers to carry snippets of their content on its Google News platform. As part of the ruling, the French Competition Authority has ordered Google to come up with an remuneration offer for its use of the news snippets within two months.

If the tech giant fails to meet the deadline, it will face penalty payments of up to $1 million (€900,000) per day of delay. In a statement shared with Forbes, Google said it was “very disappointed” with the ruling and it believes it had “acted in good faith throughout the entire process.” The company added that it is about to reach a global licensing agreement with the French news agency, Agence France-Presse (AFP), but did not provide a timeline.

Google will be able to appeal Tuesday’s fine, but it is unclear if it will choose to do so.

Crucial Quote

“The sanction of 500 million euros takes into account the exceptional seriousness of the breaches observed and how Google’s behavior has led to further delay of the proper application of the law…which aimed to better take into account the value of content from publishers and news agencies included on the platforms,” Isabelle de Silva, president of the French Competition Authority said in an official statement.

Surprising Fact

Tuesday’s fine is the second-biggest antitrust penalty a single company has faced in France. Last year, the competition regulator hit Apple with a $1.2 billion fine after the company was found to have signed anti-competitive agreements with two distributors over the sale of non-iPhone products such as Apple Mac computers. Apple has appealed the ruling.

Key Background

Publishers in Europe have clashed with Google multiple times in the past year, accusing the tech giant of luring away billions of euros in advertising money from the publishers while leveraging their content. Particularly contentious has been the company’s Google News platform which hosts snippets of news stories from publishers without paying them. On the flipside, publishers are unable to yank their content from Google’s platform as they rely on it heavily to drive traffic to their sites.

Earlier this year, Google managed to reach a $76 million deal to pay a group of 121 French Newspapers. But the AFP and other French publishers who were not part of the deal expressed anger and slammed Google for being opaque. De Silva has dismissed that deal and criticized Google for limiting the scope of the negotiations, excluding agency content like photos, and offering to pay the same amount for news content that it does for dictionary listings or weather information.

Further Reading

Google Fined $593 Million By French Antitrust Agency (Bloomberg)

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I am a Breaking News Reporter at Forbes, with a focus on covering important tech policy and business news. Graduated from Columbia University with an MA in Business and Economics Journalism in 2019. Worked as a journalist in New Delhi, India from 2014 to 2018. Have a news tip? DMs are open on Twitter @SiladityaRay or drop me an email at siladitya@protonmail.com.

Source: Google Hit With $593 Million Fine In France For Failing To Ink Deal With News Publishers

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Critics:

Google said it was very disappointed with the decision but would comply. “Our objective remains the same: we want to turn the page with a definitive agreement. We will take the French Competition Authority’s feedback into consideration and adapt our offers,” the U.S. tech giant said.

A Google spokesperson added: “We have acted in good faith throughout the entire process. The fine ignores our efforts to reach an agreement, and the reality of how news works on our platforms.”

The framework agreement, which many other French media outlets criticized, was one of the highest-profile deals under Google’s “News Showcase” programme to provide compensation for news snippets used in search results, and the first of its kind in Europe.

Google agreed to pay $76 million over three years to a group of 121 French news publishers to end the copyright row, documents seen by Reuters showed. It followed months of bargaining between Google, French publishers and news agencies over how to apply the revamped EU copyright rules, which allow publishers to demand a fee from online platforms showing extracts of their news. read more

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Tax Attorney Facing Prison For Allegedly Helping Billionaires Robert Smith And Bob Brockman Dodge The IRS

It’s a new legal development for private equity billionaire Robert F. Smith and his onetime mentor Bob Brockman, already accused of the biggest tax evasion in U.S. history.

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Justice announced the indictment of Carlos E. Kepke, a Houston tax attorney who prosecutors say conspired with Smith to hide $225 million in untaxed capital gains from the IRS between 1999 and 2014 — during the years when Smith was rapidly growing Vista Equity Partners.

Prosecutors say that Smith paid Kepke $1 million since 2007 for his services, which included assisting in the preparation of Smith’s false 2012-2014 tax returns and setting up offshore entities to aid in tax evasion.

Prosecutors allege Kepke created for Smith a limited liability company in Nevis called Flash Holdings, as well as an offshore trust based in Belize, called Excelsior Trust. Excelsior was set up to own Flash. Thus, when Smith’s portion of capital gains from Vista funds was deposited into accounts held in Flash’s name in Switzerland and the British Virgin Islands, the money could be routed to the offshore Excelsior trust, away from the eyes of the IRS.

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When billionaire Robert Smith ended his 2019 Morehouse College commencement speech by vowing to pay off student debt for the entire graduating class, cheers of “MVP, MVP, MVP!” rose from students and faculty on the Atlanta campus.
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According to the DOJ’s press release, Kepke enabled what Smith has admitted to as an illegal scheme. Thanks to Kepke’s work, “Smith was able to hide this income because Excelsior, and not Smith, was the nominal owner of Flash. Smith then allegedly failed to timely and fully report his income to the IRS.”

An official indictment is not yet available from U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, in San Francisco. Kepke is scheduled to be arraigned April 22. According to the announcement, he faces 5 years in prison on one conspiracy count and 3 years on each of 3 counts of preparing false tax returns. There was no answer at the number listed for Kepke’s Houston law office. A University of Texas law school graduate, he appears to have been admitted to the Texas bar in 1964.

This indictment looks to be the next step in the DOJ’s unraveling of a decade’s long financial fraud against U.S. taxpayers perpetrated not just by Robert Smith but also, allegedly, by his mentor and financial backer Bob Brockman. Brockman in 2000 agreed to put up $1 billion to fund the startup of Smith’s private equity group, which now has $73 billion under management.

Last October Smith entered into a “non-prosecution agreement” with the DOJ, in which he admitted to felony tax evasion and the wrongful use of roughly $30 million in charitable trust funds for his personal benefit. Smith agreed to fork over $139 million in taxes and penalties, and to cooperate against affiliated scofflaws like Brockman, and Kepke. U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson said at the time that despite having committed “serious crimes,” Smith’s cooperation had “put him on a path away from indictment.”

Kepke’s indictment comes as no surprise to Smith’s camp, who insist Smith is now out of legal jeopardy. “This indictment is not a new development as top Robert Smith. He resolved his situation last year with the government and this in no way affects that resolution,” says Smith attorney Emily Hughes

Indeed, prosecutors are no doubt focusing their attentions on Kepke’s primary client, Bob Brockman. Indicted by the DOJ for evading taxes on some $2 billion in gains from Vista Equity Partners investments, Brockman does not appear to be in a position to cut a deal like Smith did. Especially with Smith providing evidence against him.

According to a December 2020 motion by Brockman’s attorneys to move his case from San Francisco to Houston, Smith has already told prosecutors that Kepke “had a central role in establishing the trusts and assisting Mr. Brockman with asset planning.”

Kepke’s name also appears in a secret 2017 memo written to Brockman by his money man and former trustee Evatt Tamine (submitted as evidence), in which Tamine writes about meeting with Smith, his attorney and Carlos Kepke in order to help cover their tracks: “I worked through their files and identified areas of concern.”

In that same memo, Tamine describes traveling to see the widow of a recently deceased Brockman confidant from whom he collected and destroyed “drives, disks or documents” with incriminating financial information.

With Smith and Tamine already cooperating against Brockman, this new indictment could be aimed at getting Kepke to talk as well.

Meanwhile in Bermuda, oversight of the multi-billion-dollar A. Eugene Brockman Charitable Trust, remains in limbo, as attorneys for Brockman and his wife Dorothy argued recently to the Bermuda appelate court that they ought to appoint a new independent trustee to oversee the trust, replacing anyone connected to former trustee Tamine. According to attorneys, Cayman Island-based trust specialist Maples Group has agreed to take on the job.

Entities owned by the Brockman trust control Reynolds and Reynolds, the provider of software solutions to auto dealerships which Brockman ran until his retirement last year. According to court documents, he and his attorneys are now focused on convincing prosecutors and court-appointed psychiatrists that he is suffering from dementia too far advanced to allow him to stand trial.

Source: Tax Attorney Facing Prison For Allegedly Helping Billionaires Robert Smith And Bob Brockman Dodge The IRS

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Is Your Email Address Among The Millions In A Facebook Leak? Find Out Here

Facebook logo on a phone

Over the weekend, news broke that a hacker had published online a database containing the personal information of 533 million Facebook users, including email and physical addresses, phone numbers, birthdates and more. While the data was stolen in a 2019 breach and Facebook long ago plugged that hole, it’s the first time this huge trove was made available for free.

If you have a Facebook account (or if you had one in 2019 that you’ve deactivated), you should be concerned. And now you can find out if your private information has been made very public.

Have I Been Pwned?, a site that lets users search databases from dozens of breaches, has added the Facebook data set to its collection. Go to the site’s home page and enter any addresses you use with Facebook to see if they’re included. And yes, it’s safe to do so. Have I Been Pwned is a well-established site and its operator, Troy Hunt, is a regional director for Microsoft in Australia.

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👉 Explore (my site) Maltronics: https://maltronics.com Timestamps: 0:00 Intro 0:37 The Data’s Origins 0:57 Why Is It Only News Now? 1:51 Will This Damage Facebook? 2:26 Facebook’s Response 2:50 Why I’m Not Surprised 3:11 Were You Hacked?! Sources: https://thehackernews.com/2021/04/533… https://www.zdnet.com/article/faceboo… https://cybernews.com/news/leaker-say… https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articl… https://www.businessinsider.com/stole… https://twitter.com/UnderTheBreach/st… https://twitter.com/UnderTheBreach/st… https://twitter.com/Liz_Shepherd/stat… https://twitter.com/fcw/status/137855… =============================================== Follow me on TWTR: https://twitter.com/seytonic Follow me on INSTA: https://www.instagram.com/jhonti/ =============================================== Check out my site: http://www.seytonic.com
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Hunt was able to find more than 2.5 million email addresses in the database, according to details on the Have I Been Pwned home page.

The site also lets you search to see if your password has been found in a data breach, and because the Facebook data includes phone numbers, Hunt has been debating whether to add a phone number search feature as well.

Source: Is Your Email Address Among The Millions In A Facebook Leak? Find Out Here.

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Rapper Lil Kesh Joins Baby Daddy Gang as He Becomes First Time Father, Shares Cute Photo ▷ Nigeria news | Legit.ng
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I Don’t Struggle or Try Hard to Push My Music Outside Nigeria and it Does Well, Rapper Olamide Says ▷ Nigeria news | Legit.ng
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Comedian AY’s wife Mabel in Happy Tears as He Organises Fancy Surprise Party to Celebrate Her Birthday ▷ Nigeria news | Legit.ng
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[…] ng News on your Facebook News Feed! Watch him sing below: As expected, Nigerians had something to say about his cover of th […]
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IRS & Global Tax Enforcers Expand War on Cryptocurrency Fraud

Tax authorities, both domestic and abroad, have been continuously building an arsenal of tools and experts to monitor and audit crypto transactions. This increased weaponry has led to a growing number of international arrests by the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement (J5) and the US Department of Justice (DOJ), with each member organization arresting individuals allegedly involved in crypto fraud, and/or seizing funds from their activities.

Not surprisingly, the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is keeping pace with these efforts and closing in on those who may have attempted to take advantage of the perceived anonymity of these transactions to evade taxes. As these tax authorities continue their collective efforts, the question becomes: who will be the next target of this expanding arsenal?

Crypto tracing for hire

Public records reveal that the IRS and other federal agencies have recently entered into agreements with a number of private cryptocurrency analytics companies to gain access to certain blockchain tracing software. This is unsurprising, given the US government’s recent outreach to members of the cryptocurrency community. For example, the IRS recently sought assistance from several cryptocurrency tax software companies for the audits of tax returns involving on-chain and off-chain cryptocurrency transactions.1

The statements of work for these arrangements provide that the IRS “is engaging outside contractors to assist our revenue agents in calculating taxpayers’ gains or losses as a result of their transactions involving virtual currency.” The DOJ is also advertising positions for crypto experts to assist law enforcement with “undercover operations on the Dark Web and undercover cryptocurrency transactions, technical skills and technology to perform block-chain analysis to trace transactions.”2

The IRS Criminal Investigation Division (IRS CI), the largest federal law enforcement agency in the US Department of Treasury, is also expanding its crypto capabilities. As part of its Cryptocurrency Initiative, IRS CI recently issued a public request for tools related to cryptocurrency, including applications “to more easily trace privacy coins and other protocols that provide anonymity to illicit actors.” This coordinated effort by the IRS and other federal agencies to acquire crypto talent forecasts a looming crackdown on the use of virtual currency for illicit purposes, and those that facilitate its use for those purposes.

International enforcement: Pooling of resources

The global tax community has also pooled its resources to target crypto fraudsters. The J5, which consists of the leaders of the tax enforcement agencies in Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, England, and the United States, was formed to investigate and combat cross-border tax and money laundering threats, including cybercrime, cryptocurrency, and enablers of global tax crimes. This has led to the J5 making several recent arrests involving certain cryptocurrency transactions. One of the J5’s stated missions is to “collaborate internationally to reduce the growing threat to tax administrations posed by cryptocurrencies and cybercrime and to make the most of data and technology.”

The J5 has held annual events known as “Challenges,” where investigators, cryptocurrency experts, and data scientists from the member nations exchange data and techniques. These combined efforts have led to an uptick in enforcement activity by member nations, including:

Two men were arrested in February 2020 in the Netherlands on suspicion of money laundering using cryptocurrencies via the subject crypto service provider. This arrest was the apparent culmination of the Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service’s investigation of a crypto service provider discussed during the 2019 Challenge. The amount laundered was approximately US$118,800, indicating that the J5’s targets are not limited to the million-dollar players.

A Romanian programmer in Germany was arrested and pleaded guilty in July 2020, for conspiring to commit wire fraud and offering and selling unregistered securities. The activity is connected with the programmer’s role in a cryptocurrency mining scheme that defrauded investors of at least US$722 million worth of bitcoin.

The DOJ has also continued its enforcement efforts in earnest. Just last month, the DOJ:

  • Announced the seizure of millions of dollars in bitcoin associated with financing of terrorist organizations, including al-Qassam Brigades, al-Qaeda, and Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). The operation involved, among other things, an investigation into certain alleged Syrian charities and also led to the unsealing of criminal charges for two Turkish individuals. Acting United States Attorney Michael R. Sherwin commented that this seizure, the largest of its kind, “reflect[s] the resolve . . . to target and dismantle these sophisticated cyber-terrorism and money laundering actors across the globe. While these individuals believe they operate anonymously in the digital space, we have the skill and resolve to find, fix and prosecute these actors under the full extent of the law.”
  • Filed a civil forfeiture complaint related to two hacks of virtual currency exchanges by North Korean actors. The complaint alleges that these North Korean players stole millions of dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency and then laundered the same through Chinese over-the-counter crypto traders. Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division proclaimed, “Today’s action publicly exposes the ongoing connections between North Korea’s cyber-hacking program and a Chinese cryptocurrency money laundering network.”
  • The first hack dates back to July 2019 when an agent tied to North Korea allegedly stole over US$272,000 worth of crypto. This agent then engaged in “chain hopping,” a process whereby the user converts cryptocurrency into other forms of crypto in order to make the illegal transactions more difficult to trace. Then, in September 2019, another agent with ties to North Korea hacked a US-based company, stealing nearly US$2.5 million in crypto.

Avoiding the land mines and risks: The time to act is now

The message is ominous. The recent J5 activity and the US government’s stockpiling of crypto experts and tracing software leaves little doubt that tax enforcement efforts in the crypto space is ramping up. Indeed, in its February 18, 2020, newsletter, the J5 warned that “it cannot be ruled out that more international investigations by the J5 countries will follow” from the data sharing at the Challenges.

At home, the DOJ, IRS, and IRS CI remain laser focused on abusive crypto schemes, as evidenced by their call to arms for crypto experts and tracing software. While the above DOJ actions focus on anti-money laundering activity, they demonstrate a growing familiarity with these systems which will lead to future cases in other areas, including tax evasion.

Thus, any company operating in this high-risk industry should consider whether its compliance measures are adequate to protect its systems from being used, purposefully or not, to further activity that may become the focus of the government’s increasing scrutiny in this space. This is especially so in light of the DOJ’s updated guidance for corporate compliance programs places greater emphasis on continuous data driven compliance programs that are responsive to industry risks.


Footnotes

1 Hamza Ali and Allyson Versprille, IRS Seeking Private Companies to Aid With Cryptocurrency Audits, Bloomberg Law: Tax 2 Dark Web and Cryptocurrency International Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property Attorney Advisor

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Is It Possible To Recover Funds From Trading & Investment Frauds

Investors of certain markets have had a hard time this year due to the COVID 19 pandemic. This year global economies have experienced a heavy recession. And if that is not bad enough, investment scammers are still stealing from innocent people. Trading and investment scams evolve every day. Nowadays they have become so sleek, you don’t know you have been robbed until it is too late. Fund recovery after such scams is a hard and long process, but it can be done.

Trade and investment scams are cleverly orchestrated schemes to rob innocent people. They convince people to part with their money with fake promises of high returns. They prey on people who want to get returns on investments fast.

Nowadays they impersonate genuine investment traders and convince people to invest. They may even make one payment to trap you into investing more money, only for you to suffer devastating losses.

Some of the Notorious Investment Scams

The common characteristic of investment scams is that they promise low-risk investments with high returns. They come in different languages but the premise is the same. For instance, an advance fee scheme persuades you to give a small amount for triple returns. You may feel that you are giving just a small amount, but if they trick millions of people, they make a lot of money. They come up with “boiler room” offices to convince you that they are professionals. Once you lose your money, you cannot trace them.

Some scammers pitch “exempt securities” and sell you on a fake exclusivity narrative. They convince you of how lucky you are to be the first one to know of these securities. Later you realize that you paid for non-existent securities. 

Forex scams are also on the rise. Some forex trading is legal. But scammers have come up with clever ways to mint money out of innocent traders. They convince you to open ghost accounts with promises of big returns. Once you make your deposits that is the end of the road for you.

Other scams include offshore investment, pension scams, and Ponzi scams. You send your money or offshore investments in the name of lowering your taxes and you lose it all. Ponzi scams promise quick cash in a short time. You may also fall victim to pump and dump schemes that lead you to buy worthless stocks. 

How Can You Spot a Scam?

You have to be very careful about money nowadays. Trade and investment scammers come up with clever ways to deceive victims every day. Some of these scams look legit and before you know it, millions of people lose their money. However, here are the obvious signs that you can look out for in these scams.

  • They offer very high returns with very low risks.
  • They promise you hot insider secrets and information
  • They give you pressure to make decisions instantly. They convince you that you are running out of time.
  • The sellers are not legally registered to trade stocks or investments. Some of them can convince you with fake documentation. Always do your background research.
  • They keep sending you spam messages on social media and your email address.
  • Pension schemes target senior citizens and coerce them to disclose personal information about their pension plans.
  • They are relentless with unsolicited advice. They barely let you breathe. A genuine company lets you breathe and make a sound decision.

Why Do People Fall Victim to These Scammers?

Surprisingly, more people fall into these scams every year. There are many reasons why someone may fall victim to these scams. Some of them are very crafty in the way they market themselves. They forge legitimate documents and convince people that they are legit. They use very inviting language and narratives to attract the masses. They use false advertisements and stories to convince you that others have had successful investment returns. They offer the lowest risk and the highest returns.

The rate of unemployment and poverty is on the rise. Simple psychological manipulation can cause a person to fall victim to these scams. They promise quick riches to people who are struggling and they believe them. They ask for something small at first, so people oblige.

Can People Recover Their Money From a Scammer?

Investment fraud causes disorientation, stress, and worse, financial distress. Funds recovery is a long and hard process, but it can be a success. Victims should report the scammers to anti-fraud government authorities. You can also contact your bank immediately to reverse transactions. If it’s not too late you can get your money back. Collect as much evidence as possible and file a funds recovery police case.

If you can get a hold of the scammers, you can file a class act as a group and go to court. If you are not a part of a group scam, get an investment lawyer, and file a single case. You can also use a fund recovery company that specializes in asset recovery. They conduct a detailed investigation with legal help and they often recover money lost to scammers.

Binary options continue to be a highly-debated subject among retail traders and even though some might argue that some brokers focusing on these assets have a long track-record in providing reliable services, in reality, the whole binary options industry favors the appearance of scammers.

Letting aside the fact that trading these instruments comes with a high risk of loss, there are plenty of other reasons that this is a “heaven for scammers” and in this article we will like to have more focus on the matter.

Binary options favor the “house”

If we think about how binary options work, the trader is always on the weaker side. Most of the binary options brokers offer around 80% payout rate and that has many implications on the probability to generate returns in the long run.

To be more specific, let’s say to buy a binary option with $10 and assume the price will be above the strike price at the expiration (call option). If you are right, then you will make $8 in profit. However, if you are wrong, you will lose all $10, which puts you in a position to have a high win rate over any given period, to be a profitable trader.

If we combine this disadvantage with the ability to manipulate prices on the platform (this will be discussed in one of the following sections), traders are faced with guaranteed losses, rather than profits, when dealing with a binary options scam broker. A lot has changed in terms of regulation for these companies and because of that, now we have most of them operating offshore.

Binary options brokers generally operate offshore

Since 2018, European regulators made a historic decision to reshape the regulation for retail online trading. As a result, there are tighter restrictions for traders with little experience and at the same time, binary options are prohibited for retail traders. This had been a major hit for brokers, which are now operating offshore.

This creates an even bigger problem, considering they can now operate free from any regulatory requirements, and even target customers based in areas where binary options trading is no longer allowed. As with any other broker type, operating via an offshore entity should be a major warning flag, signaling a binary options scam or a Bitcoin fraud.

There’s a long list of scams related to binary options, and more than 90% of them were operating via offshore companies. As a result, traders that still want to trade these instruments, despite acknowledging the high risk associated, should avoid these entities and instead look for brands that have a long track record in providing reliable services.

Marketing exaggerated returns

Like most of the fraudulent companies, a binary options scam will use aggressive social media advertising to reach inexperienced people and promise exaggerated returns. This is a typical practice and works many times because financial strains are pushing some to take drastic measures and embark on avenues that could generate returns fast.

Unfortunately, a binary options broker can’t ensure or talk about the level of profitability you’ll be having. That will be depending on the market’s performance, your expertise in the world of trading, as well as the effectiveness of your trading strategy. The broker is a simple intermediary that creates a link between you and the market via trading software.

When dealing with a binary options broker promising you will make a lot of money, the best thing to do is walk away as fast as possible. It can be a company operating not on behalf of customers, but one that wants to set up a trading or bitcoin scam.

Accurate pricing on the binary options platforms?

Another important aspect to consider has to do with how the prices displayed on the platform are calculated. A binary options scam can be easily spotted by simply reading its terms & conditions. These companies are using a method that implies averaging the pricing from multiple liquidity providers. As a result, the prices you see on the platform are not the actual market valuations, but averages calculated by the broker.

Considering binary options trading is generally short-term and even a pip can make the difference between profit and loss, it would be important to have the most accurate pricing.A bitcoin scam hide behind this price adjustment technique that generally results in massive losses for clients in the long run.

Many binary options brokers turned out to be scams

After taking an in-depth look online, we’ve noticed that there are plenty of blacklists with binary options scam. Only a few companies are still labeled as not scam, which means that most were eventually flagged as “not to be trusted”. For someone looking now for a binary options broker, this fact should be raising doubts, even on those companies that are still out there providing their services.

Keep in mind that most binary options brokers have affiliated programs and some positive online reviews may be coming from individuals that are affiliates and are generating income based on each new customer they bring in. As a result, even reviews should be taken with a grain of salt. The ultimate goal should be to avoid being trapped in a binary options scam and any Bitcoin fraud. By considering all the relevant data we’ve highlighted today, we think that’s possible.

Final Words

We can conclude that binary options trading comes with high risks and the whole industry is designed in such a way that scammers can thrive. If you want to trade these instruments, despite all the downsides, it would be important to do in-depth research and find out a company that has been operating for a long time and gets reliable positive feedback from customers. So many binary options scams had been uncovered during the past few years and this should raise serious questions about the interests of these brands. Finding the best binary options broker is a very complex process and will require you to not make any concessions.

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Are you a victim? MoneyBack Hero can help you get your money back. Click Here for a free consultation: https://www.moneybackhero.com Looking for more info on Binary Options, Forex, CFD, or Cryptocurrency scams? Take a look at these helpful articles on the Money Back Hero site: 1) Read to understand the psychology employed by the scammers: https://www.moneybackhero.com/educate… 2) Not sure if you are the victim of a trading scam? Read this for the telltale signs: https://www.moneybackhero.com/how-do-… 3) Want to know your best option to get your money back? Red this to discover your #1 weapon to get your money back: https://www.moneybackhero.com/how-do-… At Money Back Hero (https://www.moneybackhero.com), we are not merely a wealth recovery service, we are your personal team of experts who do one thing all day long: use every legal trick in the book to get your money back from the scammers.

Combating Unemployment Fraud With Biometrics And Common Sense

Some 837,000 Americans filed initial claims for unemployment insurance last week, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. While this reflects a slight decrease from the previous week, initial jobless claims are still stuck above the highest levels reached in the 2008-2009 Great Recession, according to The Associated Press. This number doesn’t paint a completely accurate picture because California, which accounts for more than a quarter of the country’s aid applications, provided the same figure it did the previous week.

Why? Because the State of California Employment Development Department has stopped accepting new jobless claims during a two-week reset period so it can tackle a backlog of 600,000 claims and implement some much-needed anti-fraud technology.

While the U.S. labor market continues to grapple with the effects of COVID-19, government agencies providing unemployment benefits are also grappling with a spike of fraudulent claims related to the pandemic by people using stolen identities.

Using stolen data to steal benefits

Earlier this year the FBI reported that U.S. citizens from several states have been victimized by criminal actors using stolen personally identifiable information (PII) to submit fraudulent unemployment insurance claims online. The ability to obtain PII is nothing new — fraudsters were doing this well before the onset of the pandemic.

Between data breaches, the dark web, phishing attacks, social engineering and impersonation scams, it’s easy for cybercriminals to get their hands on names, Social Security numbers, phone numbers and home addresses. They then have enough information to pose as their victim and file a fraudulent claim online with the ultimate goal of gaining control of communications and payments.

Victims of unemployment insurance theft often don’t know they’ve been targeted until much later, when they try to file their own claim for unemployment insurance or receive a notification from the state unemployment insurance agency. In some cases, this correspondence comes in the form of a physical letter containing the full Social Security number or other valuable PII of the person being defrauded. If the fraudster has already changed the mailing address tied to the claim, the government is unintentionally putting the victim at higher risk for continued identity theft.

Fighting fraud with digital identity verification

It’s clear that the current process of allowing people to file unemployment claims using readily available information isn’t working because there is no way to determine whether someone filing the claim is who they say they are. Data-centric approaches alone do not meet Gartner’s definition of identity proofing because there is no test that the individual claiming the identity is, in fact, the authentic possessor of that identity. The identity assurance achieved with this capability used in isolation is relatively low, relying only on “something you-but-not-only-you know.”

Implementing a biometric-based identity verification process is key to thwarting unemployment fraud amid the pandemic and beyond. Government agencies responsible for each state’s unemployment benefits program need to consider high-assurance solutions with the following four requirements: 

  1. Government-issued ID: Asking for a photo of a driver’s license or passport when someone files a new claim establishes the individual’s real-world identity, and AI-powered software can quickly determine if the ID document is real.
  2. Real-time selfie: Determine if the person possessing the ID is who they claim to be. Requiring a selfie also acts as a strong deterrent to fraudsters who generally do not want to show their face while committing a crime.
  3. Liveness detection: Ensure the individual is physically present and not a spoof by incorporating liveness checks which can sniff out if someone is using a video or a picture of a picture instead of a valid selfie. 
  4. Ongoing biometric authentication: Require the user to capture a new selfie which creates a fresh biometric that is instantly compared to the original selfie to confirm the account owner is the actual person logging into the account.

By implementing advanced digital identity verification, government agencies can adapt to the modern fraud landscape and prevent cybercriminals from stealing unemployment benefits from the citizens who truly need them, while making it easier and more secure for legitimate users to submit claims and access their accounts.

Robert Prigge

Robert Prigge

Robert is responsible for all aspects of Jumio’s business and strategy. Specializing in security and enterprise business, he held C-level or senior management positions at Infrascale, Secure Computing, McAfee, Quest Software, Sterling Commerce and IBM.

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Bank of America Just Sent Out 3.2 Million Erroneous Notifications About Fraud Claims to Merrill Lynch and Private Bank Clients

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Bank of America inadvertently sent more than 3.2 million email notifications to Merrill Lynch Wealth Management clients and private banking clients on Tuesday. The root cause of the erroneous emails sent to clients had not been determined as of Tuesday morning, according to an internal memo reviewed by Business Insider.

The emails were sparking a surge in call volume from clients, the memo said.Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Bank of America inadvertently sent millions of erroneous email notifications regarding fraud claims to Merrill Lynch Wealth Management clients and private banking clients on Tuesday morning, according to an internal memo reviewed by Business Insider.

“Our partners have determined an error was made during a standard template update in the customer notification process which resulted in over 3.2 million notifications inadvertently being delivered to customers who previously had a Credit or Debit card claim,” the memo said.

The emails were sparking a surge in call volume from clients, the memo said. “Client receives the historical fraud claim email and log online to review the details – given they are not seeing the transaction details online they are calling into the contact centers to inquire about the email,” the memo read.

The root cause of the erroneous emails sent to clients had not been determined as of Tuesday morning, and the firm’s consumer fraud and technology teams were engaged. The firm has verified it was not a phishing email, the memo said.

“Technical teams will also be working to ensure additional controls are added to ensure this issue does not occur again in the future,” the memo said.

SEE ALSO: Merrill Lynch has restarted hiring for its ultra-competitive 3,000-person financial advisor trainee program after hitting pause for months amid the pandemic

SEE ALSO: Leaked memo shows Bank of America’s talking points for staffers on how to handle the next round of PPP loans — and warns that funds likely won’t meet ‘extreme need and demand’

From: https://usa-today-news.com

Source: Business Insider

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Wirecard Collapse Drags Down Online Banking Services

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The continued fallout from the financial collapse of Wirecard has temporarily taken down payment card service Curve, with other banking services facing disruption.

Wirecard collapsed yesterday with debts of almost $4 billion, after the company admitted that around $2 billion of cash on its books didn’t actually exist.

The U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority this morning suspended Wirecard’s U.K. subsidiary Wirecard Card Solutions (WCS) Limited. WCS does provide or has provided banking services for companies such as Curve, Revolut and Pockit and others.

Curve – which earlier this week announced its technology would be behind a revamped version of Samsung Pay – has admitted that its services will be temporarily affected by the WCS suspension.

“Following the shutdown of Wirecard Card Solutions Limited by the Financial Conduct Authority, Curve customers have today been informed that they are likely to see a temporary disruption to their service and are advised to carry an alternative payment method,” a statement from the company reads.

“In April, Curve became a principal member of Mastercard enabling it to bring more processes in house such as card issuing and e-money and move away from a reliance on Wirecard.

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“As such, this disruption will only last for only a limited period of time and we are doing everything possible to complete this transition as quickly as possible.” A spokesperson for Curve stressed that no customer funds were at risk from the disruption.

Revolut is believed to have already migrated its payment services away from Wirecard to avoid any potential disruption to services. Pockit has been trying to reassure customers that funds held by the company will not be affected by Wirecard’s collapse but has yet to make any public statement on its services.

“All cardholder funds are safeguarded and segregated in accounts held under the name of Wirecard Card Solutions LTD in the U.K.,” the company tweeted in response to customer concerns about funds held in Pockit. “As such all cardholder funds are safeguarded and segregated in accounts held by Barclays Bank PLC under the name of Wirecard Card Solutions ltd. In the U.K.”

Pockit has been approached for comment.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

I have been a technology writer and editor for more than 20 years. I was assistant editor of The Sunday Times’ technology section, editor of PC Pro magazine and have written for more than a dozen different publications and websites over the years. I’ve also appeared as a tech pundit on television and radio, including BBC Newsnight, the Chris Evans Show and ITN News at Ten. Hit me up if you’ve got a tech story that needs breaking at barry@mediabc.co.uk.

Source: https://www.forbes.com

Jun.23 — Wirecard AG’s former chief executive officer was detained by Munich prosecutors after 1.9 billion euros ($2.1 billion) went missing from the digital-payment company, in a scandal that has rattled Germany’s financial industry. Dani Burger reports on “Bloomberg Surveillance.”

Wirecard Was Germany’s Fintech Star—Now $2 Billion Is Missing And Its CEO Has Been Arrested

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Ex-Wirecard CEO Markus Braun, who resigned last week amid allegations of fraud at the German payment processing company, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of using fake transactions to inflate the company’s sales and balance sheet to boost its profile with investors.

KEY FACTS

Prosecutors in Munich arrested Braun after he turned himself in on Monday night, while three other managers at the company are also under investigation.

Wirecard’s woes reached a head when it admitted on Monday that $2.1 billion in cash the company claimed it had, likely never existed.

Braun resigned on Friday from the company he founded 21 years ago, claiming that the company “has been the victim in a substantial case of fraud.”

 

The firm’s shares plunged more than 50% on Friday and crashed 45% on Monday following news of the missing billions.

News peg

Braun’s arrest is the crescendo in a long-running battle that has pitched the Munich-based company, and Germany’s financial regulator against a small-army of short-sellers, and the Financial Times.

Short sellers had circled the company for years but a FT investigation that alleged unusual transactions and forged contracts at Wirecard’s Singapore office prompted authorities there to investigate, and its shares to drop. The FT followed up with allegations sales and profits at the company’s outpost in Dubai and Ireland were inflated with Wirecard firing back with the threat of a lawsuit, while Germany’s financial regulator opened a probe into the FT journalists involved in the story.

Key background

Braun founded Wirecard, once a star of Germany’s startup landscape, in 1999 and it has since expanded around the world, employing almost 6,000 people. Wirecard’s growth led it to joining the exclusive club of 30 major Germany companies tracked by the DAX index in 2018. The search for the missing cash came after auditors EY flagged a massive hole in the company’s balance sheet last week, which represents around a quarter of Wirecard’s assets, and delayed signing off on the firm’s 2019 accounts. But the hunt came up short after two banks in the Philippines accused of holding the cash denied having Wirecard as a client, adding that the billions never entered the nation’s financial system, officials said on Sunday. They also accused Wirecard of using the banks’ names to cover the company’s own tracks.

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Big number

The company’s valuation has plummeted from more than $28 billion two years ago, to just over $3 billion last week.

What to watch for

Braun is set for a court hearing on Tuesday. Meanwhile, prosecutors are reportedly mulling an arrest warrant for former board member Jan Marsalek, who was also fired as the company’s chief operating officer. Marsalek was the executive who oversaw operations including in Southeast Asia.

Further reading

 

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I am a breaking news reporter for Forbes in London, covering Europe and the U.S. Previously I was a news reporter for HuffPost UK, the Press Association and a night

Source: https://www.forbes.com

Sep.24 — Markus Braun, chief executive officer at Wirecard, discusses becoming one of the companies on the German benchmark, growth drivers and his outlook for the company. He speaks on “Bloomberg Markets: European Open.”

Why Most Modern Online Fraud Prevention Methods Are Falling Short

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It was recently reported that new account fraud went up 28% in 2019 compared to 2018 global reports, and more than 100% over 2014 levels. As cybercriminals fine-tune their impersonation efforts, it’s getting more difficult for modern enterprises to distinguish between high-risk and low-risk users — and this will only continue thanks to large-scale data breaches, the evolution of the dark web and the looming threat of identity theft. Unfortunately, traditional authentication methods like passwords, knowledge-based authentication (KBA) and SMS-based two-factor authentication (2FA) can easily be spoofed as the result of the never-ending data breaches that we read about every day.

Just a couple months ago, an unsecured database on the dark web left the personal information of more than 267 million Facebook users, mostly in the U.S., exposed. This type of breach is not only a nightmare for the consumers impacted but also for businesses. When over 190,000 websites are Facebook Login Button customers and almost 40,000 live websites use the Facebook Login Button, a hacker can easily gain access to a multitude of connected accounts by simply having access to a user’s Facebook profile. This particular breach exposed Facebook profiles, as well as email addresses, meaning all fraudsters need to do is look for a consumer’s exposed passwords in a disconnected breach in order to have a good chance at gaining access to their Facebook account and subsequent connected accounts (since 50% of Americans recycle passwords across multiple websites).

Traditional methods like SMS-based 2FA and simple password authentication aren’t the only forms of authentication proving inadequate. Methods like fingerprint scanning have also come up short in recent months, proving hackable with little effort. Digital fingerprints are being sold in the Richlogs Marketplace (dark web) according to a recent report from IntSights. The report reveals that digital fingerprints which include the full fingerprinting of a user’s web browser and computer characteristics, allows an attacker to almost flawlessly impersonate the victim.

It was recently reported that the fingerprint reader on Samsung’s flagship S10 and Note10 smartphones can be spoofed with a $3 screen protector. Unfortunately, this means any person can unlock the device and access its data and any other apps opened by the fingerprint-based biometric security. Smartphone manufacturers have been implementing advanced features for users to secure their devices, using fingerprint readers, face mapping and even sensors that map out the veins in the palm of your hand, but device-centric approaches like fingerprint sensors are inherently problematic.

The biggest issue is that these fingerprint sensors are easily duped and cannot be relied on for commercial authentication use cases, but this approach also suffers from several other limitations. Multiple people can register their fingerprints on the same device, which means it’s unclear which family member was behind a given commercial transaction. Also, if the device is lost or stolen, the ability to recover access to their online accounts is challenging. Finally, device-centric unlocking functionality, such as the Samsung fingerprint scan, is also limited in terms of establishing someone’s actual digital identity for on-device purchases (i.e., users cannot use their fingerprint scans to make purchases from their desktop computer).

For any organization looking for enterprise-grade security, spoof-proof detection and cross-device support, sophisticated face-based authentication is inherently superior to fingerprint-based, SMS-based 2FA and simple password methodologies. Certain cloud-based approaches can leverage the 3D face map of a user’s face to alleviate some of the shortcomings of fingerprint-only authentication methods. Features like certified liveness detection add another layer of protection, rendering the solution practically dupe-proof. These options create a digital chain of trust to a unique user and can be used across devices. This will prove increasingly valuable with the rise of advanced fraud strategies like account takeovers, identity theft and deepfake technologies.

Philipp facilitates Jumio’s product strategy and, with his team, turns visions into products. Prior to Jumio, Philipp was responsible for paysafecard, Europe’s most popular prepaid solution for online purchases.

Source: https://forbes.com

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The nature of payments fraud requires real-time solutions designed to detect and prevent fraud before it happens. Learn what is required to thwart fraud and how UP Payments Risk Management solutions can put you in control of managing risk. Learn more: http://www.aciworldwide/paymentsrisk Commerce and banking channels are multiplying and providing consumers more ways to transact than ever before. From physical channels, like credit, debit and pre-paid cards; checks; ATMs and point-of-sale terminals; to digital channels like ACH, wire, internet, telephone, mobile devices and crypto-currencies. Consumers, businesses, merchants and financial institutions all benefit from anytime, anywhere commerce…but…there’s a dark side. Sophisticated fraud threats are multiplying even faster: malware and Trojans; account takeover and identity theft; credit abuse and bust-out scams; ACH and wire fraud; data breaches; money laundering and employee fraud. In fact, a single data breach can compromise tens of millions of account holders in a matter of seconds.
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