The Dangers of a Bad Pretext

The Daily Mail newspaper in the UK reports that the receptionist who was subjected to a pretext call by two Australian DJs may have committed suicide.

In the call at 5.30am on Tuesday impersonating the Queen, Miss Greig said: ‘Oh, hello there. Could I please speak to Kate please, my granddaughter?’

Thinking she was speaking to the Queen, the receptionist replied: ‘Oh yes, just hold on ma’am’.

She then put the presenters through to one of the nurses who was caring for the Duchess.

The nurse also believed she was speaking to the Queen and went on to make a number of deeply personal observations about Kate’s health.

This prank/pretext was bragged about by the two Australian DJs. This no doubt subjected the receptionist to a lot of ridicule.

The Australian DJs violated two of the three rules for doing pretext calls.

The three rules:

  1. Do not personate a living person.
  2. Do not personate a representative of any existing company (or business) or anything to do with government.
  3. Do not cause anybody to be concerned for their own safety or the wellbeing of any person, business, company, or property.

Taking the Offensive Against Craigslist Scammers from Online Doctorate Programs

It used to be that when looking through the local classifieds, we would need a magnifying glass to read the fine print of all of the offers, job postings, and personals. Now with the widespread use of Craigslist and the diminishing relevance of print media; everyone seems to be turning to Craigslist for their online classified needs. When I say that everyone is turning to Craigslist, I don’t just mean the innocent and affable local traders looking to promote small business; I mean international scammers and con-artists who prey on the gullible and ever-trusting.

Remember all of the reports on the news about Nigerian princes with extensive bank accounts. Poor grandmothers and unsuspecting marks across the Internet were duped into wiring money into an account in hopes of striking it rich.

While these types of attacks have decreased over the past couple of years, there are still people out there trying to fool you into wasting your money. They might not be as obvious as the Nigerian prince example, but the new breed of scammers seem to be incognito graduates of online doctorate programs in influence and manipulation.

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Mareva Injunctions

Named for Mareva Compania Naviera SA v International Bulkcarriers SA [1975] 2 Lloyd’s Rep 509, a Mareva Injunction is a court order which freezes assets so that a defendant cannot surreptitiously dissipate assets to prevent the enforcement of a judgment.

These injunctions are widely recognised in common law jurisdictions and such orders can have world-wide effect.  Similar provisions are now available in the rest of Europe, under Article 9(2) of the European Union Directive on the enforcement of intellectual property rights, which was approved in April 2004.

The injunction is often granted ex parte and pre-trial based on affidavit evidence alone.  A Norwich order sometimes precedes the Mareva Injunction.  A Mareva Injunction is often combined with an Anton Piller order. The combination of a Mareva Injunction and an Anton Pillar order can be devastating to a business or professional person by freezing assets and revealing proprietary processes and data to competitors. However, this does prevent a foreign company from removing its assets from the country before a trial can take place. Today’s telecommunications makes moving assets almost instantaneous. The Anton Pillar order prevents the destruction of evidence before trial.

Norwich Orders

Norwich Pharmacal Order

A Norwich order is a pre-action discovery mechanism.

In Norwich Pharmacal Co. v Customs and Excise Commissioners [1974] AC 133, the owner of a patent knew that infringing goods were entering the UK, but could not ascertain the identity of the goods. The Commissioners, in the course of performing their duties, had information that would identify the imports.  Also, they had unknowingly played a part in facilitating importation of infringing goods. The House of Lords found that where a third party had become involved in unlawful conduct, they were under a duty to assist the person suffering damage by giving them full information and disclosing the identity of wrongdoers. If the third party bears expense in assisting compliance with an order, the person seeking assistance is bound to reimburse those expenses. That expense however would be reflected in an award of damages against the ultimate tort-feasors, and this be recovered after the final hearing.

Canada and the Norwich Order

The Court in Isofoton S.A. v. Toronto Dominion Bank, outlined five elements that a court should consider before granting a Norwich order.

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Due Diligence Failure

Salman Farooq Sheikh, had been the Tory candidate in the Pickering-Scarborough East riding until just before he was arrested on 14 charges in cases of identity theft, credit-card fraud, stolen and forged cheques, and fraud related to mortgages obtained in people’s names without their knowledge.

From media reports his entire background was a sham that would have been apparent had a proper due diligence process existed in the Tory party.

How NOT to get Conned

Victims believe what they are told when someone says that a high rate of return is guaranteed. They don’t understand that a high rate of return equals a high risk.

Victims believe someone they know and trust. Familiar and trusted people are better able to victimize through their own ignorance or stupidity, or through concealed malice. Never let down your guard against this menace.

The victim thinks laws, regulators, and other government mechanisms will protect them. Nobody gives a damn about the individual victim. Educate yourself. If you don’t understand the investment, then don’t give them your money.

Victims don’t check the background of the people involved. Don’t give your money to people without the appropriate education and employment history. Don’t give your money to people with a history of bankruptcy, law suits, criminal prosecutions, and name changes.

Only in the U.S. — Pity

The Identity Theft Evidence Trail

In June 2004, the Cantwell/Enzi amendment of a federal bill called FACTA finally permitted ALL identity theft victims access to the credit applications and the transaction records in accounts opened fraudulently in their names. The reality is that once an account has been identified as fraudulent, the credit issuer must provide application and transaction information to you and to the designated police, as long as you send a police report with your request. That law is FCRA section 609(e).”

A Hacker’s Tale

A long but interesting article about Albert Gonzalez, the convicted hacker, in The New York Times Magazine.

After being caught due to the chance observations of a N.Y.P.D. Detective he worked by day for the U.S. Secret Service then went home and enriched himself using information from Secret Service investigations. He used information from government investigations to betray and set-up other hackers, all the while pocketing the money the other hackers paid him for credit card data.

The Secret Service let the fox into the hen-house for sure.

A very interesting read.

Fraud Not Important Enough to Prosecute In Ontario

Reading the following article makes me wonder what happened to Canada when the Crown refuses to prosecute Tzvi Erez for a $27 million Dollar Ponzi scheme. Ontario Attorney General Chris Bentley obviously doesn’t understand that incompetence is the worst form of corruption.

Accused Ponzi schemer won’t be prosecuted

According to a Sept. 30 memo written by Tencer’s lawyer, Lou Brzezinski, assistant Crown attorney Donna Gillespie told him the charges were dropped “because the courts were tied up with more serious criminal matters [such as rape and murder].”

Brzezinski, whose client invested more than $1.2 million with Erez, claimed Gillespie said that “court time and availability of judges were insufficient … and as a result, hard choices had to be made.”

The Crown also suggested another reason charges were withdrawn was because the victim should have known better.

Assistant Crown attorney Gillespie echoed that consideration when she appeared before court to have the charges withdrawn.

Craigslist Scam Fighting

Top Craigslist scams and how not to be bamboozled

Craigslist does offer very sensible advice on how to recognize and avoid scams. The problem is many victims apparently don’t heed the advice. Don’t want to become one of these poor schmucks. Then pay careful heed.

Exposing scam artists who use Craigslist

I created this blog site to expose the scam artists, crooks, and their tactics that prey on honest hard working people on craigslist. I encourage you to share your stories and experiences with other people so that we may better serve the craigslist community, by making it a safer place.

Fake Bank Record Scam

Ex-cop, wife accused of faking bank records

Police say duo reeled in clients by claiming ex-spouses, relatives stashed money offshore

Cullen Johnson was a top Toronto cop.

Elaine White was a dogged investigator at a downtown accounting firm.

Now the husband and wife team of private detectives are accused of forging and selling bank records that make clients believe an ex-spouse, friend or employee has millions of dollars stashed offshore…

This is a case where the victims should have known what was on offer was too good to be true.

Secret sources always introduce reliability problems into an investigation or research project.

For example, is the source lying; does the source even know what he’s talking about; is the information old; and is this a trick of some kind? Is the secret source doing something illegal to obtain the information? Is the data fabricated?

Open sources, on the other hand, can be fact-checked in real-time through multiple sources. Open sources can be properly identified and the collection method can be explained fully.

Twyman’s Law

Remember, Twyman’s Law states:

Any piece of data or evidence that looks interesting or unusual is probably wrong!

Ponzi Schemes

Ponzi schemes fall apart for two reasons. First, new investors disappear due to tight economic conditions and secondly, current investors want to withdraw their money  due to turmoil in the market. When this happens, the bottom falls out on these scams and there is no more money to pass on to the earlier investors. This leads to the crook grabbing whatever money was left before going on the lam.

Process Server Fraud Destroys Business

Process Server Falsifies Affidavits of Service

Angus McEachern, a former process server for Minnesota based Major Legal Professional Process Serving is now facing trial for perjury for creating nearly 200 false affidavits of service.

As a result of this case John Bauer, the owner of Major Legal and  a professional process server for almost twenty years, is now dissolving the business due to the complete destruction of his local reputation.  “The defendant had been fully trained in process serving, but simply made the decision not to do his job. He was lazy; that’s what it comes down to,” Bauer said.

In my experience, this is not an isolated incident — this is more common than you might think.