Freddy David Ponzi Scheme Stopped

Freddy David was sentenced to six years for defrauding 55 victims out of £14.5 million in a Ponzi scheme.

He used the money to fund his gambling habit, as well as paying for holidays abroad and his children’s school fees.

An investigation by the City of London Police’s Fraud Squad found that between 2005 and 2017, David had been running a Ponzi scheme through wealth management company HBFS Financial Services Limited (HBFS), of which he was managing director.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) became suspicious of the HBFS bank accounts and referred it to the City of London Police who worked closely with the FCA to investigate the affairs of HBFS.

This fraud was running in parallel with legitimate HBFS business, with David using the company’s name as a means to defraud victims out of vast sums of money. 55 victims invested a total of £14,545,494.48 with individual investments of between £20,000 and £750,000 per person.

The Scam

David would convince victims, some of whom he knew personally as friends, that their funds were being held in a high interest bank account offering between four and eight percent interest annually and they would be paid interest on a monthly basis.

The investigation found that victims were transferring large sums of money into the HBFS business accounts, under the impression that they were investing in high interest accounts. It was found that large sums of money were being transferred into David’s personal bank accounts for his own use as well as being used to pay other investors their “monthly interest”.

Victims were provided with forged bank documents which supposedly confirmed that the investments had been made and that interest was being accrued each month.

Police Staff Investigator, Katie Watkins, said:

“Freddy David took advantage of individuals who placed significant trust in him. He abused his position and as a consequence this has had a devastating impact on the victims and their families, both financially and psychologically.”

This is an unusual case as normally either the scheme is setup to be a Ponzi or it starts legitimate then circumstances conspire to push it into a Ponzi. However in this case, Freddy David was a respected financier and ran the Ponzi scheme as a side business to bolster his own bank account.

Be careful who you invest money with, even if that person is a friend or works in a legitimate financial services organisation.

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ZDOROV Creams

Every so often, a new wonder product appears and suddenly there are huge volumes of emails advertising it, dozens of review sites extolling its virtues and there appears to be an unstoppable band-wagon in progress.

Occasionally these are valid products, but most times they are either complete scams or rubbish products dressed up.

The latest, suddenly everywhere product is ZDOROV cream (although it has been available for some time)

Floods of spam emails proclaim its the simple way to prevent ageing and get rid of wrinkles. A pretty picture in the advert does a good job on the Marketing and the price is marked as reduced from £130 to £39 or from 130 Euros down to £39 Euros.

However, the emails come from intersport.biz.ua and alihost.co.ua and gazlife.biz.ua which are not what you would expect for a genuine pharmaceutical or cosmetic product. Plus the email addresses are rubbish such as imfivpd, obfyqip, ibhulpy, onyoplr etc.

There are numerous reviews on-line about ZDOROV but these seem to be written as sales pitches rather than an attempt at a genuine review.

The same product is sometimes advertised as a joint pain wax cream and sometimes as an arthritis cure.

Maybe the product works and maybe it doesn’t but always beware these magic new products as they tend to take a lot of money then disappear only to reappear in another guise some time later.

If you do wish to buy ZDOROV through a safe method – a local shop-or safe website. It used to be sold on Amazon but is out of stock indefinitely though it is still available on some health websites and on eBAY at about half the price of the email offers.

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Advert Blockers

Adverts are useful in that they fund services that we wouldn’t necessarily want to pay directly for but still benefit from.

e.g. Freeview TV, commercial radio, Channel 4 TV, free newspapers etc.

A typical newspaper, partially funded by advertising, would need to increase its cover price by 100% – 200% if advertising was stopped.

But, there are huge amounts of advertising that most of us wish didn’t exist.

In print, you can ignore the ads, on TV you can go make a cup of tea during the ad breaks or record the programmes and fast forward through the ads etc.

However, in some situations adverts are intrusive and cannot be so easily ignored.

There are many websites with adverts that don’t get in the way – so that’s fine, but there increasing numbers of websites where the ads are flashing, moving, popping up in the middle of the screen and sometimes so bad we can’t see the actual content we went to the page for in the first place.

Advert Blockers can make your life easier by blocking most of these adverts.

The most popular browsers have some features for blocking intrusive ads.

e.g. Google Chrome (settings – content settings) blocks pop-ups and ads from sites classified as intrusive.

Opera has a built-in ad-blocker.

Blocking adverts also blocks many tracking cookies, which protects your privacy as well.

The Most Popular Ad Blockers

Ghostery

Ghostery has been around for years and is available for Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Edge and Internet Explorer plus Android and iOS.

Firefox Focus

You can install any one of the many ad-blocking extensions on the desktop version of Firefox, but Mozilla has created a dedicated mobile browser for Android and iOS called Focus.

This is focused on privacy which means that, by default, it works like the private browsing mode on other browsers.

AdBlock

AdBlock is free, but it does ask for a donation on installation.

It blocks all ads on the web, including on Facebook, YouTube and other social sites.

You can also allow what AdBlock calls Acceptable Ads – similar to those ‘non-intrusive’ ads in AdBlock Plus.

There are lots of Ad Blockers on the market. See which one best suits your needs.

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Butlin’s Data Breach

Butlin’s – the holiday camps company has confirmed that the records of up to 34,000 guests have been accessed by hackers.

The stolen data does not include payment details, but does include customer names, holiday dates, postal and email addresses and telephone numbers.

The compromise is believed to have been caused by a phishing email.

Under the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), British companies must notify the Information Commissioner’s Office of any data breaches within 72 hours or face a fine. Butlin’s say they have done so.

The company said its own investigations have not found any fraudulent activity related to this event, but anyone whose records have been accessed by hackers needs to beware of calls, emails etc. from people claiming to be from Butlin’s and seeking more information

Butlin’s says it is contacting all those affected by the data breach.

If you believe your data may have been included in the hacked data then contact Butlin’s directly and be careful over any contact from Butlin’s – ensure they are genuine not scammers looking to trick you.

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Paypal Two Step Verification

Logins and passwords are normal practice to let a valid user identify themselves.

But there are times where this is not a strong enough security and two-factor security adds another layer, thereby making it much more difficult for anyone else to access your account.

Two factor security means that in addition to the password, another security code of some form is needed. In the case of PayPal, that second code is a pin number sent to your mobile phone.

For anyone to access your PayPal account they would need both your password and your mobile phone.

Two factor security is available on many online services and banks e.g. Facebook. Google, Apple etc. We’re using PayPal as an example.

How to Setup 2 Factor Security in PayPal

PayPal call this Security Key.

  1. Log into your PayPal account.
  2. If your mobile phone number has already been verified by PayPal then that step is complete, otherwise you will need to key in your mobile number and verify it for PayPal. This is done through the Account page off the Profile and Settings menu
  3. To activate PayPal Security Key go to Profile – Profile and Settings – Account Settings – Security and you can start the process.

Once completed, you will always need that phone when you want to access PayPal but you will be more secure.

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Chinese Spam Messages

You may receive emails in Chinese with a random sprinkling of long numbers, long number and letter combinations and occasional English words such as Instagram or Twitter.

Has the world switched to Chinese for international communication?

No.

These are typically spam messages, but often are selling the sort of services that spammers and scammers buy.

If interested, you can translate the messages easily online using Google translate or similar free service.

The messages contain offers such as “multi email content, multi email subject, random intelligent combination, staggered rotation of corporate email exchanges”.

This is offering services whereby the purchaser (scammer or spammer) provides a basic email message in a series of segments and the service ‘intelligently’ mixes up the segments per email message it sends out, uses a number of exchanges to send the messages, makes them look as if sent one at a time, changes the email title randomly and so on.  This is all designed to ensure the scammers or spammers messages get through to the unlucky recipients without being caught in spam filters by the recipients Internet provider or the recipients email service.

This is legal though clearly objectionable.

If you receive such email messages in Chinese – just delete them as they are spam.

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