Have you heard of Digital Smoke? It was recently reported that one of the largest online investment scam networks (by size and volume of operations) has been identified. Investigators penned the name ‘Digital Smoke’ as once the group took payment from victims- they would disappear. They would then go on to set-up their next scampaign (scam-campaign).
Investors in the UK, Canada, Australia, China, EU as a whole, and the US and Middle East were defrauded.
Impersonating Major Companies
They impersonated major Fortune 100 corporations from the UK and U.S by using their branding and reputation. People instilled their trust in them for this reason. They developed a large organized crime gang and infrastructure to pull their charade off. Some of the brands they impersonated were: ABRDN (UK), Blackrock (US), Baxter Medical (US), EvGo (US), Ferrari (Italy), ITC Hotels (India). As well as Eaton Corporation (US/UK), Novuna Business Finance (UK), Tata (India), Valesto Oil (Malaysia), Lloyds Bank (UK), and many more. Most were related to financial services, oil & gas, renewable energy, healthcare, and world-recognized investment corporations with a global reputation.
Digital Smoke went about their scam by registering multiple fake domain names very close to the original brand names. They then promoted them via social media and instant messenger apps to attract investors. It is worth noting that you must always be forensic with domain names. Make sure it the exact spelling of the legitimate company. Do your due diligence, it takes a matter of seconds to avoid an online investment scam. Once the victim registered, they were coerced into make a deposit by sending a payment to an account registered in India. Another red flag, as not all of these companies are registered in India.
Get Rich Quick Scam
The scam is typical of the kind of get-rich-quick scams that litter the internet, and the problem is getting worse. Disturbingly, the text-generation tool ChatGPT, for instance, can aid scammers by quickly producing legitimate-looking investment ads based on real-world promotions. However, Satnam Garang, senior staff engineer at the cyber firm Tenable, said:
“ChatGPT will generate you a script and provide some code and help create the wheels but you still need to make the rest of the car.”
It’s evident that the world of online investment scams is fast moving. Many may feel overwhelmed and unable to keep up. You might think we are stating the obvious, but just because a scam may be obvious to you and I, doesn’t mean it will be to everyone. Older investors may not be as familiar with fraudulent practices and are more vulnerable than ever.
If you need some clarity and assurance on a company you are thinking of investing in, or have invested in, give us a call on 0207 504 1300. We offer free consultations with our expert team. We also have a range of due diligence services that are sure to meet your needs. Don’t feel alone with it all!
This message serves as a warning against potential online scams, including website scams and investment scams. Please exercise caution and conduct thorough research before engaging in any online transactions or investments. Protect your personal and financial information from fraudulent activities, and consult with trusted sources for advice.
Insolvency and Law Peter Murray is an award-winning consultancy firm specialising in Insolvency, debt purchasing and business rescue.