In 2020 Mr Jones – a retired lorry driver, aged 71 – was targeted by scammers claiming to represent an investment company that could help him make money to support his struggling son. When Mr Jones attempted to recover his money a year later he once again found himself at the hands of scammers, this time claiming to represent a fraud recovery company. Mr Jones’ name has been changed to protect his anonymity.
Loss 1: The Investment Scam
Looking for a way of generating money in retirement, Mr Jones looked online and came across a promising investment company ranking highly on Google. After filling in his details, he received a phone call from a person calling themselves “Patrick Webster” and claiming to be a management broker for the company.
Patrick told Mr Jones about an investment opportunity with a company called Stark Markets and explained how much money he stood to make from investing even a small amount.
The onboarding process came across as professional and legitimate, and Mr Jones was quickly convinced of their authenticity, due in part to the easy likeability of the account manager who appeared to be financially intelligent. The setup was done through a piece of software called Anydesk, which allows one person to access the computer of another person. More information on screen sharing scams.
The caller asked Mr Jones about his family, and, after finding out that he had a granddaughter called Emma, claimed his daughter was also called Emma.
These kinds of tactics help scammers quickly build up a rapport with their target, gaining trust and preying on the kindness of their victims.
Withdrawing Money from the Scam
After about a week of “trading” the scammer recommended that Mr Jones should make a withdrawal of some of his money. He took out £800 which helped to build confidence in the investment scheme. He was then persuaded to invest a further £3,000 the very same day.
Mr Jones made a total of 13 payments into the platform over a 2-month period, investing just short of £60,000.
When he later tried to make a withdrawal of his funds, he was given differing stories of how his account manager was on holiday and needed to be present, or how they believed the payment had already gone through and that they would look into the issue.
Mr Jones eventually spoke with a person claiming to be a “Rosa Kauffman” who would be able to help him close his account and withdraw his funds. Again, she did this through Anydesk, apparently closing all of his trades and claiming to send his money back.
After a week of waiting Mr Jones attempted to contact his account manager, however he was unable to do so. By this point, it had become evident that he had fallen victim to an elaborate scam.
Loss 2: The Recovery Scam
Around a year after losing money to the investment scam, Mr Jones was contacted out of the blue by a person calling themselves “Peter Bancroft” who claimed to work at a company called Fraud Recovery Global. He had essentially given up hope at this point as his bank had refused to help return the lost money. He believed that he had nothing to lose by working with them.
Again, the caller came across as very friendly, sociable and trustworthy, and advised that they had gathered Mr Jones’s email address from a list of people who had been scammed by Stark Markets.
They already knew Mr Jones’s name, email address and how much money he had invested and lost, lending credibility to their claim.
Having already been scammed once, Mr Jones looked online and found positive reviews for Fraud Recovery Global, along with claims that they were backed by another company. He was also reassured by the person calling themselves Peter Bancroft that he would have nothing to pay up front and would only pay once his money had been recovered.
In order to pursue his case Mr Jones was asked for a copy of his photo ID and signed a contract – all of which leant to the credibility of the company. Fraud Recovery Global told Mr Jones that they had recovered his money through the CySEC regulatory body in Cyprus. And that it had been sent to Coventry Global Bank.
Unfortunately, according to Fraud Recovery Global, in order to access this money, Mr Jones would need to pay an upfront fee in the form of cryptocurrency payments to access his money. Over the course of 2 months, he made 19 payments using Localbitcoin.com totalling £80,000.
Once all payments were made, Mr Jones was told that his money was on route to his bank account. A week later, after the payment had still not arrived in his account, Mr Jones visited his local bank branch to ask if he had any pending transactions.
The bank quickly confirmed that no payments were pending and warned that it was very likely that he had been scammed once again.
Getting Money Back from the Scam
After discovering the multi-part scam, Mr Jones’s bank washed its hands of the situation and refused to help, leaving him devastated and feeling as though he had nowhere left to turn.
Struggling to sleep for over a year, he found himself walking some 10 miles a day just to take his mind off of his circumstances and worry about spending even small amounts of money.
It was then that he reached out to CEL Solicitors for help and support. We listened to Mr Jones’s story and understood that it had not been his fault, that his bank had failed to protect him, and that we would work to get his money back.
We were successful in returning over £80,000 of Mr Jones’s lost money – helping to ease some of the financial worries he was suffering with on a daily basis.
Be Cautious of Fake Fraud Recovery Services
Elle Yates, a CEL Solicitors FOS Team Manager works to recover client funds and offers the following advice:
“Fraudsters will use any and every trick in the book to steal money from hardworking people, and this includes retargeting previous victims with new and even more cruel scams. We often see examples of fraudsters using the personal private and financial data they have stolen over the course of one scam to give authenticity to more elaborate and convincing scams months or even years later.
“This highlights how difficult it is to do your own research. Scammers will always find ways of passing under the radar, whether that means creating new scam businesses, changing the names of old ones or just plain lying to clients. The best advice is, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is – especially if they contact you out of the blue.
“As a fraud recovery firm, CEL Solicitors will never be the first the contact you without your explicit consent. If you have any doubt whatsoever, reach out to the company through one of their official channels, whether that be through a phone number listed on their site, an official contact email, or even through a verified social media account. Any legitimate fraud recovery firm will be more than happy to confirm if the person you are speaking with truly works for them, or if they are being impersonated.”
Getting your Money Back from a Scam
If you have lost money to a scam, whether that be an investment scam, a recovery scam or any other kind of scam, do not give up on getting your money back. CEL Solicitors have helped thousands of people recover their money after being defrauded. Speak with our dedicated fraud and scam department by calling 0808 273 0900 or complete an online enquiry and a member of our team will be in touch.