Oh when will they ever learn?

People with no financial understanding and knowledge are suffering poorly according to the FCA. The warning suggest those hard work good people with no financial experience lost over £27 million Crypto and Forex investment scams.

As explained by the FCA this is how the scams work

Fraudsters often use social media to promote their ‘get rich quick’ online trading platforms. Posts often use fake celebrity endorsements and images of luxury items like expensive watches and cars. These then link to professional-looking websites where consumers are persuaded to invest.

Investors will often be led to believe that their first investment has successfully made a profit. The fraudster will then contact the victim to invest more money or introduce friends and family with the false promise of greater profits. However, eventually the returns stop, the customer account is closed and the scammer disappears with no further contact.

Action Fraud reports show that on average, victims were each scammed out of £14,600 from Forex and Crypto scams in 2018/19.

The FCA suggest you do the following:

  • Don’t assume it’s real – professional-looking websites, adverts or social media posts don’t always mean that an investment opportunity is genuine. Criminals can use the names of well-known brands or individuals to make their scams appear legitimate.
  • Stay in control – avoid uninvited investment offers whether made on social media or over the phone. If you’re thinking about making an investment, thoroughly research the company first and consider getting independent advice.
  • Make the right checks – Firms providing regulated financial services must be authorised by the FCA. You can check whether they are authorised on the Financial Services Register. Use the contact details on the Register, not the details the firm gives you, to avoid ‘clones’.
  • Every report matters – If you have been a victim of fraud or cyber crime, report it to Action Fraud(link is external).

Don’t be a shame to pay £1,000 to a local financial advisor it can save you a large sum.

Financial advisor = only a person with a valid licence.

Valid licence = the name of the person should be listed on the Financial Services Register

Your health can hurt you

The Insolvency Service office (UK) published the following warning:

During Scams Awareness Month, people are being warned to be vigilant against rogue health supplement companies who target elderly and vulnerable victims.

Investigators found that call centre staff deployed a range of unscrupulous tactics, such as claiming to be ringing on behalf of doctors or other qualified health professionals while offering unregulated health advice, as well as phoning people registered with the Telephone Preference Service.

The Insolvency Service recommends:

  • Don’t stop taking prescribed medicine in favour of health supplements without speaking to your GP or pharmacist first
  • If you or a loved one think they have been a victim of a health supplements scam report it immediately to Action Fraud UK or get advice from Citizens Advice Consumer Service
  • Don’t rush into buying health supplements just because the seller is offering a good deal and if you’ve already made a payment, contact your credit card company and/or bank and tell them that you may have fallen victim to a fraud

Please find attached a link for the full warning and testimonials from victims.

The Information Commissioner’s Office reported that there were 8,454 nuisance marketing concerns reported to the ICO in April 2018 – an increase of 11% compared with March, it issued five monetary penalties in the same period, 1,551 spam text concerns were reported in April 2018 (increase of 261 concerns), there were 4,489 concerns submitted to the Telephone Preference Service in April (7% decrease from the figure for March), but overall year-on-year decrease in reported concerns (explained by: Successful investigations and enforcement action, Monetary penalties and enforcement action receiving widespread media coverage, Call blocking and SMS anti-spam technology, and regulatory actions).

It seems just a matter of time, until you will a get a call, text message, email, Whats-app/ Viber/Facebook/Telegram message, please make sure you are not next victim.

Western Union, Cold-calling, IOTA wallet, bitFlyer, Benebit ICO, My Big Coin and Bitcoin Money Laundering

Seven interesting stories:

  1. Victims Scammed Via Western Union May Get Refund – If you need to get a refund, please visit ACCC website for more details. You will have to fill out a form and send documents, but it might be worth trying.
  2. Cold-calling – we need to continue to report those unwanted calls. In the UK a company director was disqualified (can’t run or be involved in the management of another company). The company he managed made unsolicited calls for direct marketing purposes. Please find attached a link for the full press release.
  3. If you are dealing with IOTA , please do not use online seed generators. According to some news outlets around $4m worth of IOTA were stolen, therefore, it is advisable to review the attached reddit post.
  4. bitFlyer EUROPE S.A. Obtains Payment Institution License and Launches Service in Europe. Please find attached a link for the full press release. It is a good sign for EU cryptocurrency users, since now they are more protected.
    According to the press release, in addition to the above, bitFlyer was registered as a virtual currency exchange by the Japan Financial Services Agency in September 2017, and bitFlyer USA is licensed to operate in 42 states as of November 2017.
  5. According to bitcoin.com, Benebit ICO has pulled an exit scam, making off with a reported $2.7 million of investor funds. Please find attached a link for the full story.
  6. CFTC Charges Randall Crater, Mark Gillespie, and My Big Coin Pay, Inc. with Fraud and Misappropriation in Ongoing Virtual Currency Scam. Defendants allegedly solicited more than $6 million for investments in a virtual currency known as “My Big Coin”. According to the press release “My Big Coin” is a Ponzi scheme.
    Please find attached a link for the full story.
  7. New Study Finds Patterns in Money Laundering through Bitcoin. It is the first public domain analysis of how illicit digital currency is laundered around the globe.
    According to the article attached, Bitcoin gambling sites, “mixers” and European Bitcoin exchange may be the destinations of choice for criminals looking to launder bitcoins.

 

Retrieving funds from unregulated brokers, online frauds and legal breaches by merchants

If you are receiving emails or calls about getting back your lost funds from unregulated brokers, online frauds and legal breaches by merchants, just stay away from it. You may be fraud victim once again.

Please ask yourself, how did they get your details. It may be the same people who defrauded you at the first time.

Websites such as www.payback-ltd.com, www.winchargeback.com, may do more bad than good, and it may be another scam.

If you want to try such services do not give them your credit card details. Moreover, do not sign their contract, online contract, send your approval via email and so forth, without reading and understanding. Again, please do not give them your credit card details.

Make sure no one is rushing you to a”perfect deal”, since “they have a special price for new clients”, “special promotion for the holidays” etc.

You are better than those sales tactics. Fraudsters may managed to fool you at the first time, but now you have learned.

If you want to try without any assistance, first, please call your credit card company, and ask what can be done (please note, it is valid only if you used your credit card). Second, check who are the entities you dealt with (it may be written in the website’s terms and conditions, contact us page, or on the website’s disclaimer). Once you know the from where is the entity, you should submit an official complaint.

Example 1: you found that the entity is from the British Virgin Islands, you may submit an official complaint at BVIFSC.

Example 2: you found that the entity is from the Cayman Islands, you may submit an official complaint at CIMA.

In addition, if you can check who are the shareholders and the company’s directors, it might be useful. If you can contact the shareholders and the company’s directors in person it might be fruitful.

The above mentioned might not be helpful, but it is worth trying.

Please find attached a related warning published by the UK National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB), victims who been defrauded and paid scammers by Western Union are being warned to watch out for fraud recovery fraud after a multimillion-dollar settlement in the US.

 

 

The fear of missing out, make money advertisements and ICO or digital currencies scams

If you Google the word “Bitconnect”, your search results may include paid ads sponsored by “make money” advertisers. “Hexabot”, “Investellect”, “Bitcy.biz”, “Chain Group” and “Make Money with Bitconnect” are nothing but a scam. In some cases, from the fear of missing out, investors may risk their savings to those schemes, therefore, we want to emphasis that it is a mistake, and those ads are fraud.

We believe that “Bitconnect”, “BitConnect Coin” is nothing but a scam, and Google should consider removing those ads in order to protect Google’s users. Moreover, we believe Google should file a report against those entities to the law enforcement, since they are acting illegally. We believe that Google is a moral organization, and they always act in the best interest of their clients.

The story is not about Google, the story is about us. We must not let the fear of missing out to control us. We must do better.

Just today SEC obtained an emergency asset freeze to halt a fast-moving Initial Coin Offering (ICO) fraud that raised up to $15 million from thousands of investors since August by falsely promising a 13-fold profit in less than a month. The defendants claimed that investments in PlexCoin would yield a 1,354 percent profit in less than 29 days (please find attached a link for the full press release).

ICOs, cryptocurrencies, mining and blockchain are making investors irrational. You need to be extra cautious, if it is connected to ICOs, cryptocurrencies, mining and blockchain, just because it’s out there doesn’t mean it’s good and profitable investment. Remember, if it is too good to be true, it probably is.

Please note, that some ICOs, cryptocurrencies, mining and blockchain may be risky investments, you should consult with independent financial adviser, before making an investment.

You should only use register financial adviser, if things goes wrong, he/she may have professional liability insurance, and you may be able to get back your money.

 

 

SEC Warns Investors About Paid-to-Click Scams

The Securities and Exchange Commission is warning investors to beware online “paid-to-click” scams that promise an easy payday by merely purchasing a membership or an advertising product up front and then clicking on a certain number of online ads each day.

The SEC’s investor alert explains that these online advertising programs may have little to no revenues besides membership fees or sales of “ad packs” and may be nothing more than a Ponzi scheme.

Paid-to-Click scam signs:

  • Easy money. Be skeptical if you are offered high returns in exchange for merely purchasing products or for trivial tasks such as clicking on a certain number of online ads each day. Any investment opportunity that sounds too good to be true probably is.
  • Required upfront payments. Be wary if you are asked to pay money upfront to participate in a PTC program, even if it’s supposedly for a membership plan or product purchase. Why would a company require you to pay a membership fee or to buy a product, for the “opportunity” to click on ads?
  • No revenue from genuine products or services. Ask to see documents, such as financial statements audited by a certified public accountant (CPA), showing that the PTC program generates real revenue from selling products or services. If the PTC program has no revenue from customers other than its own members, any returns you receive are likely from other investors’ buy-in fees.
  • Virtual address. Verify that the business address listed for the PTC program is legitimate. For example, enter the address into an online search engine and be skeptical if the results suggest it is not a valid address or that the PTC program does not have legitimate operations at the location.
  • Withdrawal problems. If you have trouble withdrawing your money or are required to reinvest your profits, it may be because there is not enough money coming in from new investors to cover earlier investors’ withdrawal requests.

Please find attached a link for the full warning BEWARE OF PAID-TO-CLICK (PTC) SCAMS and SEC Warns Investors About Paid-to-Click Scams

“Facebook on Fire” email campaign from Sender: email address: marcroy@mayote.com, Marc Roy, Sender’s address: 183 Miller st., GOGAMA, Ontario Canada, Zipcode: GM638A, is an example to such fraud.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission betting and sports investment scams

According to the warning, Scamwatch has received 184 reports of betting and sports investment scams, with nearly $1.6 million lost and men overwhelmingly likely to be affected by these scams, making three out of every four reports to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Moreover, sports investment scams are very successful with half of the reports to Scamwatch from people who have already lost money. The average loss is very high at more than $18,000 compared to about $6,500 for all scams. These scams are sophisticated and convincing which is why it is vital people should know the warning signs:

The three main types of sports betting and investment scams are:

  • Computer prediction software – scammers will try to sell people software that promises to accurately predict sporting results, for example the Melbourne Cup winner.
  • Betting syndicates – scammers will try to convince potential victims to join a betting syndicate. People are required to pay a hefty fee (often in excess of $15,000) to join and make regular deposits. The scammers say the funds are being used to place bets on behalf of the syndicate but in reality the scammer is pocketing all the funds.
  • Sports investment – these scams are usually promoted as business opportunities or investments. The scammer will use technical or financial terms such as “sports arbitrage” or “sports trading” to make these scams look legitimate. They are nothing more than a con to get people to put money into an investment that does not exist.

Do not believe anyone who says they have foolproof systems that can ‘guarantee’ a profit through betting. If someone can accurately predict gambling results, why would they need to sell it to you to make money?

Please find attached a link for the full warning ACCC betting and sports investment scams

 

ANOTHER ICO SCHEME

The Securities and Exchange Commission charged a businessman and two companies with defrauding investors in a pair of so-called initial coin offerings (ICOs) purportedly backed by investments in real estate and diamonds.

The SEC alleges that the defendants and his companies have been selling unregistered securities, and the digital tokens or coins being peddled don’t really exist. According to the SEC’s complaint, investors in REcoin Group Foundation and DRC World (also known as Diamond Reserve Club) have been told they can expect sizeable returns from the companies’ operations when neither has any real operations.

“Investors should be wary of companies touting ICOs as a way to generate outsized returns,” said Andrew M. Calamari, Director of the SEC’s New York Regional Office. “As alleged in our complaint, Zaslavskiy lured investors with false promises of sizeable returns from novel technology.”

Please find attached a link for the full story ANOTHER ICO SCHEME

Another Pump-and-Dump Market Manipulation Scheme

SEC Charges Microcap Company and its Promoters in Pump-and-Dump Market Manipulation Scheme.

According to the complaint, the defendants opened brokerage accounts in the names of nominees in order to sell their stock and, when they deposited the Company’s shares into the accounts, they lied about how much stock they owned, how they obtained it, and the relationship of the nominees to them. The complaint further alleges that the defendants organized and implemented a promotional campaign, including email blasts and a boiler room that targeted senior citizens. The Company’s stock price increased, from $0.93 per share on September 30, 2014 to $1.62 per share on May 1, 2015, during which time the defendants dumped their shares through the nominees, earning them net illegal profits of about $3.1 million.

Please find attached a link for the full story Pump-and-Dump Market Manipulation Scheme

Australian authorities helpful information

The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) has a good website, and you can check your investment firm, financial adviser etc, registration status. Please find attached a link to their website ASIC for-consumers.

In addition, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) also has a great website. The Scamwatch Website is a good place to learn.

All ACCC’s reports including Spot Social Media Scams and Scams targeting Indigenous peoples nearly doubled in 2016 are valuable lessons for all of us.

ACCC have witnessed a sharp increase in scams taking place through social media sites. If someone you’ve met through social media but you’ve never met in person asks you for money, your alarm bells should be ringing. Don’t ever wire transfer or send money to someone you don’t know because you won’t see it again.

Wherever you see an offer that seems more generous than normal, do your research on the company, where the product is coming from, check the company’s website and try and find any reviews about the business before making a purchase. Only pay using secure payment methods such as Paypal or a credit card. If you are buying from a classified website only hand over the money when you have physically inspected the goods. Finally, never open attachments or download files you receive out of the blue—no matter who the email comes from or how legitimate it looks.

ACCC’s website provides a wide range of warnings including Don’t place bets with a scammer this spring racing seasonDon’t be lured into binary options scams and scams during the Christmas period (too-good-to-be-true scams holidays, goods that don’t really exist, and fake ‘missed delivery’ notices to potential victims). The tips  provided are very helpful and informative.

According to the ACCC, if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.