Scamwatch AU

  • 8/05/2010 02:10:00 am
  • By Mark Gibbings-Jones
  • 13 Comments

In news that will probably shock anyone who has ever met us, we’re actually not as stupid as we look. Not that this fact seems to have filtered through to the more inept internet scamsters, going by the increasing amount of emails we’re getting, all coated temptingly in fictional money. Quite often, they’ll be SO inept it’s actually funny, like this email we received earlier today.

spamfail Wow, we didn’t know British Telecom were now being run by rick-willey@sbcglobal.net! That’s a hostile takeover you’d have expected to have made the newspapers. Maybe Rick Willey is the name of the character played in the BT adverts by that bloke from My Family, and to make the corporate behemoth seem more cuddly, all business transactions are to be conducted via that email address. It all makes sense! We’re SO replying to him!

imageBut, things get even wilier. Tonight, we received an email purporting to be from “John Nguen” of “Ralf Financial Services Pty Ltd”. The text of this email is as follows:

image image So, it’s a scam about asking people to transfer money via their bank accounts. Quite why the money would need to sit in someone’s account isn’t really explained (especially with UK bank transfers taking a few days to process so that the banks themselves can play with it on the overnight money markets during that time), but whoever the person behind this scam is, they’ve made more effort than your common or garden internet scam artist. The email was sent from ‘job@ralfrecruiting.org’ – they’ve gone to the trouble of registering a domain name and everything (though the WHOIS record for “ralfrecruiting.org” doesn’t give any address), and trying to visit the website itself only results in a 403 error.

 

Interestingly, ‘Ralf Financial Services Pty Ltd’ does seem like it MIGHT be an actual company based in New South Wales. Here’s the entry for it at business.com.au, though that does seem to be the only record of this company on the entire web:

image And, indeed, it’s based in Randwick, NSW. But, the address given IS different to the address on the email. And looking at “13/4-6 Cowper St, Randwick” in Google Street View, what do we see?

image Looks like an apartment block, to us. Not to say businesses can’t operate from apartment blocks, of course. What about if we Google the address itself?

imageSeveral apartments in the same building are available for rent, and it’s pretty clear these are all residential, NOT commercial properties.  And, quite curiously for a company supposedly dealing in huge financial transfers, “Ralf Financial Services” don’t even seem to have a website. Or be mentioned on more than half a dozen websites, anywhere in the world.

So, how about the other address we have for the company, the one on the email, also in Randwick? (Which we’ll mention in text form here, in case other people are doing a search for the address: Ralf Financial Services Pty Ltd, 168 Carrington Rd, Randwick, NSW, 2031, Australia.)

image Hardly looks like a bustling financial powerhouse carrying out hundreds of international money transfers every day, does it? And what about that address of “168 Carrington Road” itself? Well, a quick Google reveals that it’s a place that has been made available to rent, and recently let to somebody:

image Nice place. If you’re going to prey on the vulnerable and needy, might as well do it in some comfortable environs, hey? And, a quick Google of the name “John Nguen” reveals Bob the Bear’s article on fraud carried out by a company calling themselves Abcat Finance, which contains similarly worded emails from their ‘staff manager’, a certain John Nguen.

Basically then, It’s yet another scam aimed at the impoverished and desperate, albeit one that had a little bit more token effort put into it than most. Hopefully, this post will serve as a bit of a warning to others. Be careful, folks! Don’t be the internet equivalent of Road Runner stopping to peck up an improbably positioned plate of Free Bird Seed. In real-life, those responsible for putting it there are seldom crushed by falling anvils. More’s the pity.

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