Scammers are Organised, Persistent and Digital

On seeing what looked like a factual internet reporting on Jeremy Clarkson on Day Time TV making money investing in a company using algorithms, a colleague and I agreed to go 50/50 on the €250 initial minimum investment.

After filling in the questionnaire, the scammers called me on the number below and took the €250 fee. Upon re-calling the number was told it was not operational.

• Telephone number 01416486283, used in a fake Jeremy Clarkson get rich scheme interview report on day time TV – called got an auto reply “this number is not operational”

• This is common feature in scams. I have since been called numerous times from overseas numbers, that are not operational.

I called my Halifax MasterCard fraud team who were superb. They explained I had to cancel my card immediately as the international payment would be process that evening. I did this immediately and the new card arrived within days.

Since then I have received over 60 emails from 9 different names all are positive and all with extra ordinary claims, for example make 12 times your money in four weeks.

Further emails suggested the initial email had been faked and a new website should be used. FCA, on their website, warned that both these companies were unlawful clones! Both websites used the same lion image. Lions seem to represent strengthen and safety as they were portrayed by Stratton Oakmont Company in The Wolf of Wall Street. A film engaged with corruption and fraud.

We are seeing organised, sophisticated scamming against a back drop of the social norm surrounding money that says ‘best not talk about it – too gauche’. Being uncomfortable with discussing money and being embarrassed by being scammed could explain why 43% victims do not report losing the money through digital deceit.

Some of the emails received suggest that my details have been passed on to fellow scammers. While their goals were the same, to take my money, they had different approaches and methods. From a business strategy, they were sweating the assets even though the assets, personal data was obtained falsely.

As to getting organised against this new digital adoption by fraudsters, there needs to be a more user-friendly interactive protection available across society and industry. In this case it would be prudent and one step ahead for the FCA to announce recommendations to Companies House and media platforms websites immediately.

The telephone companies or FinTech should be able to show the status of the incoming call to give greater confidence in picking up the phone. The older generation regard an incoming call as important and must be answered forthwith. Unfortunately this is the generation that is the most vulnerable for two reasons: they are aging and have money. (1 in 7 over 60 in the UK have a second home).

My colleague asked me the other day “are you sure this was an attempted fraud as there been no mention of it in the media”. Well only a tiny minority of the millions of attempted and thousands of successfully scams make it into the media. There is an abundance of digital fraud happening at this time and only those scams that are morally shocking and/or massive get the attention.

The money today moves in seconds so, similar to the Banks KYC, you need to know your Payee. To do so request the Payee’s name, telephone number, email and address. Once collected verify the information before sending any monies.

The scammers use the same banking and payment systems and they will move your money to another bank account instantly.

By responding quickly first by calling the payee telephone number back and then calling Halifax MasterCard saved us €250.

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