What are scams and how do they work?
Many victims of cyber fraud are hopeful and often desperate to recover their hard-earned money lost from cyber fraud events. Cyber fraud operations, colloquially known as scams, are rapidly on the rise and are a plague on the Internet and financial trading markets. Scams often target older generations who may be inexperienced with technology and have liquid assets to invest in what turns out to be bogus trading. COVID-19 has greatly facilitated the rise of cyber scams as many retirees are seeking alternate methods for generating income on their savings, superannuation or pension.
The majority of scam operations are controlled or influenced by Israeli crime syndicates. This is a generalisation, however in our experience at least 80% of global scams fall into this category. This is due to the fallout from the previous Binary Options trading scams that were legal in Israel until a few years ago. The Israeli Government recognised the negative impact of these operations, which resulted in distrust in genuine Israeli business operations. As a result, the Israeli Government outlawed Binary Option trading and prosecuted several key individuals. The result was that many Israeli fraudsters moved their operations to a range of other countries to continue their scams. These countries included several eastern European countries including Ukraine, Bulgaria, Serbia and Estonia, as well as Cyprus, Malta, Philippines and South Africa, to name a few.
How are these scams investigated?
As a result of their globally distributed nature, investigating and prosecuting these scam syndicates has become overly complex and difficult. That does not mean it’s impossible, however in our experience there are only a handful of genuine private investigation firms capable of investigating and identifying these scam syndicates. In fact, most global law enforcement agencies do not have sufficient resources or technical capability to undertake complex global cyber fraud investigations, let alone recover your funds. For this reason, Cybertrace is currently working with several Australian and international law enforcement agencies to investigate cyber fraud syndicates. Cybertrace is also partnered with the Western Sydney University (WSU) for cybercrime-related research.
Who can I trust to do this work?
At this point, it is very important to note that there are many secondary scam operations posing as either cyber fraud investigation, asset recovery or fraud mediation firms, such as Purchase Guard, which is part of the Click2Sell, CPL One and Ads Supply network of scams. While there are genuine firms out there with great capability, Cybertrace strongly suggests doing your own due diligence to determine whether they are indeed legitimate and not another scam.
What is the Assets Recovery process?
As these scams are operated from various global jurisdictions, the process of identifying the offenders, following the money trail and confronting the offenders is a very difficult and complex process. The key to any Assets Recovery operation is identifying the offenders so you know WHO to chase for a refund of your money. Once the offenders are identified, evidence needs to be collected to a legal standard and your case referred to the local police or lawyers in the jurisdiction of interest. The Assets Recovery operation then turns into a legal process where the offenders are taken to court either via criminal prosecution (police) or civil litigation (lawyers). Again, this whole process relies completely on the offender being identified and evidence of fraud being collected to a legal standard.
Do Cybertrace offer Assets Recovery services?
The short answer is no.
As Cybertrace is a specialist cyber fraud investigation company, we choose to stay in our lane and not water down our capability by providing Asset Recovery services. There are a handful of Asset Recovery specialists who can undertake the Asset Recovery operations and Cybertrace often work hand-in-hand with these independent service providers.
Why should I use Cybertrace if they don’t offer Assets Recovery?
As mentioned above, the key to any Assets Recovery operation is identifying the offenders and collecting evidence. Cybertrace are globally recognised experts in this field. Once we identify the offenders, you have several options on progressing the recovery of your assets. Firstly, you should provide our report to the police in your jurisdiction and they can follow the leads and evidence we provide. As mentioned above, most police agencies don’t not have the capability to do the technical investigation. As a result, they are generally very happy to have us do this work for them. Secondly, you could engage a legitimate Assets Recovery firm to undertake the Assets Recovery process from start to finish or engage a law firm who have expertise in global civil action for recovering assets.
Bear in mind that Assets Recovery is generally very expensive. Both lawyers and Assets Recovery specialists have many commercial overheads to consider and your fee will cover these operating expenses as well as allow for commercial profit for their services. If you don’t have money available for private assets recovery, you can still opt for reporting your case to your local police, with or without a Cybertrace report. However, please note that police investigate criminal complaints only and civil litigation for Assets Recovery will still be at your expense. However, with reliable Cybertrace intelligence, leads and evidence, the police can at least disrupt or arrest the offenders and stop them targeting other innocent victims. Either way, a Cybertrace investigation report will provide you with significant value regardless of whether you choose private assets recovery or law enforcement to progress you case.
Do Cybertrace guarantee to identify and locate the scammers?
Unfortunately, due to the complex nature of investigations, there is never any guarantee of a positive result. This is the same with any investigation, including ones conducted by the police. The police never guarantee they will catch a murderer and the same applies to a Cybertrace fraud investigation. However, we do guarantee a Best Effort investigation, and you will be engaging global experts in cyber fraud investigations.
Also, Cybertrace will provide you with intelligence for your case in the event that legal evidence can not be collected. This intelligence can provide significant value should you engage lawyers or law enforcement to progress your case. For example, we may identify the IP address of an offender. As a private agency, we generally can’t access ISP customer records to prove who owns the particular IP address. However, law enforcement and lawyers can submit a subpoena to access the registered owner records. In this regard, the IP address that Cybertrace extract as intelligence may be the key to solving your case.
As you will have realised by now, the Assets Recovery process has no guarantees, is expensive and highly complex. In the case of high losses, it can be worth the investment and, armed with a Cybertrace report, can lead to recovery of some or all of your assets. If you would like us to investigate on your behalf, we can then refer your case to our trusted business partners in the Assets Recovery field. We have business partners in Australia, Europe, the USA and Israel who can assist should sufficient evidence be collected by the Cybertrace team to progress your case to the Assets Recovery stage.
How do I get started and find out more?
To speak with our team of experts and identify the person/s responsible for fraudulently taking your money, please contact us on our Australia Head Office public number, +61 1300 669 711 or via our website contact form.