DOJ, FBI Pool Resources For Battle With Katrina Fraudsters|
Federal law enforcement stepped up its efforts to quash Katrina-related fraud Thursday by setting up a special task force to deal with the booming scam business.
U.S. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales announced the Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force as he toured the destruction in Louisiana and Mississippi.
"We cannot allow the kindness of Americans to be exploited in this time of disaster and crisis," said Gonzales in a statement. "This Task Force will help ensure that those offering a helping hand do not themselves become the victims of fraud, and that the money and support they so graciously and generously offer goes to the intended recipients, the many victims of Hurricane Katrina."
The task force, which will be chaired by Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher of the department's Criminal Division, will include representatives from the FBI, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Postal Inspector's Office, and the Executive Office of the United States Attorneys.
Among the types of fraud the task force will target for investigation and prosecution, said Gonzales, are charity fraud, insurance fraud, government benefits fraud, and identity theft.
The move came on the same day that the senior cyber-security official at the FBI said that Katrina charity scam sites are popping up faster than the agency can run them down.
FBI assistant director Louis Reigel said by mid-day Thursday there were roughly 2,300 Katrina-related sites, double the number since Tuesday. That figure already dwarfs what the FBI saw in the aftermath of the Southeast Asian tsunami earlier this year, Reigel said.
New Katrina sites appear “faster than we can pound them down,” Reigel told the Associated Press. The bureau, he said, has been able to look at only 800 of the sites, or approximately a third of those online.
Limited actions against Katrina scammers have been taken by state officials in Florida and Missouri, but federal law enforcement has yet to file any charges.
In Florida, Attorney General Charlie Crist has filed a civil lawsuit against a state resident, Robert E. Moneyhan, 51, for allegedly creating several Katrina-related sites, none of which was a legitimate charitable operation. Wednesday, similar charges were brought by Missouri's Attorney General, Jay Nixon, against a St. Louis man, Frank Weltner.
XBox360 Set For Thanksgiving Retail Launch|
Microsoft has announced that its Xbox 360 will arrive on store shelves just in time for the holiday season: The product will be available Nov. 22 in North America, Dec. 2 in Europe and Dec. 10 in Japan. The announcement was made the day before the Tokyo Game Show 2005, the venue at which the Xbox 360 will debut.
U.S. State Dept., NYPD Board Podcasting Bandwagon
The U.S. Department of State and the New York City Police Department have joined the growing number of government entities using podcasts to reach the public.
Index Shows Online Job Expansion Before Hurricane Katrina
Monster Worldwide Inc. reports that nearly all of its metro areas saw online recruiting growth in sales, suggesting economic expansion in the weeks leading up to Hurricane Katrina.
Google Personalized Homepage Moves Out Of Labs
Google Inc. has placed a personalized homepage link on its search-engine homepage, giving users the option of adding at-a-glance information to their own start page.
Mozilla Readies Patched Firefox
Mozilla Corp. on Thursday posted new versions of its Firefox and the Mozilla browsers that include a fix for a recent vulnerability that could let attackers grab control of a PC.
Microsoft Talks Vista Security In Online Chat
Microsoft Thursday provided some incremental insight into the security features it's planning for its upcoming Windows Vista operating system, via a public, online chat on its MSDN developer network. The chat was hosted by Mike Nash, the vice president of the software giant's security business unit.
Yahoo Testing Instant Search
Yahoo Inc., trying to deliver more relevant search results faster, is testing an instant-search feature that displays results while the person is typing a query.
Tech Heavyweights Submit Web Services Spec To Standards Body
A group of tech heavyweights, including Microsoft Corp., Dell Inc., and Intel Corp., said Thursday it has submitted to a standards body a specification for managing different hardware and operating systems across a network.
Google Shares Down A Bit In Second Stock Offering
Google Inc. stock finished nearly flat on Thursday, the same day the search engine giant launched its second stock offering since its initial public offering a year ago.
Microsoft, AOL Discussing Partnership, Sources Say
SEATTLE (AP) -- Microsoft Corp. and Time Warner Inc. have been discussing potential online partnerships that would help the two companies better compete against rivals Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc., two people familiar with the talks said Thursday.