Category: Fight Back

Website Review: Spamlaws

SPAMLAWS – HOW TO STOP SCAMS AND FRAUD (www.spamlaws.com)

SpamLaws say they are dedicated to providing accurate and up-to-date information on issues affecting Internet security. They aim to supply the readers with the best Internet protection information and are constantly striving to learn more about and report on the latest and most up-to-date Internet security issues, software, and protection.

They also investigate common Internet based scams and fraud issues.

Their approach to protecting your personal information is “Get informed”.

The “Spam Laws” section of SpamLaws.com was created by David E. Sorkin, a Law Professor at the Center for Information Technology and Privacy Law, at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago.

Professor Sorkin has written and lectured extensively about issues surrounding Internet policy, privacy and consumer protection.

The web site covers Identity Theft, Scams, Spam, Fraud, Antivirus, Spyware, Adware, Backup, Computer Virus & Worms, Wireless Security, Networking, Software Reviews, Phishing, Malware 101, Parental Control, Network Security, Operating Systems, Data Encryption, Browsers, Email Client Software and Password Protection.

The site has sections covering the United States, European Union and some mention of other countries, so you can see which laws are relevant in each jurisdiction.

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James Veitch The Scammer Teaser

James Veitch is a comedian who has a lucrative side-line in making videos of himself responding to scam messages.

He plays along with the scam and engages in ridiculous conversations until they eventually give up but that can take a while as these criminals are determined to part you from your money.

The videos are funny and have crazy graphics to keep you engaged and they work – millions of people watch them.

For example, James receives the message:-

“Hi Phil, my name is Andrew. I’m one of the tenants at 11 Dover Place. I’ve been told you the person to contact regarding upkeep, maintenance etc.”

James does reply and tell him he’s not the person but he refuses to accept that so James then strings him along.

The guy is complaining about the apartment being too hot and wants a thermostatic valve fitted.

James then replies that he cannot do that but he’s having his builder visit on Wednesday to remove one of the windows thereby solving the heating problem and the conversation continues with the guy increasingly worried that a window is to be removed.

It’s handy being a comedian and James has a lot of fun with this and the scammers who contact him but anyone can try this and enjoy wasting the scammer’s time.

James has a series of these videos called the scamalot series at the mashable website www.mashable.com and those plus more on YouTube. www.youtube.com.

Have fun watching and you will learn about scammer tactics and how to have fun baiting the scammers.

Have you tried teasing, provoking, annoying or otherwise wasting the time of these stupid scammers? If so, do let me know, by email.

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How to Identify a Suspect Photo

If you receive a photo from someone on a dating website or a Facebook friend request or a scam email etc. you might want to know whether the photo is of the sender or has just been copied off the Internet.

Fake photos are a common problem on dating websites, where, for male scammers photos of uniformed soldiers are often used. For female scammers, the use of photos of random hot women stolen from social media sites is very common.

Google has a reverse image lookup facility and it’s easy to use.

  1. Download a copy of the photo of the person on to your device if possible (or you can a URL pointing to the image)
  2. Go to Google Image search and select the camera icon
  3. Upload the photo or type in the URL for the image
  4. The result will be a list showing where the picture is on the Internet.

This cannot be guaranteed to give 100% accurate results, but it makes a good effort to match the image you supply.

If the scammer has chosen a popular photo from a popular website then Google is likely to find it but if someone is just using a picture of their neighbour for example then there’s little chance of finding it.

Just because Google cannot find the photo on the Internet does not prove it is a genuine photo of the sender.

The scammers that use fake pictures may well work for professional criminal organisations and treat it like an everyday job. So, confronting them is pointless, trying to talk out of such deceitful behaviour is a waste of time.

If you catch people cheating with photos then report them to the social media site concerned or the relevant dating site.

You may also choose to report them to the Police and tell the scammer you know they are fake.

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

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Binary Options Trader in Court

Binary options is a form of stock market trading where essentially you are betting will go up or down rather than on how much it will move.

That sounds straightforward and maybe a 50:50 chance of winning but in fact 80% of people who try lose their money.

Lee Elbaz, the former chief executive of a major binary options company, goes on trial today in the US charged with defrauding clients of nearly $150m.

Her role in the fraud was first exposed with the help of a whistleblower, in November 2016, and some of the evidence presented by that insider has been used to prepare the case against Ms Elbaz.

The binary options scandal was a high-tech variant of boiler room scams. The fraudsters would cold call potential investors in other countries and persuade them to put money on whether a share or commodity price would go up or down. Initially the investor would see their money growing in an account held by the company and be encouraged to invest more — sometimes hundreds of thousands of pounds. However, when they tried to withdraw the money the binary options company would prevaricate and then stop taking their calls.

Billions of dollars was stolen from consumers all over the world, including the UK and US.

Ms Elbaz, also known as Lena Green, was the chief executive of Yukom, a company that operated binary options trading platforms under trade names such as BigOption and BinaryBook. Her team modelled themselves on Jordan Belfort — the New York stockbroker and scammer who inspired the film The Wolf of Wall Street. Ms Elbaz even took the team to see Belfort when he visited Israel.

The US government alleges that from around May 2014 through to around June 2017, Ms Elbaz directed a scheme to defraud binary options investors by lying to them and misleading them about the nature of binary options trading. Ms Elbaz, an Israeli citizen, was arrested when she flew to New York in September 2017.

Before the exposure of the fraud, binary options companies were allowed to openly advertise in the UK. One, Banc de Binary, sponsored Liverpool and Southampton football clubs. It was later forced to pay up $11 million in fines in the US before being wound up. The Israeli government banned such companies operating from Israel in October 2017 and in 2018 European governments barred the operators from selling to their citizens.

Good riddance.

If you have any experiences with binary options or similar scams – do let me know, by email.

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The Romance Fraud Crusader

One year ago, Anna Rowe was a mother-of-two living in Rough Common working as a teaching assistant in a primary school.

Anna, was the victim of an online romance fraud known as a catfish scam and she lost her job at the primary school.

She had been duped by a high-flying London lawyer who misrepresented himself on dating app Tinder to engage with her and then start a passionate 14-month relationship.

Anna, who had been looking for love, thought she had met the man of her dreams. He turned out to be married and still living with his wife but had nevertheless managed to weave a complex web of lies and deceptions.

She decided she had to warn others and launched a campaign to outlaw catfishing, which is the name for someone who creates a fake persona to trap someone.

She believes It’s really important to do so because the effect on people can be devastating.

After Anna found out the truth of her lover’s identity, she wound up in counselling and her decision to go public cost her the job in Faversham.

The man who deceived her had initially used an image of Bollywood actor Saif Ali Khan as his profile picture before sending real ones to her. He called himself by a fake name, Antony Ray.

But when he stopped coming to see her, Anna needed to know why. With the help of a friend she discovered the awful truth and that she was not Antony’s only victim.

“He took advantage of my trust and took away my right to choose. Had I known, I would never have consented to a relationship with a married man, let alone a man who was actively having relations with multiple women simultaneously”.

“His behaviour was premeditated, yet the current law will not find his actions a criminal offence. That’s why I’m calling for creating fake profiles for the intent to use people for sex to be a crime.”

Anna has since spoken to politicians and police officers.

Her petition has received 43,500 signatures so far and has prompted a government Green Paper into catfish scams.

Anna’s story has been told around the globe. She has made TV and radio appearances and is determined to keep pressing on with the campaign.

Anna’s website is at https://catchthecatfish.com/

Good luck with your campaign, Anna

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

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Home Insulation Fraudster Jailed

Home insulation fraudster Adam Roberts targeted pensioners to fund his extravagant lifestyle, which included a £90,000 Aston Martin and a Rolex watch.

Adam Roberts ran a fraudulent business selling home insulation to pensioners at hugely inflated prices and has now been jailed for three years.

He charged pensioners in Surrey , Hampshire, Dorset and Devon ludicrous prices for home insulation while falsely claiming it would save them money on their council tax and energy bills.

In many cases, victims had recently had their homes insulated under a government scheme, meaning the work was also unnecessary.

Judge Rufus Talyor said: “It seems clear to me that there was an effort to target the elderly and vulnerable,” mentioning the victims were all aged 65 or older and some had serious health problems including blindness and memory difficulties.

Adam Roberts’ business  Eco Energy Advice Ltd (EEA), traded for just one year between 2015 and 2016, making £1.5 million, although not all of its income was the result of misleading sales techniques.

During that time, Roberts described himself as the CEO or “the King”, despite being subject to a bankruptcy order prohibiting him from operating a business. He circumvented this order by having his sister, Laura Oxley, act as EEA’s only named director.

Judge Taylor said EEA had operated “almost like a boiler room”, with numerous telesales agents cold calling pensioners and saying “almost anything to get someone through the door”.

Field sales agents would then visit customers to sign them up to the scheme, telling them their insulation was dangerous or out of date, even when perfectly serviceable, and promising fictitious discounts or council tax rebates to pressure them into signing up.

A reputable company will never ask you to agree straight away to work. If you have been subjected to heavy handed sales resulting in undue pressure or unfair pricing, then do report them to Trading Standards.

 If you have any experiences with this kind of scammer, do let me know, by email.

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