Below the Fold - scam-ception

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Happy Friday, Below the Fold! This week, amidst reports of ongoing war, the death of Queen Elizabeth, and the sparse blips of news on Hurricane Fiona’s destruction through Puerto Rico, we’ve learned about a new set of victims of financial scam operators.

Scammed into being a scam caller
Mon Sep 13

There are a number of humorous YouTube channels devoted to hacking scammers and trying to get them scared or caught for their crimes. But this cybercriminal world is actually even more nefarious.

Scam call centers are now purchasing people trafficked through phony job ads to work sophisticated scams through messaging and social media apps. The victims are forced to defraud others as they work 12 hour days, live in crowded dorms, or face food deprivation, beatings, and electric shocks. The way out? Either pay a sum many times over their annual pay, or death. At least six bodies have been found near one scam compound.

And the defrauded include at least 1,838 people in 46 countries averaging a loss of about $169,000 since June 2021. It’s tempting to think it only happens to the unsavvy online but the defrauded include accountants and entrepreneurs who have lost hundreds of thousands to even millions. Scam operators have detailed, “psychologically astute training materials” that get targets to slowly trust the scam worker by building a rapport and friendship long before launching into a secret investment opportunity.

Authorities and global activist groups (with volunteer rescuers) are working to combat the problem, which centers around Cambodia. The country is in the lowest tier in the annual U.S. State Department’s assessment of how well a country is meeting standards to eliminate human trafficking and has only recently acknowledged that foreign nationals have been trafficked into the country following a U.N. report. In fact, these foreign nationals (often from nearby countries, including China where the scam operators hail from) may escape only to then face abuse from the Cambodian police, who have been reported to treat escapees as criminals and illegal immigrants. The police have even pursued rescuers.

Indonesia Passes Data Privacy Law

It feels like every day we hear about a new data breach. Indonesia — fed up with big breaches of late — is now fifth in SE Asia to pass laws for personal data protection. The new legislation will hold any data operators who leak or misuse private information accountable. The legislation cites up to five years in jail as well as a maximum fine of $334,000. The new law is said to be crucial to the growth of Indonesia’s tech sector, slated to grow to $146B by 2025.

>> Read More

No More Newspapers in Nicaragua

In this year’s freedom of the press index, Nicaragua ranked in the bottom 20. And it’s not surprising when you look at the state of their disappearing media as their government silences voices. Whether through jail time for publishing information that displays the government negatively or through converting media offices into art centers, the country is now left without newspapers. Hundreds of journalists have also chosen to flee the country altogether.

>> Read More

🎬 Action of the Week

Visit the Global Anti-Scam Organization to learn more about the scams, including the job scams, how to avoid falling for them, and support for victims. Want to do more? You can donate or volunteer.
Human trafficking to cybercrime
10 days old | 40 minutes long
Over 38 HK victims in job scam
1 month ago | 3 minutes long
Human trafficking’s New Victims
23 days old | 4 minutes long
(o o) boo!
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I am the ghost of newspapers past!

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Donovan Bake
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