Category: Fraud

Instant Company Rebadged Product

This is about how companies can suddenly appear and have new “fantastic” products at bargain prices.

In the UK as long as you haven’t been banned as a director then it’s an easy, cheap and quick process to register a new company. In some countries it’s even easier and people can churn out new companies as fast as they want.

Making a New Product

Inventors and designers may spend years perfecting their product, but the simple approach is to find a product that already exists, rebadge it in some way – maybe just a different colour scheme. Then you give it a new name and that’s your new product. There are patent protection laws to prevent this but scammers operate quickly and aim to have disappeared before the law catches up with them.

Lots of companies (mostly in China) will manufacture anything you want at very low prices. If it’s an item they already make and you just want a different colour or a version with your logo on – no problem.

Then comes the Marketing. Modern Marketing through email lists, social media etc. can be cheap and quick.

The Reality

The method described above is very simplified of course and it’s not really this simple, but for people who do this regularly it is quick and easy.

Here’s an example.

An email arrived titled ‘Cleaning Scrubber Works for Arthritis”

Then a sales pitch for the Hurricane Spin Scrubber.

It’s a rechargeable device with a rotating head designed to make cleaning bathroom surfaces quicker and with less effort. It comes with an extending arm so the user doesn’t have to bend down – hence the claim that it helps arthritis sufferers.

Sounds good.

Strangely the email is from although this product cannot be considered to be an aid for people with diabetes.

Following up on this shows that the product is real and does work. However, customers complain about faulty items, the difficulty of getting any money back and terrible customer service. The product itself is very cheaply made and generally not very good. The company selling this product only came into existence months ago and if the pattern is followed then is likely to disappear fairly soon, to be replaced by another similar company with a slightly modified version of the device. Then the process starts again.

Buying this kind of product may be right for you, but be aware that if there are problems – you may wish you’d invested in a reputable make with good customer service.

If you’ve purchased this kind of instant product or dealt with such companies – do let me know by email.

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Lekoil Scammed

Lekoil is a  Nigerian oil company and their share price dropped 73% on the London Stock Exchange, on the announcement that it had been scammed to the tune of $184.

Lekoil needed a huge loan and was approached by Seawave Invest Limited acting on behalf of the Qatar Investment Authority.

Negotiations ensued and went on for months as executives sorted out the fine details of the loan, which was needed to pay for development of the Ogo field within Oil Prospecting Licence 310 in Nigeria.

Lekan Akinyanmi, the Lekoil chief executive led the negotiations for the company and in time a formal agreement was reached.

Control Risks, a consultancy headquartered in London, prepared a due diligence report that did not raise red flags. Analysts said the loan’s relatively low interest rate of 3.72 per cent should have raised suspicions.

Norton Rose Fulbright, an international law firm that has previously worked for Lekoil, provided legal advice on the deal.

Control Risks, a consultancy headquartered in London, prepared a due diligence report that did not raise red flags, the people said. Analysts said the loan’s relatively low interest rate of 3.72 per cent should have raised suspicions. Norton Rose and Control Risks declined to comment.

But it was all fake – the people claiming to be from the Qatar Investment Authority were criminals, who went to great lengths to appear genuine.

Lekoil was left desperately trying to find money or be forced to sell off assets.

OOPS. Better do better checks next time someone offers a huge loan.

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European Law Strong Authentication

In September 2019, the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2), specifically the requirement for Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) for remote payments came into effect.

These requirements will impact the way consumers in Europe access their Internet banking applications, pay for e-commerce purchases, and use new financial services provided through Open Banking.

The starting point for any financial transaction must be to establish the identity of the parties involved. In person, a valid ID card may be sufficient  and digitally, using a login and password is usually enough.

However, when interactions are happening remotely through multiple channels and multiple partners, there is often a need to use multiple factors of authentication e.g. a login and password plus a pin number.


PSD2 is increasing the security level for authentication to financial services across the whole of Europe, and is harmonizing the strength of authentication processes for financial applications. Because of PSD2, financial institutions have been phasing out weak authentication methods.

PSD2 ensures that advanced authentication concepts, such as dynamic linking, device binding for mobile apps, mobile application shielding and transaction risk analysis become standard security tools in financial services.

PSD2 is also accelerating the adoption of adaptive authentication methods, which adjust the way in which the user is authenticated to the risk of what the user wants to do.

Deadline for banks to implement SCA for Internet banking: 14 September 2019, except in the UK where the deadline is set as 14 March 2020

Deadline for banks to offer Open Banking interfaces: 14 September 2019

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The Mistaken Delivery Scam

A delivery arrives at your door – it’s a very expensive top of the range mobile phone.

You are surprised but not worried.

Then a courier arrives and tells you the package was delivered by mistake and he needs to return it.

Sounds reasonable and you hand over the package.

What has likely happened, is that a scammer has obtained your personal details and ordered the phone in your name and you have paid for it. Then they try to intercept the delivery before it gets to you but if they fail to do so then a fake courier turns up and asks for the package, supposedly to return it.

If you do receive a package with your name on that you didn’t order – check with the supplier whether it was ordered by you or someone else (possibly as a gift) and return the item to the supplier if it’s not for you.

You can also report this to the Police once you are certain it wasn’t ordered by someone you know.

To make this more complicated, if a scammer has opened an account in your name with your bank or credit card details then the supplier may not be legally allowed to tell you anything about the account – contact the Police.

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

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Fake Builders Stopped

Fake builders cheated an elderly widow out of £700 and damaged an honest small business when they hijacked its address and used it to front their scams.

Bridget Maendl, runs postal and print franchise Mail Boxes Etc in London Bridge and has had to spend hours defending her company and explaining to short-changed consumers she too had been a victim of the criminals.

A lady named Joyce answered the door to a “charmer” offering to paint her house and claiming to be from a company called Property Wise Ltd based at in Southwark.

Two men spent an hour “fiddling about” in Joyce’s home the next day, then left with the £700 cash they had asked her for, promising they would return the following week. Much to her distress they didn’t.

This is a typical scam perpetrated by fake builders.

The criminals in this case created a number of fake company names – Property Wise Ltd, Active Roofing & Building Ltd and Citywise Builders Ltd.

The there companies claimed to be registered at the MailBoxes address and were not correctly registered at Companies House.

Bridget Maendl followed Trading Standards’ guidance and alerted Companies House to the fake company names being used.

The case is ongoing.

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

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Facebook and Google Stopped $100 Million Fraud

A Lithuanian man, Evaldas Rimasauska, conned Google and Facebook into transferring over $100m into accounts he controlled.

He sent fake invoices to Google and Facebook between 2013 and 2015.

Mr Rimasauskas and his associates posed as Quanta Computer, a hardware company based in Taiwan that had done business with Facebook and Google.
M r Rimasauskas pleaded guilty to wire fraud in federal court in Manhattan, where Judge George B Daniels said the charge could carry as many as 30 years in prison and a fine up $1m or twice the crime’s proceeds.

In a statement, Geoffrey S Berman, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, said: “As Evaldas Rimasauskas admitted today, he devised a blatant scheme to fleece US companies out of $100m, and then siphoned those funds to bank accounts around the globe.”

Mr Rimasauskas was extradited from Lithuania to the United States in 2017.

In a court appearance, Mr Rimasauskas said that he had knowingly participated in fraud and that his role was to set up the bank accounts to facilitate the scheme, Bloomberg reported.

After money was wired from the tech companies to the bank accounts in Cyprus and Latvia, the Justice Department said in its statement, Mr Rimasauskas “caused the stolen funds to be quickly wired into different bank accounts in various locations throughout the world, including Latvia, Cyprus, Slovakia, Lithuania, Hungary, and Hong Kong.”

In emailed statements Sunday, Facebook said the company had “recovered the bulk of the funds shortly after the incident and has been cooperating with law enforcement in its investigation”.

Google said it had “detected this fraud and promptly alerted the authorities. We recouped the funds and we’re pleased this matter is resolved”.

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