Saturday, 29 December 2012

Paul Temple and the Dr. Kumar Case (7)

We can finally put this whole affair behind us. After having received a rather aggressive phone call from our Dr. Kumar we decided to try and get hold of Dr. Kumar's phone number (even though we do not have number recognition). This worked; Dr. Kumar appeared to have phoned from a Nigerian phone number. Of course this does not mean that the guy resides actually in Nigeria; he could have phoned from any country using his Nigerian mobile phone.

A summary of how the scam works:
1. Mr. X starts sending a scam mail to hundreds of stolen or bought email addresses
2. Mr. Y steals a chequebook from mr. A or buys a stolen one from a third party
3. Mr. Z opens a bank account, most likely using the "stolen" identity of Mr. B
4. A gîte owner, Mr. C accepts the booking, and sends Mr. X the terms for rental
5. Mr. X gives details about the money Mr. C is about to receive
6. Mr. C agrees to the deal
7. Mr. X sends off the cheque
8. Mr. C acknowledges receipt of the cheque covering far too much money and asks for further instructions
9. Mr. X sends bank details, and generously allows Mr. C to deduct his costs first, as long as he forwards the surplus of the money ASAP to the "agent" Mr. Z

10. Mr. X puts pressure on Mr. C to pay "the same day" via emails and phone calls
11. Mr. C cashes his cheque with his bank and informs Mr. X that the cheque has been cleared, and that the surplus has been forwarded to Mr. Z
12. The moment the money is received by Mr. Z he will empty the account once and for all
13. At some stage, probably after a few weeks, the truth emerges, and the bank takes back the surplus amount payed to Mr. Z from Mr. C's account
14. Mr. C is ultimately the victim of this scam, and Mr. X, Y and Z have disappeared in thin air

This is pure speculation, but I can hardly believe that someone is randomly opening letterboxes in the hope that he finds a new cheque book. the operation centres (probably London and Leicester) are so far apart that a one man act is not very likely. It looks much more like a well organised scam with more than 1 person involved, and there are possibly hundreds of these scams being run at the same time.

Further, apart from a thank you note from the accountant and from the director of EE UK Ltd, we received a phone call from someone in the Netherlands. He had been approached by Dr. Kumar, and for reasons completely different to ours, decided to accept the booking. He also received a cheque, but he became suspicious because the cheque was not send via registered mail. He somehow managed to get hold of the Dutch version of this blog, found out about Dr. Kumar and managed to get hold of the director of EE UK Ltd as well. The Dutch have a saying, illustrating this quite well: "It is better to turn back halfway, than to carry on all the way and get lost".

For our own website click here.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Paul Temple and the Dr. Kumar Case (6)

The end is nigh, it seems. after we had send the photo of the cheque to the accountant, we got the director of EE UK Ltd, a certain Brian P. on the line. He turned out to be a very amiable man, who really appreciated our involvement in the matter. He had received the photo of the cheque, but did not recognise the account number. After checking with his accounting department he found out that they had opened a new account for the firm, with this number, but the chequebook had never arrived. There was more than sufficient money in the account to cover "our" £ 3800. And only after quite a while this transaction would have been recognised as an illegitimate withdrawal and cancelled. Brian P. had phoned his bank in the meantime and cancelled the whole chequebook. From our side we promised to send him the cheque might he need that for the police. Without much hope for a reaction we send Dr. K. a mail with the message that our bank had cleared the cheque, and that the money was in our account. we were awaiting his instructions. To our pleasant surprise they followed promptly.

"Dear Sue and Cees,
Thank you for your mail and confirmation of the money in your bank account. I have received the account details of our logistics agent, deduct cost of the transfer from the money and transfer the balance to our logistics agent today. Below is the account details;
IBAN CODE: GB25BARC20143370xxxxxxx
Make the transfer today as i have notified them that they will receive the money as soon as possible. Once the transfer is done scan and send the bank transfer paper for record purposes."

I have encrypted the name and account number, because this smells again like someone has hijacked someone else's identity. Sue's parents received some time ago a phone call from a bank with the question "Had they recently opened a new bank account?". They had not, and we have always wondered why a stranger would open an account under somebody else's name. After what we know now it becomes a bit clearer. Most probably Dr. K. played a similar trick, by opening a new account in Mr. de S. name. Of course the money had to be paid in as quick as possible by us, and to be taken out ASAP by him before Mr. de S. was warned by his bank, or before he received a bank statement.

That would also explain why immediately after we received Dr. K.'s email he phoned us as well. Dr. K. sounded extremely aggressive, and he was pressing time after time that the money had to be transferred now, straight away. Dr. K. was, according to Sue, not a native English speaker. He also did not have an Indian accent, nor an African one for that matter. He was difficult to understand, and his accent could have been Arab, Eastern-European or Portuguese for that matter, but it was not a familiar German, French, Scandinavian, etc. accent.

Interesting detail : the bank from where the money was supposed to be picked up is in Leicestershire, miles away from London.

It looks like this is (for the time being) the end of this epos. We know now more or less how scams like this can operate, and the whole series might be a lesson for those who are not as suspicious as we are...

To be continued (although not very likely!)

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Paul Temple and the Dr. Kumar Case (5)

Even though there is still no news from our surgeon from India, Paul and Louise have not been twiddling their thumbs. Another Google search for the name of the company (EE UK Ltd) was done, giving the address of the company in Hove and name and address of the director in London. A search of the telephone directory however did not reveal anything, neither for the company nor for the director.
A Google search on the full address of the company however told us that this was the address of an accountants firm. Streetview confirmed that there was at that address a shield on the wall displaying the accountants name.
Louise phoned up the accountant, and found out that EE UK Ltd was indeed registered with them; they took care of their business somehow. After Louise had told them about a possibly fraudulent cheque we had received from EE UK Ltd the accountant promised to phone back ASAP.

To be continued

For our own website click here.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Paul Temple and the Dr. Kumar Case (4)

Despite our question what we should do with this outrageous amount of money, we have heard nothing from our good friend since we told him the cheque came in. And that could well be Paul's own fault.
Both Chinese strategists Sun-Zi and Mao-Ze-Dong have said never to underestimate your enemy. And was not openly publishing his strategy on internet pure vanity? Was it not the Preacher who said " vanity of vanities; all is vanity"?
One only has to enter the full name of our good friend in, and the postings about this person on TROS Radar (a Dutch broadcasting company) are no. 1, the Tallinn hotel "Another SCAM letter" is no. 2, 3 and 4, and my Dutch blog scores at 5!
Paul had never thought that his enemy would google himself and would translate the blogs, however, maybe these two Chinese sources were right after all...

For our own website click here.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Paul Temple and the Dr. Kumar Case (3)

This morning, after we had closed the gate to go shopping, we saw in the letterbox that a letter from the UK had arrived. We had to wait till we got home to check whether the cheque had finally arrived, and lo and behold, it looked as if we had struck gold this time.
All of a sudden all the whodunits I had ever read or seen on the screen popped up in my tiny little brain. We first investigated the envelope; the address was correct, the letter was posted two days ago from Mount Pleasant, there was no sender on the back of the envelope, and since the envelope must have passed through more hands then our four, a finger print more or less did not seem to do any harm. After this we photographed the envelope.
Then we carefully opened the envelope, found the cheque, and carefully, wearing rubber gloves, took the cheque from the envelope and studied it back and front. After having taken a photo of the cheque we carefully put it back to sleep in the envelope. At least our fingerprints were not to going be found on that cheque!
And now we are planning our next moves. The advantage of this cheque is that it is British, and the Britons are more familiar with cheques than the Dutch. Another one is that the British police possibly has a fraud squad dealing with these sort of scams.
The cheque was written out in the name of "EE UK Ltd", an existing company; at least their name is traceable through internet. Further the cheque bore a value of £ 3800, at the moment that equals approx. € 4728. This is considerably more than the "promised" € 4390.60. Either Dr. Kumar is not very good at arithmetic, or the exchange rates have been yo-yoing dramatically over the last days. This however can be checked: 2 days ago £ 3800 was worth approx. € 4692. Hence no real dramatic changes.
Conclusions at the moment:
The cheque seems to be real. Cheque number, account number and sort code at the top tally with those at the bottom. The company exists or existed, this not a fake name. The bank is a well known London bank.
There seem to be two options at the moment (assuming that "EE UK Ltd" is not involved in this scam): either the cheque was stolen, or it was fabricated.
The plan of campaign is at the moment:
1. Dr. Kumar has been told that the cheque did arrive, and he has been asked for details how to proceed.
2. It seems that we can actually cash the cheque in the UK without any costs, even when the cheque bounces.
3. Mount Pleasant appears to be one of the biggest London Post Sorting offices.
4. Monday we will try to contact HSCB bank, "EE UK Ltd" and possibly the Metropolitan Police.

For our own website click here.