Cybercrime / Internet Scams

Cybercrime - Internet Scams

The anonymity of the Internet generates a haven for those who perpetrate their deception by disappearing into cyberspace, often disguising themselves with stolen identities or hiding behind fabricated personas. In 2018, Americans reported over 1.4 million fraud reports to the FBI (likely on the IC3 website), with losses totaling $1.48 billion dollars. Many law enforcement agencies are limited and many law firms are not equipped to assist the victims of cybercrime and Internet scams. This is where attorney Michael Devereux and Wexford Law comes in.

Identify theft is a specific form of fraud in which cybercriminals steal personal data. Through identity theft, criminals can steal money

Cyber stalking is a form of harassment utilizing the Internet typically thought social media. It may not always be a crime but it is illegal.

Cyber scam is a term used to describe a cybercrime that intends to deceive a person out of money.

Cybercrime Attorney

Michael Devereux is a highly respected cyber / Internet attorney in Los Angeles. Michael studied cyber security in the masters program at Harvard University and computer science at UCLA, along with a JD at Loyola Law School.
Before becoming an attorney, Michael Devereux's computer experience started at the Rand Corporation as an analyst. The Rand Corporation is a global think tank that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis.
After the Rand Corporation, Michael Devereux continued in computer security for the United States government. Michael has an extensive consulting background in computers and the Internet for Fortune 100 corporations such as Paramount Studios, XEROX, Nestle's, GTE (now Verizon) and Northrop-Gruman.
Mr. Devereux has been successfully representing clients for close to 20 years in respect to cyber issues and has published opinions in the Ninth Circuit Court in cases involving the Internet.

Cybercrime Attorney

Michael Devereux is a cyber attorney that provides cyber and Internet analytics well beyond the law. As any party that has lost could verify, a client needs more than legal analysis to prevail. Many firms only provide legal analysis. At Wexford Law we not only provide legal analysis, but cyber forensics.

Former clients, their family and friends repeatedly return to Wexford Law for help in matters involving cyber isses.

Law Enforcement Resources Are Limited

The anonymity of the Internet generates a haven for those who perpetrate their deception by disappearing into cyberspace, often disguising themselves with stolen identities or hiding behind fabricated personas. Many of these perpetrators are hanging out in Internet cafes typically in third-world countries. The scammers work many hours a day at these Internet cafes with a laptop or a cell phone scamming Americans out of their money. It's a numbers game to the perpetrator. A one time hit of $300 American dollars is a good annual living in many third world countries. That's all the perpetrator needs in a single year is one good hit.

In 2018, Americans reported over 1.4 million fraud reports to the FBI (likely on the IC3 website), losing a total of $1.48 billion dollars. One can report the Internet scam to the FBI along with the other 3,900 reports that the FBI will receive today. The FBI is the largest law enforcement agency in the country and they are likely the best, along with the Secret Service in regards to Internet fraud. However, the FBI and Secret Service are not equipped to take on the entire world and neither is your local law enforcement agency. So if it's important to you then you may wish to contact the best cybercrime attorney on the Internet today.

Top Cybercrime / Internet Scams

1. Secret Shopping Scam

One of the old favorites brings together fake checks and secret shopping. Here’s how it starts. The victim gets a check in the mail with a job offer as a secret shopper. The victim deposits the check and sees the funds in their account within a few days, and the bank even tells the victim that the check has cleared.

Now The victim is off to the store they’ve been asked to shop at and report back on, often a Walmart. The victim's first assignment is to test the in-store money transfer service, like Western Union or MoneyGram, by sending some of the money the victim deposited. Or the victim might be told to use the money to buy reloadable cards or gift cards, such as iTunes cards. The victim is then instructed to send pictures of the cards or to give the numbers on the cards.

Fast forward days or weeks to the unhappy ending. The bank finds out the check the victim deposited is a fake, which means that the victim is on the hook for all that money. How does that even happen? Well, banks must make funds from deposited checks available within days, but uncovering a fake check can take weeks. By the time the victim tries to get the money back from the money transfer service, the scammers are long gone, and they’ve taken all the money off the gift cards, too. (By the way, money orders and cashier’s checks can be faked, too.)

2. Real Estate Escrow Scams

Escrow companies typically involed big money real estate transactions. In a real estate transaction, the weakest link is the escrow company. Escrow companies are the latest to have their identities stolen, along with their client's information. Days before closing the client is contacted by the perpetrator and told to deposit the downpayment to a local bank account. Within minutes after the money is deposited, the perpetrator will wire the money to an account overseas which will be the beginning of many other wire transfers. Once the money is transferred overseas it becomes difficult to trace because many of the overseas accounts do not involve nations that are friendly to America.

3. Online Dating Scams

Ladies in their late 50's, early 60's are targets because they are expected to have retirement plans that are soon to peak in value. There are two types of scams: 1) the scam with the virtual person that the victim never meets in reality; or 2) the victim that does meet a person that has abusive tendencies but creates a bond or attachment that the victim can't break away from until it's too late. Since this blurb is about cybercrime we will discuss the former and not the latter.

The perpetrator is seeking a lonely professional, particularly a widow. The scam is long term and it involves typically a great deal of money. The perpetrator never meets the victim in person and typically his personna is a person of trust, such as a military man, a law enforcement officer, a doctor, a businessman or a political figure, almost always connected to a government position. The perpetrator typically builds at the very least a six month relationship before he makes his move. He builds an attachment by sharing photographs, love letters and fake government documents. The perpetrator will eventually need money for some reason, maybe to pay for expenses until he's reimbursed or he's got insider trading information into an investment such as silver, gold, stocks, real estate, etc. If you become involved in an investment less than a year after meeting this person, expect to be used. It is highly likely that the victim will be sending large amounts of money in a wire to an overseas bank only to find out later that the person, the emails, the documents were all fakes.

4. Work At Home Scams

Works much like the secret shopper scam in item #1. Work-at-home and business opportunity scams are often advertised as paid work from home. After the soon-to-be victim accepts the opportunity, the perpetrator claims that they will pay a few hundred dollars for up-front costs to pay for materials and office furniture, the check soon arrives with an amount far exceeding what was expected. The perpetrator claims that the over-payment is a mistake on their part, but to save time the perpetrator convinces the victim to deposit the check and return the balance. The check the victim received is fake and will remain in the system for weeks before the victim discovers that it never cleared so the victim's account is later debited for the entire check amount long after the the balance that the victim returned to the perpetrator is cleared.

5. Sex Scams - I'll Show Mine If You Show Me Yours

The victim is typically a lonely male. The victim believes that he is communicating with a young woman. The perpetrator is actually a male with a chatbot and/or a video of a young lady. Both people agree to exchange nude photos or mutual videos of masturbation. A short time later it plays out one of two ways: 1) the perpetrator acting as the woman's father says that the woman is a minor and since they exchanged photos the perpetrator demands payment with a threat that if he isn't paid he will go to the police (thus making the father a person not only in possession of child pornography but also a distributor demanding payment, but many victims don't understand the law); or 2) the perpetrator demands payment under the threat that he will expose the video to all to see, which is highly unlikely because the perpetrator is playing the numbers game so he won't take time from his scams to post anything.

6. Fake Prizes, Sweepstakes, Free Gifts, Lottery Scams

You receive an email claiming you won a prize, lottery or gift, and you only have to pay a "small fee" to claim it or cover "handling costs". These include scams which can go under the name of genuine lotteries like the UK National Lottery and the El Gordo Spanish lottery. Unsolicited email or telephone calls tell people they are being entered or have already been entered into a prize draw. Later, they receive a call congratulating them on winning a substantial prize in a national lottery. But before they can claim their prize, they are told they must send money to pay for administration fees and taxes. The prize, of course, does not exist. No genuine lottery asks for money to pay fees or notifies it's winners vian email.

7. Internet merchandise scams

You purchase something online, but it is either never delivered or it is not what they claimed it was, or is defective.

Another version is that the victim sells something online and sends the merchandise immediately before payment only to find out that the payment hasn't been made or never clears.

Online shopping, and other shop or sell from home, such as catalog, mail and phone shopping scams are on the rise.

8. Debt Collection:

Most of the complaints under this category involve debt collectors. Clients tell of receiving calls from harassing collectors who are threatening and will repeatedly call attempting to collect a debt. Other complaints that fall under this category involved credit/debit card fees, pay day loans, credit repair companies and unauthorized use of credit/debit cards. Some of these complaints involved hidden fees and billing disputes as well.

9. Fake Government Officials

If you received an email, letter or phone call from a government agency (typically the IRS or Social Security) and it instructs the victim to wire, Western Union or MoneyGram money someplace, or follow a link and enter information - don't believe it! The U.S. government would never instruct anyone to use those methods to pay any bill or carry out a transaction, particularly with an overseas bank or agency.

10. Identity Theft, Phishing and Pharming

Scammers gain access to your confidential information, like social security numbers, date of birth and then use it to apply for credit cards, loans and financial accounts. Typically, the victim receives an email that appears to be from a credible, real bank or credit card company, with links to a website and a request to update account information. But the website and email are fakes, made to look like the real website.

Most Common Scams
  • Sex Scams

  • Online Dating Scams

  • Real Estate Escrow Scams

  • Secret Shopping Scams

  • Work At Home Scams


They don't actually scrub the information off the Internet because that would cause legal issues. Online reputation management is the practice of crafting strategies that shape or influence the public perception of an organization, individual or other entity on the Internet. It helps drive public opinion about a business and its products and services. An online reputation manager is part public relation, part techie, specializing in providing online makeovers—often by burying negative search results and promoting content that accentuates a client’s desired image.

To put it simply, I don't believe that Ancestry.com is your issue. I believe that you are a target from some criminal perhaps from India or a third world country. If your brothers, you or your father have not provided your DNA then I suspect more is going on here than you suspect. Here's the reason that I don't believe it came from your sister and Ancestry.com.

Some ancestry tests use male Y-DNA to trace paternal ancestry, and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) to trace maternal ancestry. While men and women both inherit mtDNA from their mother, only those born male inherit Y-DNA from their father. This means that while men can easily trace their maternal and paternal ancestry using their own DNA, those born female will need a male paternal relative to take a male haplogroup test on their behalf if they wish to learn about their paternal ancestry. According to you there is no male DNA on the site so that would make it an impossibility for them to claim that your brothers were there fathers so the people that are targeting you are likely scam artists.

You may be. Check your analytics. My website has three analytic packages because not all of them provide a complete picture. I did a test once by purchasing Google Ads. The market area was a 15 mile radius from my office in Century City, California. For the week, I had 4 or 5 weird emails, none from my market area. In addition, I had over 160 clicks that I was billed for. 4 of the clicks came from my market area. One click was from nearby Upland California. Over 158 clicks were mainly from India, which to this day is still not within 15 miles of Century City. I challenged the bill. If you are using Internet advertising, get an analytic package and check it daily.

It helps a great deal. I had several cases dismissed because of my computer science experience. One case involved Paypal. The first attorney did not have a computer science experience and was unable to review system logs. Client retained me and within weeks I was able to review the logs and have the case dismissed. In a second matter in Malibu, there were thousand of pages of logs. Based upon my experience I suspected fraud. An expert looked the logs and could not find anything that would help the client. I looked through almost ten thousand pages and noticed a line that instead of reading @gmail.com, as in the rest of the addresses, it read @gemail.com. Bingo, I knew at that point it was a fraud, brought it to the attention of opposing counsel and soon the matter was dismissed. It took two years to find it, but we found it.

What People Say