CCS Commercial Crime Bureau (CCB), which carried out investigations with the support of the CCS Cybercrime Unit (CCU), reported that fraudsters had published fake European banking guarantees on at least 29 different websites to lure potential clients to invest in projects and finance schemes.
According to CCS, the web addresses gave the impression that the scam sites were run by either Euroclear Bank, the international clearing system for the settlement of transactions in securities and Eurobonds, or Bloomberg, the information services provider. Examples of these domain names are www.euroclear30.50megs.com and www.bloomberg.50megs.com.
“We were informed that advance fees of hundreds of thousands of dollars were paid for the issue of these fraudulent guarantees, and the websites were used to validate the documents,” explained Jon Merrett, Assistant Director of ICC’s Commercial Crime Bureau and Cybercrime Unit. “The amounts represented on the fraudulent sites ranged from 50 million to over 400 million dollars.”
In addition to being used to procure advance fees, reported Mr Merrett, these guarantees were to be used in bogus High Yield Investment Programs (HYIP) which promised high returns from low risk financial instrument trading.
Through the CCS member network, the bank guarantees were confirmed to be fraudulent, and Euroclear Bank and Bloomberg were alerted to the intellectual property breaches.
On behalf of all parties concerned, CCU coordinated the approach to the fraudster’s Internet Service Provider (ISP) who complied with their request to shut down the offending sites.
“By shutting down the fraudulent sites in cases like this, we are not only protecting investors from scams, but also helping companies such as Bloomberg to maintain their reputation,” said Mr Merrett. “The big risk is that these frauds could rock the trust that the banking, finance and insurance industries are built on.”
“We can monitor the Internet for any breaches of a company’s intellectual property, and work with the relevant bodies to eliminate any fraudulent hyperlinks or websites.”
CCS is running a residential course on cybercrime from 20 to 25 May 2001. By investigating case studies like the banking fraud announced today, course participants will learn how internet crime could affect their company, and which security measures to apply.
CCS has previously warned about this method of fraud on many occasions. The international Monetary Fund (IMF) and the US Securities Commission (SEC), the Federal Reserve Banks (FED) and Offices of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) have also published similar warnings.