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December 9th, 2011


11:38 am - Punto Tech Scam?
Oh look, here is another job offer from a company called Punto Tech Inc. Apparently.
FFC needed - 1800 GBP/month

Greetings Mr [REDACTED]
Are you responsible? Dedicated? Ambitious?
Are you looking for...
Great Earnings? 
Health Benefits for you and your family?
Reliability?
Flexible schedule?
Then look no further, with this great new proposition. 
Home-based positions with short hours and great pay are now available. 
If you are interested in this job offer, or would like to learn more, please forward your updated contact information to: job.puntotechinc@gmail.com.
To expedite the screening process, please fill in the required information below:
=======================FORM======================
Forename:
Surname:
Country of residence:
Contact phone:
Preferred call time:
=======================FORM======================
Best regards,
Kimberly Lewis

So where do we start with this? The first thing to notice is that the email address given is a Gmail account address. This should send alarm bells ringing. No reputable firm of any size use free email accounts like Gmail, Hotmail and so on.  

To the uninitiated, they want someone with a bank account (account B) to receive funds from account A, take a 10 % commission for yourself and forward the rest to account C. Why don't they just cut out the middle man? The middle man (you) is vital for them here because they want a layer of protection from law enforcement agencies because this is a money laundering operation. Then the law finds out, it's you who will get in trouble, not them. This is what the FFC is, Financial Forwarding Coordinator.

A Google search revealed this page detailing the scam. 
If anyone gets a similar email with a link to their website (comes nowhere on a Google search as usual) then a whois enquiry will reveal that the registrant is  Punto Tech Group Ltd, Beverly Bother (surely a made up name?) 2147 American Drive, St Marks, FL, 32355. I'm no expert on USA geography, but I can't find this address in Google maps at all. It's as if it doesn't exist!

On the website itself, It has a contact address of 35 Victoria Street, Bristol, BS1 6NP. A rudimentary postcode search reveals that this is also a fake address, a cut and shunt address, if you like. BS1 6NP corresponds to a different street address, while 35 Victoria Street corresponds to a different postcode.

The phone number they provide does not belong to them and the fax number 0872 352 1045 (a non-geographic code for a fax machine?) is associated with other scams.

So there you are. Two fake job offers in a week. I should point out, just like in the previous blog post, any organisations or companies with similar names are not involved in this scam. I am aware of a Spanish site at puntotech.com, which sell personal audio, hifi and computer stuff. They are not involved in this scam. Their name is being used fraudulently. And again, I wonder what sort of background checks that webspace providers do? It took me ten minutes to determine that the address in the whois entry is fake, just by using Google maps alone. Did they not think of doing this?

(7 comments | Leave a comment)

December 7th, 2011


11:40 am - Financial Consultation Center Scam
I got an email from a potential employer the other day.

Here it is in full.



Dear, Mr [REDACTED]:

Financial Consultation Center FCC

We are looking for a candidate, vacancy for Finance Manager (No Experience Required).

Salary:
* FULL TIME: 22300 (Bonus, free training).
* PART-TIME: 17300 (Bonus, free training).

The ideal candidate:
* Ages 18+
* Speak english fluently
* Team work
* Attention to detail
* Ability to work under pressure

We offer:
* Good basic salary
* Absolutely free training
* Absolutely free personal trainer support

Email back and We will send you an email with information on how to continue.

HR Manager
Doris D. Ryan
Financial Consultation Center FCC



I believe this to be some sort of scam. I'm guessing money laundering possibly but they may also be phishing for personal details for use in fraud.

The first clue is the appalling grammar. That speaks for itself.

The second is the general lack of professionalism in the email, like the bog standard phrase at the footer of any email like this, "Financial Consultation Centre FCC registered office ... authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority ... company registration number ... intended for the named recipient only ..." and so on.

The third clue is the name itself. Rather bland isn't it? Financial Consultation Center. It's as if Aviva called itself Insurance Provider Centre or if Premier Foods called itself Canned Food Manufacturing Concern.

A fourth clue is on the website itself. It does look very professional, 10 out of 10 for effort but there is one small mistake at the bottom. It's the blurb I told you about earlier (my emphasis).



Financial Consultation Center FCC registered office 8746 Henderson Road, Florida 33634, USA are authorized and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Company is registered in USA with company registration number 71231503



I didn't know that the Financial Services Authority extended its regulatory tentacles into the USA? Won't the Securities and Exchange Commission feel a bit left out?

On the front page, they have a little logo with a black spire on an orange background with the word 'International' splashed across it. This is a registered trademark. Of Southwest International Trucks. Thankyou tineye.com!

The website also claims that the company has been in operation since 1988, yet according to a whois enquiry, the website has only been in operation since 3rd December 2011 and will expire in exactly one year's time. Very odd. I have no doubt that the name Rebecca Hemphill is fake but the address given, PO Box 61359, is associated with other scams.

In the about section, they have a picture of their offices apparently at 8746 Henderson Road, Florida 33634, USA.




Looks posh don't it?

Unfortunately, Google maps says different.

What a dump!

Their press releases are also fake. Here is one from October 31, 2011 (my emphasis, once again).

Financial Consultation Center FCC ADDS RYAN DEWITTE AS DIRECTOR IN CHICAGO HEADQUARTERS OFFICE


And this is what prnewswire.com had to say on September 31, 2011; one month earlier.

CHICAGO, Sept. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Bridge Finance Group announced the appointment of Ryan DeWitte as Director in their Chicago headquarters office.


Let's have a look at another one from 17th November 2011.

Chicago based Financial Consultation Center FCC today announced it completed a capital raise in excess of $260 million of equity and debt for growth and expansion of its existing lines of business, as well as provide funds for prospective acquisitions.


And this is what a PRNewswire article said

CHICAGO, Nov. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Chicago based Bridge Finance Group today announced it completed a capital raise in excess of $260 million of equity and debt for growth and expansion of its existing lines of business, as well as provide funds for prospective acquisitions.


Here is another one from 2nd December 2011.

Bridge Business Bancorp ("BBB"), an operating division of Financial Consultation Center FCC...


But according to Bloomberg Businessweek

Bridge Business Bancorp, LLC is a subsidiary of Bridge Finance Group, LLC.


These so called press releases always seem to be about a month behind the real ones anyone can find from financial pages. Isn't the whole point of a press release that it is to distribute the story to newswires and then the press picks it up and publishes the story, not the other way round?

I could go on, but I had better keep this short. And of course, this outfit should not be confused with any other legitimate business or organisation with similar or, indeed, identical names.

It is unfortunate that fcccenter.net and Financial Consultation Center do not rank very highly (if at all) in a Google search, so I think they need to improve their search engine optimisation. This is a dead giveaway that something is not quite right.
But Doris D. Ryan shows up in a Google search. The top entry is from iowagravestones.org.

A job offer from beyond the grave! RIP Doris!

UPDATE: Before Yahoo! start litigation proceedings, I wish to point out that the PO Box address written about earlier actually belongs to Yahoo! and used with some Yahoo! hosted websites. Most I'm sure are quite legitimate, but it's a pity that Yahoo! also host these phishing sites. Do they not do basic background checks?

UPDATE: I have been searching around the net and there are several of these from the same people. I know this because the websites are exactly the same. These are MFI Consulting Corporation, AME Advisors, Global Financial Investment Center, Waker Financial Group, DSN Capital Partners, Lennox Assistance LLP, Cimarron Corporation Inc and VRS Funding Corp.

UPDATE: This post seems to be attracting a lot of visitors who may be concerned that they have been trapped by this scam. There are several things you can do:

Make sure you have print outs of the emails sent and received.
Inform your bank/building society of the situation.
Report it to Action Fraud at http://www.actionfraud.org.uk/report_fraud
If you are still unsure of what to do, your local Citizens' Advice Bureau will be able to help.

(11 comments | Leave a comment)

December 4th, 2011


12:55 pm - That joke isn't funny anymore
Paul Chambers was convicted for a joke about bombing an airport.

A couple of young people on Facebook were convicted for planning to loot a shop they never intended to loot in the first place.

Last week, a comedian on the BBC made a joke about his impatience of waiting for Lady Thatcher to die. The press called for him to be sacked and asked why the BBC pays him to say such things.

This week a certain petrol head makes a joke about killing public sector workers. He faces no consequences. He has received plenty of support from the press and his friends in high places.

Maybe the voice of reason that is Stewart Lee can explain this wierd and sickening dichotomy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgABbHPdwH4

(Leave a comment)

November 26th, 2011


03:17 pm - Lorem Ipsum
This Livejournal entry is fake. It doesn't exist. It has no original content to speak of, neither does it have any thoughts, ideas or opinions. It is blank, void, null, bare, barren, unfilled, vacuous, empty, vacant.

It, however, has one purpose; to attract manual spammers. We all know about spambots and their viagra hawking ways, but these can easily be filtered out. It is the manual spammers, real people paid to place comments on journals like this, tempting the commentee to click a link to some viagra dealer, or something, that are becoming a menace. As nice as "Good article, this is helpful for my college project" is, it is obvious that is is a generic out of context comment designed purely to tempt me to buy viagra. It is not just viagra, it is also cialis and sildenafil.

I need a list of these manual spammers so I can train the LJ spam filter.

I may also publish here a list of suspected spammers so they will be anihilated by the positive feedback loop that will surely ensue.

I am using this entry as bait, so I will need a few keywords here.

paris hilton sex tape starring david cameron obama pippa bottom live on bbc news and youtube

If that don't catch 'em, nothing will.

(Leave a comment)

October 31st, 2011


12:33 pm - Apologies to M L King
Female members of the Royal Family are to be given equal rights of succession. Oh whoopie doo!

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We will sell to no man, we will not deny or defer to any man either Justice or Right."

I have a dream that one day on the race course at Ascot, the sons of former Royal Family members and the sons of former serfs will be able to sit down together in the corporate hospitality box sipping Champagne.

I have a dream that one day even the town of Sandringham, a town sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their tracksuit bottoms but by the content of their wallets.

I have a dream today!

(Leave a comment)

August 17th, 2011


02:28 pm - I feel an advert coming on...
Need to wash your clothes but can't be doing with the electricity bill generated by powering a washing machine?

Well, you need the new K-Tel wash-o-matic!

The best thing about the K-Tel wash-o-matic is that it's free! All you need is a pair of hands, hot water, soap and large container (like your step-in bath).

An old Fridgidare spin dryer will also help.

Using the patent pending "washing" process, your clothes will be clean as the day you first bought them*.

Say goodbye to loading the washing machine misery and finding change for the laundrette mayhem.

Get the new K-Tel wash-o-matic today!

* Your mileage may vary, always read the label.

(Leave a comment)

July 8th, 2011


04:03 pm - The NOTW has gone to a farm in Wales...
And the award for best newspaper headline goes to

*rummages around in gold envelope*

two joint winners The Mirror and The Times, with

HACKED TO DEATH

*fanfare*

(Leave a comment)

June 28th, 2011


06:35 pm - A few hints for the budding quizmaster
Make sure your microphone is at a sufficient distance away from the PA system's loudspeakers so as to prevent feedback.

Number the questions as you read them out.

Repeat each question at least once and leave a sufficient gap between each.

Don't officiate the proceedings like a third rate holiday rep at Butlin's.

A quiz night is best started before everyone has had a few drinks, not after.

(Leave a comment)

May 14th, 2011


08:51 pm - Writer's Block: Tobacco road
Would you want your city to outlaw smoking on public streets? Why or why not?

The Ulster Unionist in me (he's very small but also very loud) tells me this. "THIS IS THE QUEEN'S HIGHWAY AND I'LL SMOKE WHEREVER AND WHENEVER I LIKE!"

(Leave a comment)

08:49 pm - The end of the world is nigh... again.
Let me introduce you to Harold Camping. Possibly not the subject of the R.E.M. song 'Voice of Harold', although he may as well be because of the religious overtones. He is a broadcaster and charman of Family Radio, which is a radio station based in the US whose output can only be described as christian doomsaying on crack.

He has predicted an exact date of the end-time as 21st May this year. The Mayans must be pretty pissed off that he has stolen their thunder. Harold himself rubbishes the Mayans' prediction as false, yet he makes his own creaky predictions based on some form of numerology. I wonder if the black hole created by this irony vortex is enough to finish us off. Probably not, because one didn't wipe us out in 1994, the last time he made such a prediction.

What I don't get is that why are Harold, the Mayans, that mad bloke who lives down the road who rides around in a shopping trolley telling anyone who cares to listen that he is the rightful owner of the Tesco empire, and any other merchants of doom so bloody optimistic. Distilled down, life is essentially a never-ending daily drudge of mind numming sameness where everyone makes the same mistakes as those before us and those after us will probably do the same. What makes them think this is going to end any time soon?

Of course, everyone knows that the real doomsday date is 19th January 2038. I for one will be tucked up in bed with a mug of coco in one hand and a brass in the other. Now where did I put those share certificates?

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