The Growing Threat of Online Fraud
Online fraud and computer crime have become increasingly prevalent in recent years as fraudsters grown more sophisticated in their schemes. Beacon assists private and corporate clients in investigating fraudulent activity, identifying perpetrators, and recovering losses.
By studying emerging trends in online crime, and utilizing the most up-to-date tools, Beacon stays one step ahead of fraudsters – to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients. Our investigative team includes Certified Forensic Experts for computer and cell phone analysis, prior law enforcement officers, and specialists in money laundering and financial crimes.If you are seeking to file a complaint about an online crime with law enforcement, you may wish to contact the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center or your local police department.
Deep Online and Computer Fraud Investigation Experience
Beacon helps clients who have been affected by a variety of computer crimes and online frauds. Consider our casework:
- Child Pornography: Beacon was retained by the parents of a female victim of an online predator in July 2014. An intensive investigation was conducted with a focus on computer forensics, background investigation and surveillance, which revealed the Subject had been attempting to solicit underage girls — under various online aliases, or ‘handles’ — for a decade. Upon completion of a comprehensive 200-page report, Beacon contacted the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Michigan, and briefed the Assistant U.S. Attorney on the findings. Beacon also coordinated directly with Special Agents of the FBI. A search warrant was executed, and the subject was arrested and later convicted. He is now serving a 30-year sentence in federal prison.
- Romance Scam: In 2015, Beacon assisted two women who were victims of romance scams, whose combined losses totaled more than $500,000. In both cases, our clients established relationships through online dating sites with ‘businessmen’ who fabricated personal documents to make themselves appear legitimate, including passports, bank statements, and social media profiles. The fraudsters even created websites for fake companies where they purportedly worked as executives. They eventually solicited a series of large ‘loans’ from our clients, paid by bank wire. Beacon’s investigators determined the scams were organized crime operations based in Europe and Africa, which employed teams of fraudsters to manipulate and exploit their emotionally vulnerable victims. We delivered clear and conclusive evidence, documenting the extent of the schemes. We also coordinated with the banks that processed the fraudulent wire transfers, to secure a partial recovery of our clients’ financial losses.
- Identity Theft: Beacon assisted an investor whose bank accounts had been compromised when an imposter – posing as the investor, and using his personal email account – contacted his private banker with instructions to wire funds to an offshore account. Fortunately, the bank recognized the fraud before completely emptying the accounts. The investor believed the attack had been orchestrated by his former son-in-law, and he contacted Beacon to investigate. We determined our client had been victimized in a phishing attack weeks earlier, after clicking a link in a malicious email. Consequently, the fraudsters had surreptitiously monitored his Gmail account and searched his past correspondence for information on his financial affairs, which they leveraged during their attempted bank fraud. We traced the origin of the phishing attack to Southern Asia. In the end, we were able to reassure our client that the attempted fraud had not been carried out by a family member.
- Corporate Fraud: After a business in the Southern U.S. placed a $140,000 order with a manufacturing firm in the Midwest, they received nothing but excuses and delays. Concerned, they contacted Beacon. Within one day, we determined the manufacturing firm – despite its legitimate-looking website – did not, in fact, exist. We identified the responsible parties and conducted an admission-seeking interview at their residence, communicated the demands of our clients for an immediate refund, and made it perfectly clear that their crime scheme had been uncovered. Beacon later facilitated contact with federal law enforcement, and provided our client with courtroom-ready evidence for criminal prosecution and civil litigation.
- Denial of Service Attacks: Beacon assisted a European corporate client targeted by hackers in Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks that disabled its websites and other Internet-based operations. Beacon investigated the involved parties and established that they were connected to a well-known hacker collective prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for a series of earlier attacks on major U.S. corporations. The hackers were known for using ‘social engineering’ techniques to obtain passwords and other confidential data they could exploit when planning and executing their attacks. Our investigation included in-depth background investigations, forensic analysis, surveillance in multiple states, identification and review of private hacker-affiliated sites on the Deep Web, and WiFi sniffing to identify active networks at each of the Subjects’ residences. Our client used this information to assess and neutralize the threat.
Beacon has successfully investigated many other kinds of online fraud, including auction fraud, credit card fraud, investment fraud, Ponzi/Pyramid schemes, and “Catfish” frauds on Facebook and social media sites.
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We assist clients nationwide.
Beacon Investigative Solutions
4200 Regent Street, Suite 200
Columbus, OH 43219