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Saturday, June 15, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Bridgestone Says Hackers|Are Scamming People

HOUSTON (CN) - Hackers in Texas are defrauding Bridgestone by sending fake job offers in its name to foreigners and telling them to wire $290 for a visa, the tire company claims in court.

Bridgestone is the world's largest tire and rubber manufacturer, with more than 55,000 employees in the Americas, according to its Jan. 22 federal lawsuit. Shojiro Ishibashi founded the company in Japan in 1931. Its headquarters are in Tokyo and its affiliate Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations calls Nashville home.

Bridgestone Americas sued Dominique Juwuan Simmons and Sayed Khan, who it claims are behind the scam. It also sued 100 John Does, saying they helped Simmons and Khan hack into its computer system and glean information about its job offers.

Khan then set up the phony websites careers-bridgestone.com and vacancies-bridgestone.com, from which he and his co-defendants sent emails offering people jobs in Houston, the company claims.

"In the job offer hoax emails, defendants (1) claim to have received the victim's job application through a LinkedIn post, (2) schedule a 'written interview' with the victim, (3) extend the victim a job offer (with a specified salary and the promise of free lodging) and, once the victim accepts, (4) instruct the victim to wire $290 to Western Union for a work visa," the complaint states.

The emails include Bridgestone's logo and "are signed by 'Ryan B. Dudley, Bridgestone Tires, District and Hiring Manager,'" the complaint states.

Bridgestone says Khan registered the fraudulent websites on Dec. 5. The complaint lists the registration information, including Khan's Dallas-area phone number.

Reached at that number Tuesday afternoon, Khan denied any knowledge of the allegations.

"I have no idea what you're talking about. You sound like a scam to me," he told Courthouse News.

According to the lawsuit, Khan has a history of fraud. The contact emails he listed when he registered the phony Bridgestone sites "were used in a similar email scam offering construction jobs for PCL Construction," the complaint states.

It claims that Simmons has also been linked to similar chicanery.

The top post listed from an Internet search of her name and address, which is listed in Bridgestone's lawsuit, is a blog post: "Stop 419 Advance Fee Fraud: Nissan Motor Corporation."

According to that blog posting, from April 17, 2015, Simmons and several other people sent emails to foreigners offering them $4,250 per month jobs with Nissan in Dallas, and instructing them to wire $290 via Western Union to cover half the cost of a visa application with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The blog operator wrote on the website: "No real company ever charges you money to get a job, even for a visa or work permit. Any request that money be sent via Western Union or MoneyGram is always a scam."

The same blog named Simmons as part of the Bridgestone scam in a Jan. 4 post.

Bridgestone's lawsuit includes several letters the defendants allegedly sent to Bridgestone job prospects. They appear to come from the same playbook as the Nissan offers. They instruct applicants to wire $290 to cover half the cost of a visa application, and include links to the USCIS website.

Bridgestone seeks punitive damages for trademark infringement, false designation of origin, unfair competition, trespass to chattels, conspiracy and violations of the Texas anti-spam law and the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act.

It also wants the defendants ordered to pay it $125 for every email they sent, to disgorge their profits and to give refund to all their victims.

Bridgestone also asked the court to order the Internet service providers who registered the phony websites to disable them and transfer them to Bridgestone.

Bridgestone's attorney Christopher Trent did not respond to a telephone message and email asking how many people were victimized by the alleged scam and whether the company filed police reports.

Trent is with Johnson, Trent, West & Taylor in Houston.

Follow @cam_langford
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