5 June 2008

ULTRASCAN 419 UK SCAM ALERT (version 00.01)

(Includes countries: India, Pakistan, the US, Italy, Switzerland, Australia, The Netherlands, Spain and Cities: Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Norwich, Crawley Dundee and global)

11 % increase in scam activity from the UK in the first 5 months of 2008

The UK has become in the first 5 months, number one in Europe’s top three 419-Advance Fee-scam countries followed by Spain and the Netherlands.

Overall there is an 11% increase in scam activity FROM the UK and +3% TO the UK. It's obvious nothing is done against this type of 419 advance fee scammers in the UK, it seems that the UK is back to being the free haven for this type organized crime.

The 3% increase TO the UK is mainly because of increased activities from Ghana, China and KL Malaysia.

The main scam centre in the UK is London and the London greater area, but the increase in scammers and scam activities is spread all over the UK. Don't think there is no scammer in your city; the chances are high that you're mistaken and scammers are working from, for instance, the internet connection at your local library, scamming people in Australia or the US.

UK scam Cities
Recent scams operated from other cities then London are Lottery, Inheritance and money mule scams from Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Norwich, Crawley and Dundee.
For scams perpetrated from these cities, victims are reported from 69 countries but the following countries, show a significant rise: India (every day 7/7)), Pakistan, the US (every day 7/7), Italy, Switzerland and Australia.
(A -Money mule- is someone who allows his or her bank account to be used for the transfer of illegal funds for a small commission)

419 scams are perpetrated by independent groups of scammers, scam rings, which are connected to the larger organized crime via the internet and social organizations that include church parishes.

Alarming rise in UK scams and resident perpetrators
For 2007 we reported activities of 23 scam rings with 719 individual members identified. For the first 5 month in 2008 the rise in scams and scammers from the UK is alarming, we traced an additional 6 scam rings of which 4 belong to the, in Nigeria banned criminal organization, “National Organization of Seadogs” bringing the total of individual identified scam ring members to 809.
Estimating an additional 290 scammers, up from 2520 scammers in 2007 to 2810 scammers first half 2008 scammers active from the UK now.

These are numbers identified by Ultrascan and the estimates are low!

Every minute a victim
For 2007 we estimate about 3,5 million people in the UK considered one of these scams and about 520 thousand paid some sort of advance fee in 2007. Every minute 7 people in the UK are considering an advance fee fraud proposal and one pays some sort of fee. On average a victim pays more then once and falls for more types of AFF scams in his lifetime.

(Global) for 69 countries about 30 million, of the huge number of people that receive a scam proposal, consider it as a genuine proposal and about 3.8 million paid some sort of advance fees in 2007.

High-achieving professionals are frequently defrauded, contrary to the widely held belief that the poorly educated and financially desperate are most vulnerable.

Number of Fraud web sites - Stellar growth in 2008-
In 2007 the number of fake company and phishing websites that Ultrascan registered being connected to Nigerian 419 AFF, almost doubled from 23000 to 43618 on record.

From the 43618 fake company web sites that we registered 8521 were operated by scammers in the United Kingdom

At the end of 2007 about 1500 fake company websites registered every week. Of which 120 bogus financial services companies.

In 2008 the numbers of fraudulent websites is growing so fast that we can’t keep track. We estimate a minimum of 3000 new websites with the intent of fraud are registered every week.

There also is a significant trend for using domain names only for email services, and not publishing a fake web site at the domain but referring for information to the original real company web site. A published fake website can be removed because of its content, but who can check if E-mail to and from a domain are fraudulent, for that you need an official complaint.

The websites are registered with false or stolen ID. Credit card check is not enough.
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As always we find that the branches of the 419 problem keep growing if we do not attack its root by addressing the scammers in person and for that we need centralized reporting with experts that can dispatch analysed cases to local law enforcement. Cheap and effective!

419unit AT ultrascan.nl
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Ultrascan Advanced Global Investigations, a Netherlands - based association which has been studying 419 matters since the mid -1990's, has prepared a table quantifying 419 operations by country for 2007. These stats are based on Ultrascan's in-house investigations and include, by nation: number of 419 rings; number of 419ers; income of the 419ers (the amount of losses by victims to the 419ers); and additional data. Our view is that these stats present a reasonably conservative and realistic look at the extent and magnitude of 419 criminal operations worldwide.
Here is the link: http://www.ultrascan-agi.com/public_html/html/419_statistics.html
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