Following on from the shocking news this week about the existence of “Scam Academies” Money Magpie’s Jasmine Birtles took to Talk Radio to discuss what exactly these places were.
Criminals run internet ‘scam schools’ on the internet, selling guides such as the ‘Fraud Bible’ which teaches wannabe fraudsters how to send fake text messages supposedly from companies like Royal Mail and PayPal, but which actually link to fake bank websites: the aim is to defraud people into revealing their bank accounts, card information and other personal details.
They are then further taught to use the stolen details to buy goods online which are sold via eBay or other internet marketplaces, so that people may be purchasing goods bought with stolen funds, without knowing it.
With this in mind, MoneyMagpie’s Jasmine Birtles wants to make it absolutely clear that the shame surrounding being scams is totally unnessesary.
She says: “Sadly it’s no surprise that these ’Scam Academies’ exist. I’ve always said that anyone who is scammed should not feel ashamed or silly because the people who perpetrate these frauds are professionals. There are huge international crime ‘corporations’ that employ people to scam others 26/7 and they’re very good at it.
“Now individuals are able to learn the tricks of the trade – much of them simply sales tactics – that they know work on many, many people. The boring truth is that we all have to be even more mistrustful of anything that comes as a text, an email or a call. Even those that seem to be from a friend might not be so we have to be aware of any anomalies in the way they speak or write or any oddities in what they are asking.”
The reality is that online credit card fraud is worth almost half a billion pounds a year, fuelled by a commodity called ‘fullz’, which collects credit card number, full name, address, phone number, date of birth, bank account number and sort code.
These details are then openly traded on messaging service Telegram, in groups with used by scammers who make even more financial gains by selling their methods on to others.
The lessons also include advice for new scammers, explaining the terms and how it works. Scammers also apply fraudulently for a payday loan using the details of a victim who has a ‘good credit score’.
‘Once approved’ says the Fraud Bible, ‘you will have access to your virtual card right away. You can now apply for loans and get them deposited into your virtual bank account.’
Also included is a guide to a ‘Universal Credit Method’ for benefits fraud, which advises: ‘Don’t ever pick up the phone like a dweeb!’. Instead ‘chill and chat’ through the Universal Credit online messaging system.
A spokesman for banking trade body UK Finance said, ‘Customers are legally protected against losses caused by unauthorised card fraud and the industry is taking action on all fronts to stop fraud from happening.
Banks constantly monitor for suspicious transactions and are introducing an extra layer of authentication for online payments to keep customers safe from fraud.’
An eBay spokesman says: ‘We do not allow stolen property to be sold on eBay.
‘We have dedicated teams who work closely with law enforcement to prevent and disrupt illegal activity and investigate sellers who may be in breach of this policy, so that the appropriate action can be taken.’
Jasmine feels what is being done however really isn’t enough and that she “would like to see better protections of those online from the tech giants. Currently the internet is the Wild West and we’re still waiting for some genuine sheriffs to ride into town and save our money.
However, it looks like we will have to wait a long time for that as right now the ‘guardians of the internet’ are wasting their time pulling down posts and websites from decent journalists, scientists and commentators questioning government and pharmaceutical actions. Instead of that they should be spending all their time in rooting out criminals who are there to take our money from us. Come on Big Tech, wake up and do something useful for a change!”
We try and offer news of scams on MoneyMagpie, but when the players are this professional, more should be done.