To add to our growing list of recovery fraud, Cybertrace is urgently alerting the public to the Sterling Law scam. With many people who have lost money clearly worried, our investigators are fielding increasing numbers of inquiries about this website. Our advice is simple and straightforward: do not trust them to do anything but scam you of even more money! If they have already sunk their claws into you, don’t despair! Instead, contact Cybertrace’s experienced investigators today to find out how we can help.
Imitating a well-established UK law firm by the same name, Sterling.Law is neither a law firm nor a funds recovery business. Instead, the Sterling Law scam artists are part of a growing breed of new fraudsters: recovery (or secondary) scammers. Targeting victims who have already lost money to fraud, recovery scammers pretend to help them recoup their losses. While they pose as rescuers, however, they are just another fake outfit trying to screw more money out of you. With police increasingly overwhelmed by a deluge of cyber fraud, scam victims are often desperate for any help. Unscrupulous operators prey on this desperation, so it’s important to learn about the warning signs to avoid being duped again. Let’s look at some of the red flags our investigators look for, before considering a safer alternative to assess risk.
Red Flag #1: Unregistered and unregulated
In a field awash with scam artists, the first question for any funds recovery company unfortunately must be “does this business even exist”? Sterling.law targets victims in Australia, the UK and Europe but claims to be based in Israel. However, nowhere on the website do the Sterling Law scammers state the registered name of the company. Furthermore, there are no Terms & Conditions nor any information on which laws/jurisdiction apply in the case of any disputes. Finally, checking the business name and the address provided on their website against the Israel business register comes up with nothing. In short: there is no proof the company even exists. Flags don’t get much redder than this!
Red Flag #2: Faceless and nameless
A second tell-tale sign of dodgy operators is the lack of any information on who owns, runs and works for the company. The Sterling Law scam website doesn’t list any directors or employees and was registered using a privacy-shielding domain registration provider. On social media, the picture is not much different: while there are plenty of actual US-, UK- and Australian-based firms by the name of Sterling Law active on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, none of them match the location or field of work of Sterling.Law. The fraudsters hope that, by choosing a name that imitates legitimate law firms, impressed victims won’t look too closely. But law firms have distanced themselves, and you can catch the scammers out simply by being careful and attentive. When someone doesn’t want you to know who they truly are, they usually have something to hide!
Red Flag #3: Outlandish claims
On their website, the Sterling Law scammers make a series of simply unbelievable claims, chief amongst them a 95% success rate and a recovered funds total in 2020 of AUD5.7 million. With the scammers only registering their web domain in March 2020, that is some (fake) achievement! As experts in the industry with over six years’ experience, Cybertrace knows that these figures are simply impossible to achieve. Cyber investigations are complex, painstaking work that takes time, and any operator that guarantees success is lying to you. Other empty boasts about “quick cash reclaims”, “professionalism”, “negotiation power” or simply “we are the best” just add to the sorry picture, especially when considered alongside often-atrocious grammar and syntax. Professional, indeed! The cherry on top of the cake is the scammers describing themselves as a “nonprofit organization” at one point. You couldn’t make it up!
Red flag #4: Fake, few or bad reviews
Another important red flag for any scam is the presence of fake or bad reviews. Unfortunately, the testimonials on the Sterling Law scam website sound great but are clearly fake. A reverse image search of the reviewers’ photos reveals them to be stock photos or images copied from other websites. While there are a couple of positive external reviews, these are distinctly fake news and uncritical puff pieces. Careful parsing reveals they lack any critical questions and journalistic rigor. Overall, there is a dearth of reviews, which seems strange for an outfit that claims to have recovered millions. Where are all the grateful clients singing their praises? Instead, first-hand accounts of scam victims and survivors as well as warnings by automated scam detectors tell a different story. Taken together with the other red flags, they present a picture of deceit and untrustworthiness.
Red flag #5: But wait – there’s more!
In addition to everything that already smells fishy regarding the Sterling Law scam, our expert investigators came across something else. The scammers look to have set up a clone website with matching content under another false name: Gatesvale Limited. Using identical language and imagery, the scammers are attempting to imitate another well-established UK company by the same name. Unfortunately for them, the fraudsters made a small but significant mistake: they used the same false figure for recovered losses in 2020 (GBP2.5 million) but forgot that they only registered their domain on 15 December of that year. That means they would have had to do a year’s worth of (fake) funds recovery in just two weeks over Christmas! Likely? We don’t think so.
What can I do?
It’s clear by now that the Sterling Law scam we have discussed in this article is a recovery fraud. If you are considering using their services, don’t! All they will do is steal more money off you. If they have already managed to trick you into parting with your hard-earned cash, don’t be embarrassed. Get in touch with our experienced investigators today to see how we can help. Finally, if you want to take the hassle out of checking on this or any other potential investment, trading or funds recovery website, use ScamSleuth, Cybertrace’s free public scam detector. Not only does it draw on multiple up-to-date global databases, but it has exclusive access to the vast vaults of virtual intelligence from Cybertrace’s forensic website investigations. Take the hassle out of due diligence and let ScamSleuth do the hard work for you.
Finally, if you are a current or former staff member of the syndicate and would like to speak with us, you can contact us anonymously via firstname.lastname@example.org. We have successfully worked with conscientious insiders when investigating previous scams, thus bringing justice and relief to long-suffering victims. Your help can make a real difference!