Category: Fight Back

Legal Path to Recover Stolen Money

This is a series of steps for attempting to recover money stolen by fraudsters.

 

It has been created by Barrister  Gideon Roseman following his skirmish with fraudsters. You can read about that at

https://fightback.ninja/amateur-detective-recovers-stolen-money/

  1. Immediately phone your bank and ask to speak with the fraud team

Explain what has happened and demand they immediately contact the fraudster’s bank, i.e.  the bank you transferred your money to.

  1. Immediately contact a solicitor or barrister who can accept instructions directly from members of the public (or alternatively you can attempt to do this yourself). Ask them to immediately make an application to freeze the fraudster’s bank account and any other bank account that the fraudster has with their bank. The application should include a request for an order that the fraudster’s bank provides the following information:
  • all contact details (mobile phone, home phone, email address, residential address etc.) for all signatories to the fraudster’s bank account and any other bank account held in the fraudster’s name or any other signatory to this bank account that is held at the bank
  • all bank statements for the fraudster’s bank account and any other bank account to which the fraudster or any other signatory has with the bank in question for a period of 6 months; and
  • the current balance of all bank accounts with the bank that is in the fraudster’s or any other signatory’s name.
  1. Once you get hold of the court order, this will need to be immediately emailed to the fraudster’s banks’ ‘court orders’ team who can process it. You can ask your bank for this email address.
  2. As soon as you receive the information from the fraudster’s bank, consider the following points:

(i) has your money been transferred or paid to any recognisable company you can contact, such as a known retailer

(ii) if you can identify a company that has received your money, you can then contact this company, explain what has happened and request they either cancel the transaction made by the fraudster or request them to hold onto the money they have received and

(iii) has the money been transferred to other bank accounts.

  1. If your money has been transferred out of the fraudster’s bank account and into another bank account, you have the option of returning to court and making an application for the information set out above and repeating the process set out above.
  2. When you have received the fraudster’s bank account statements, try to work out the dates and times of the transfers out of their accounts. Your bank will be under a duty to contact the fraudster’s bankers, who will then freeze the fraudster’s account.

If your bank has failed to act within a reasonable period of time after you have notified them of the fraud, which has enabled the fraudster to transfer your money without a trace, it is likely that your bank will have breached their duty and will have to compensate you.

Good luck.

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

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Research into Mass Marketing Fraud

There is a project led by Professor Monica Whitty of the University of Warwick and it involves a number of Universities, enforcement agencies and private sector businesses.

DAPM (Detecting and Preventing Mass Marketing Fraud).

Project Outline:

The DAPM (Detecting and Preventing Mass Marketing Fraud) project will develop novel techniques to detect and prevent online mass marketing fraud (MMF), a major and growing problem that generates significant social anxiety and psychological impact. DAPM will establish new foundations for:

  • Detecting assumed identities and persuasive messaging used by fraudsters
  • Delivering much needed insights into the psychological and technical factors that lead to poor decision-making on the part of existing and prospective victims of such frauds

Through a multi-disciplinary approach and close focus on co-designing solutions collaboratively and testing them ‘in the wild’, the project will generate not only new scientific understanding of the anatomy of MMF, but also tools and techniques that can form the basis of practical interventions in tackling such fraud.

Importantly, this work brings together academic and non-academic partners. Each organisation has different knowledge to share and can tackle the problem using different methods. Combining academic research with technical knowledge provides much greater capability to prevent and detect MMF.

The outcomes of this project will enable:

  • Increased trust in the digital economy by citizens due to developed science around MMF detection and prevention
  • Improvements in public safety and fewer victims of MMF crime.
  • Changes in industry tactics and public policy around detection and prevention of MMF

Background

Mass Marketing Fraud is a serious, complex and organised crime. Examples include foreign lotteries, advanced-fee scams and romance scams. Some are low value, one-off scams involving large numbers of victims; others involve developing a relationship where money is defrauded over time. The internet has opened up a vast array of opportunities for criminals to target potential victims and to trick people into making financial transfers in the name of charity, investment or love.

In the UK Action Fraud estimate that less than 10% of victims actually report this type of crime. Victims are unlikely to recover losses, offenders are often not caught and many victims are affected psychologically – often to a degree outweighing the financial loss.

Go to https://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/wmg/research/digital/csc/dapm

for further information.

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Amateur Detective Recovers Scammed Money

Gideon Roseman was scammed out of a lot of money. He had builders working on his home and fraudsters hacked in to the builder’s email system. They sent a message to Roseman purporting to the builder asking for a down payment to start work. Roseman paid £20,400 to what he though was the account of his builder.

The next day his wife Esther found an email from the builder warning his customers that his email had been hacked and Roseman realised his payment had gone to the hackers.

The builder had checked his emails and found messages to a number of customers demanding payment to a bank account he did not recognise.

Roseman said  “I wasn’t filled with optimism when I spoke to my bank, so I felt as though the only way I would get my money back is to take things into my own hands.”. He is a barrister so had a head start over most of us in dealing with the legal system.

He travelled to London to the High Court to apply for the fraudster’s bank account to be frozen.

The judge agreed it appeared he had been the victim of fraud and granted the order.

Mr Roseman then contacted Santander’s court orders department and it froze the account.

He soon received another email from the fraudster asking for more money to “cover the VAT” on the work.

Mr Roseman played along and managed to obtain the sort codes and details of another two accounts — one at Barclays and another at Santander.

He then returned to the High Court to get these accounts frozen and the judge again approved his application.

The court ordered Barclays and Santander to release all contact details and bank statements for the frozen accounts and using these, Mr Roseman tracked down £5,655 in several Santander accounts connected to the fraudster and the bank agreed to return the money.

He also noticed the scammer had transferred around £5,000 to a haulage firm, which repaid his money when requested.

The bank accounts also revealed £9,150 was transferred out of the fraudster’s account more than 24 hours after Mr Roseman first reported the incident to Barclays.

Barclays denied any delay but later agreed to pay the remaining £9,150.

It added £200 compensation. This left £395 outstanding, which the builder took off his bill.

Mr Roseman said “Hopefully, I’ve shown that despite what the banks might say, it is possible to track down cash after it’s disappeared and get the money back.”

“My advice to scam victims is to act immediately. Call your bank, gather evidence and instruct a solicitor to get to court as quickly as you can to freeze the accounts.”

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Bob Servant Fighting Scammers

Bob Servant likes dealing with scammers – and playing them at their own game.

The book “Delete This at Your Peril” gives eight of his best dialogues with scammers and they are very funny.

This is the story of Peter’s Pots by Bob Servant.

A typical scam email arrived.

“Dear Beloved,

I have a job offer for you. My name is Peter Anderson and I work with Union Ventures Inc . Ltd. We extract raw materials from Africa for clients in America and Canada.

We are looking for a representative in America to work for us part-time and are willing to pay you 10% for every transaction. These payments would come to you in your name. You cash it, deduct your payment and send the rest to us via Western Union.“

Bob replies: This sounds very interesting indeed. Can you tell me more about the raw materials you trade in as  my friend Frank Theplank is also a trader in raw materials.

Peter:  Union Ventures is number one registered company in West Africa that deals on all kinds of raw materials.

Bob: Frank asked me if you deal in rubber, timber or china pots?

Peter: Yes we deal in rubber, timber and china pots and can do discounts for your friend.

[lots more emails about various products, nights out, freezing weather, favourites foods etc. – all very silly, but the scammer doesn’t seem to notice]

Bob: Frank needs 2,000 pots for the end of the month for a major reworking of Dawson Park. It’s going to be “Frank’s World of Pots”.

Then a long description of Frank’s World of Pots – with lots of very silly features.

Peter agrees to provide the pots quickly and wants a $10,000 deposit.

Bob: The 2,000 pots are to be filled with different things. Some with plants but also surprises like chocolate bars, yo-yos, magazines and Chinese food.

Peter: I think what you and Frank are to do will be a great success and I am glad Union Ventures will be part of this. The order will only take us a week and we will have the entire factory working on it. You must pay the $10,000 through Western Union so we can start on the work.

Bob:  Frank just called me from the dog track to say I have to make sure the pots are suitable for people to put their hands in without risking the hand getting stuck. This must include motorbike riders who haven’t taken their gloves off.

Peter keeps insisting on the payment by Western Union and Bob agrees but then invites Peter to come over with the delivery of pots and stay at his house.

This exchange goes on for weeks until eventually Peter makes an ultimatum and the game is over.

Bob’s website is at http://www.bobservant.com/

Do you have an opinion on this matter? Please comment in the box below.

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Spamnesty Sharon

Spamnesty at https://spa.mnesty.com/ is a website for creating automated responses to scam and spam messages.

Below is a summary of one such thread of messages generated by spamnesty and the scammer’s replies.

The original scam message is a typical 419 scam – the sender offers the contents of a bank account belonging to someone known to the recipient and there is an odd story about why the recipient is the only who can get the money before the bank shuts down the account. That message is in German.

Spamnesty replies with a computer generated random response

‘Hello,
I talked to my colleagues about this but they seemed to have some apprehensions; namely, they’re worried that the offer isn’t fleshed out enough. Would you be able to go into more detail about exactly how this would be structured?’

As that reply is in English, the scammer switches to English as well.

‘aloha

what is your age?

Where do U now?

I need to consummate talks

I am alone chief 31 y.o. Lady born in Russia’

A strange response by the scammer who seems to have moved onto a romance scam instead of the 419 scam.

Scamnesty replies

‘Hello,
We need more details from you. My colleagues are worried that the offer isn’t fleshed out enough. Could you explain more about exactly how this would be structured?’

Next the scammer switches back to pages of details about the supposed fortune left in a bank account and offers to split the fortune 50:50.

Scamnesty sends a reply

‘Hi, Great, thanks. Could we have a short call to discuss the specifics? What are your contact details? Also, what is your pricing model like?’

The scammer seems to be confused again and sends another strange romance message with excerpts in French this time

‘Bonzur My:-) Let’s smooth small talk!
could we speak?
Where do You stay now?’

Another reply from Scamnesty and the scammer changes to German, then Russian and then Ukrainian and changes tack to offering website design services.

All very confusing, but it was Scamnesty that wasted the scammers time and the scammer got nothing from the exchanges.

Well done Spamnesty

If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.

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