Category: Scammer

Warning: As Shown on Shark Tank

Shark Tank Is an American TV series about entrepreneurs pitching their new product or service to a group of very successful business people. If they like it then they may invest their own money in the new company.

It’s a similar format to Dragons Den shown in the UK, which is based on a Japanese show and lots of countries now have their own version.

Shark Tank is a big ratings success and won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Structured Reality Program three times. A ninth season is currently being planned.

However, all is not as it seems. The sharks don’t have long to assess the businesses, products and services in front of them and a lot has to be taken on trust.

Many, and possibly a majority, of the deals made on the show are never enacted, due to the investors’ vetting process following the deal, which includes product testing and the examination of the contestants’ personal and business financials. In some cases, the entrepreneurs themselves have backed out of the deal after admitting that they only wanted to appear on the show for the publicity.

Lots of spam and scam emails for products include “As Seen on Shark Tank” and use quotes from the programme.

These may or may not be fake but appearing on Shark Tank really does not prove anything is genuine. Being liked by the Sharks does not prove a product is any good.

Many of the deals made on Shark Tank never happen because due diligence shows up the entrepreneurs either lie about their situation or product or something goes wrong in tying up the deal.

So if you see something advertised as ‘As Seen on Shark Tank” then reach for the salt and certainly do not believe it.

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Scumbag Awards 2017 Dating and Romance Scams

Category: Dating and Romance

1.      Online Dating

There are countless people looking for love, romance and commitment and scammers think these people are easy marks. Numerous scammers spend their days pretending to be in love with various people and building a relationship to the point where they ask for money and sometimes get it. When the prospective partner stops paying then the scammer moves on to new victims.

This is cynical, nasty and immoral.

An Austrian woman (we’ll call her firefly) decided to give online dating a try. It had been about a year since Firefly got divorced. Firefly spent a lot of time on her profile, thinking she needed to be entirely honest and open if she hoped to really connect with someone. Within 10 minutes of posting, she had a handful of virtual suitors — and one stood out. He suggested they ditch the dating site and switch to email.

Her new boyfriend had a complicated backstory: He was an American soldier serving in Iraq, and he had a son living in Ghana. But she had revealed to her new online beau how much she wanted children, and soon his 14-year-old son was emailing her. (I know; red flag.)

Then, after about a week of heavy correspondence, Firefly’s boyfriend announced his son’s birthday was coming up, and suggested she send him a gift. So she wired a few hundred euros to Ghana. It was pretty gratifying, she says; the son was ecstatic.

But soon after, she learned that the son had had an accident at school and needed help paying hospital bills — urgently. “Of course I was sending money again to Western Union,” Firefly says.

Scarcely had the boy recovered when he was struck by cholera, which required another expensive course of treatment. Within the space of about three months, Firefly wired the equivalent of about $1,000 to Ghana. She decided to do a little research online and discovered that, yes, cholera is a problem in Ghana, and yes, treating it can be expensive — except that Ghana actually has a free cholera treatment program.

She finally realised she’d been scammed.

2.      The Fake Military Personnel Scam

This follows the usual path of fake dating online leading to the fake military man asking for money to get leave or to visit the person.

http://fightback.ninja/the-fake-military-personnel-scam/

3.      Fake Investigators:

Once someone has been scammed, they are labelled as easy prey and some scammers will approach them with a new story and offer help.  There are fake investigators offering to find the original scammer and get the money back and have the perpetrators brought to justice. However, this is impossible to do and will just lead to more money being paid to another scammer.

Vote by email for your favourite to blog@fightback.ninja

 

The Kitchenware Car Park Scam

This has happened before in Surrey but now theses scammers are at it again.

They have approached people in Waitrose car park in Cobham and at Painshill car park.

You’re in a car park and maybe just getting out of your car or heading back to your car and you are stopped by someone. You expect they want directions to somewhere but they start telling you a story. Sometimes they hang around schools trying to talk to the waiting parents or sometimes they just knock on doors.

The story is roughly as follows:-

 I was on my way to the airport to fly home but I have too many samples left. Kitchen knives, cutlery, crockery – all top quality sets as you can see for yourself (shows the product).

 I can’t take them on the plane as they are too heavy so I have to sell them off quickly.

I can offer these professional products to you at a very much discounted price if you buy now.

The products have designer names and appear to be Swiss made and top quality but when the victim’s inspect them at home, they realise they are poor quality copies and not worth what was paid.    

The scammers have German accents and speak good English.  They are clearly very convincing as people keep falling for this scam and some spend over £1,000 only to find out their purchases are near worthless.

The Police do know about these scammers but if you are approached by them then do tell the Police.

If you know anything about these scammers or have been conned by them – let me know.

The Traffic Monsoon Ponzi Scheme


Pyramid investment scheme worth £160MILLION shut down after taking money from 162,000 people

Traffic Monsoon, which is run by Charles Scoville, claimed to make people money through online advertising ‘AdPacks’. Mr.  Scoville, an American “entrepreneur” has a history of similar schemes.

The Securities and Exchange Commission stated that “Traffic Monsoon’s advertising business is an illusion designed to obscure the fact that it is offering and selling a pure Ponzi scheme” . “Over 99% of Traffic Monsoon’s revenue comes from the sale of AdPacks”.

“The company has virtually no other revenue from any other source”.

ADPACKS

Everyone who joined bought AdPacks at $50 each (£38) and was required to click on 50 banner adverts each day, staying on each for five seconds. It’s this online traffic that members were told would generate income, but it didn’t.

In April, PayPal notified Scoville that his business had the hallmarks of a Ponzi scheme  and in time froze the company’s funds – approximately $61 million. Scoville continued to sell Adpacks even though he couldn’t pay anyone.

The PayPal freeze ended on July 11, and Scoville transferred $25.6 million out of the PayPal account into a separate Traffic Monsoon account and immediately transferred $21 million of those funds into his own personal account.

He attempted to transfer additional funds out of the PayPal account, but PayPal stopped this.

Scovile continues to maintain his company is genuine and posted he on Facebook – “For those of you who read the report and wonder why I moved funds from the business account to my personal…it truly was to protect those funds”.  Some people still believe in him and a petition has been launched on Change.org to raise money for Scoville.

The company has taken in $207 million dollars in actual cash, but on paper Traffic Monsoon had generated $738 million dollars in revenue.  Clearly that extra revenue does not exist and only by continually increasing the number of new members buying adpacks could the scheme continue to pay out, until its inevitable collapse.

Had the SEC of not stepped in, Scoville and the funds may have disappeared.

If you have any experiences with scammers, spammers or time-waster do let me know, by email.

Security Blogger Scams the Scammer

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A French security blogger named Ivan Kwiatkowski was incensed when scammers tried to scam his parents by pretending to be Microsoft helping them sort out virus problems.

Ivan decided to find out more about these scammers and see if he could turn the tables on them. He called the number his parents had called and a lady named Patricia answered. He spun her a yarn about his computer having problems with Zeus virus and could she help.

Oh yes she could.

It is typical with these scams, for the scammer to install software on the victim’s PC supposedly to ‘see how bad the problem is’ but in fact to use a cheat so as to show the extent of the ‘fake’ problem’ and maybe to look for credit card details and passwords etc.

Ivan had setup a PC off the network so he could let the scammer have a look around safely.

He allowed Patricia to take control of the PC and install her software. She told him she’d found that the PC had 1452 viruses and she could supply anti-virus software and fix it for $189.90. Ivan told her he’d buy the software in Paris where he lives and the conversation ended, to the scammers surprise.

But Ivan wasn’t finished yet – he phoned back and spoke with a new scammer, Dileep, who checked the situation and offered to clean the PC of viruses and install anti-virus protection for $299.99.

Ivan offered to buy the package but when it came to giving credit card details – he had fake card details to use but pretended he couldn’t read very well so when the card number was rejected he claimed poor eyesight was the problem. After numerous attempts he had a brainwave. Ivan had j.Locky ransomware on disk as he had been researching it recently.

He convinced Dileep to accept a photo of the card so he could read the numbers himself, but Ivan send the photo with j.Locky attached.

The scammer didn’t know it but j.Locky would be busy in the background encrypting all of his files then would demand a ransom to have them released.

Scam the scammer.

Nice one Ivan

To read the original account of the scam, go to https://blog.kwiatkowski.fr/?q=en/node/30

If you have any experiences with scammers, spammers or time-wasters do let me know, by email.

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The Psychology of Scammers

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There is a lot of evidence about scammers and how they operate.

There are scammers that operate a number of different scams but many seem to find one that works for them then stick to it.

The many Nigerian 419 scammers are an example of sticking to the same game plan. They tempt people with a very large sum of money – usually in the millions and tell a highly improbably story of why the money is available. But with such a large amount of money as the enticement then for many people that overcomes their disbelief and they pay the advance fee which might be called a processing fee or release fee or Police charge or whatever.  The scammer gets the advance fee and of course the large amount of money does not exist.

Most people know of theses scams, so why do the scammers stick to it instead of changing?

They enjoy the challenge, they stick to what they know, why change your plan when you can make the current one work? There are always more people to scam.

There are financial scams so complex that even few experts can understand how they work and at the other end of the spectrum are the incredibly simple scams such as sending out spam emails saying in a lot more words

“We have a large sum of money in your name and will be happy to send this too you once we verify your identity. Please  provide a photograph of your passport or driving licence, your full name and address and contact details”

Some people will answer this with the information which the scammer can then sell on to other scammers.

Are the scammers motivated just by money?

No, many do chase the money, but  for a lot it’s more about the game – winning, showing superiority over the victims who fall for the scams, the badge of honour of taking money from people and giving nothing in return. For some its excitement – getting away with illegal activities and not getting caught. For some, it’s all they know to do.

Many scam messages are childishly inept – poor grammar, spelling mistakes, odd use of words, poor quality layout etc. For some this may be genuine mistakes .e.g  a poor translation from another language but often it is deliberate. The scammers often don’t want to catch people who will realise it’s a scam – they want the most believing and easily conned hence the mistakes to put off anyone who stops to think about the likelihood of the story being true. In this case, implausibility is the scammer’s friend.

Finally, if you get a cold caller trying to scam you, you won’t be able to talk them out of it and you won’t be able to shame them out if it.  Scammers make a clear decision to con people out of money and that’s what they stick to.

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Carol’s Story of Dealing with Lloyd Loom of Spalding

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A guest post by Carol.

I was looking to buy some bedroom furniture – a bedside table and a couple of other items.  I knew the name Lloyd Loom was a good British make and searched on the Internet for what I wanted.

I found a supplier (Lloyd Loom of Spalding) with stock and chose the items. I received an invoice online and paid by bank transfer (nearly £1,000). This felt safe as the “company” has a good reputation.

I did speak with the supplier and he seemed very helpful. He could deliver to Cornwall without any problem. He sent a set of swatches so I could pick the exact colour I wanted.

Over the next period, I received regular updates from the supplier but no furniture. There was no difficulty contacting him and I still believed the furniture would arrive.

But it didn’t.

I had paid by bank transfer and the bank tried to recover the money but the account had been emptied and I wasn’t able to get any money back.

 

Below is an update by Wikipedia.

Lloyd Loom of Spalding Ltd. and Lloyd Loom Weave Ltd., a subsidiary, entered Creditors voluntary liquidation at Companies House in February 2016. The factory in Wardentree Lane, Pinchbeck, was emptied under the instruction of company director Anthony Draxler just before Christmas 2015, with production machinery then apparently shipped to Romania.

Staff who have been laid off say they are owed up to 14 weeks’ wages and some ex-workers claim agreed redundancy terms have not been settled.

Several firms are owed money by Lloyd Loom Furniture Ltd – a subsidiary of Lloyd Loom of Spalding.

Lloyd Loom Furniture Ltd. was placed under a HMRC Winding up Petition and is now in liquidation.

A police investigation has been undertaken into Anthony Draxler due to unfulfilled customer orders. A Lincolnshire Police spokesman said: “There is an enquiry under way in relation to this business and an individual involved with it.”

As of 20 January 2016 a new company Lloyd Loom Spalding Limited was registered at Companies House.

BE WARNED Anthony Draxler is believed to be behind this latest venture.

Please note that Lloyd Loom is a style of furniture making and that there are other Lloyd Loom companies that are respectable and have no connection with Anthony Draxler and his companies.

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Fake Text Messages From Loved Ones

This fake message is designed to overcome your natural suspicion by using a name you may be familiar with and that the person needs help.

Fake Text Message

If you don’t know a Sarah then you’ll probably guess it’s either a fake or intended for someone else.

But if you have a daughter or sister or wife or friend named Sarah then you might fall for this and text back.

If you do, the text will cost you a lot (premium number) plus the return message will go about what happened and how she desperately needs money for hospital bills or some such thing.  It probably will also have some story about why she’s not on her normal phone number – broken phone, lost phone,  confiscated phone etc.

 

If the scammers have been watching your social media then they know your child or siblings name and that they are away on holiday somewhere and can use that to make the texts realistic.

Think before you respond.

Facebook Phishing Scam

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There are numerous phishing emails and text messages that try to trick victims into giving away confidential information like account sign-on details or credit card numbers.

Usually, these messages claim the victim’s account has been frozen until they sign on again by clicking a link that leads to a bogus page imitating the real provider of the account.

These can usually be spotted easily but there is a new phishing scam. This is in the form of a comment  on an item on the user’s Facebook page.

The Scammer creates an account with an official sounding, security related name, so the victim may believe the comment has come from Facebook. The comment maker then warns that the user’s account is to be disabled unless the user verifies their details.

The warning says something like :

“Your page has been reported by others about the abuse, this is a violation of our agreement and may result in your page Disabled. Please verify your email account to prove this is your page and help us do more for security and comfort for everyone. Please check your account as proof of legitimate owner of the account that you use. Make sure you enter the correct details below.”

The message has two boxes for recipients to enter their email address and their Facebook password, along with date of birth details and a “Confirmation” button, which is linked to a bogus Facebook page.

In both cases, after providing their sign-on information, victims are asked for their credit card number.

The message warns: “Caution. If you do not update your credit card your payment page will be disabled.”

Sometimes, there’s also a link to a phony PayPal sign-on page.

This is quite a complex and well-executed scam but hopefully the poor wording will flag it up for what it really is. Even if Facebook stop this scam, other scammers are likely to will try something similar.

Facebook has pages of information and guidance about security and what to do in the event you think there is something suspicious in progress.