Almost everyone has been the target of a scam at some stage in his or her lives, and many people have repeated, ongoing exposure to scam attempts. The aim of SCAMSTERS INC. is to provide you with information you need to Protect Yourself from scams, so you can recognise a set-up and avoid the hook and the inevitable sting of a scam. Its your Daily dose of Scams in your neighbourhood.its an Archive for all thats related to SCAMS,FRAUDs,Etc....

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SCAMSTERS INC provides an Antiscam - Useful External links page to similar and related to Bangalore and rest of India. Finally, SCAMSTERS INC. provides advice for those who have fallen for the bait and been hooked at 'I've been scammed. What should I do?

Whistle-blower’s crown of thorns

An activist who exposed a site allotment scam in BDA has been receiving death threats, ever since the man exposed a multi-crore alternative site scam in BDA, which resulted in the shunting out of BDA chief Shankarlinge Gowda, who had been appointed to the post by the then Kumaraswamy administration, during Governor’s rule has been receiving death threats from unidentified persons.

According to sources, B M Shivkumar, president of Akhil Karnataka Kannada Yuva Vedike, is fearing for his life as some brokers have started targeting him for his role in exposing the scam, following which the allotments concerned were cancelled.

The scam arose out of allottees in lesser-known BDA layouts surrendering their sites and getting alternative sites allotted in prime areas like HSR Layout, HAL and the IT corridor. The alternative allotments were obviously done in collusion with BDA officials.

Shivkumar claims he has details of more than 800 alternative sites which were illegally allotted. As a result of the expose, BDA commissioner Shankarlinge Gowda and BDA secretary G C Rajashekar were transferred from their respective posts.
Considered close to MLC M P Nadgouda, Shivkumar has demanded a CBI inquiry in the scam. The state assembly recently passed a resolution calling for an inquiry and report by the BDA commissioner within 90 days.

On Aug 15, around 1 pm, Shivkumar received a call warning him that he would be killed if he didn’t keep quiet. He contacted MLC Nadgouda and also spoke to home minister V S Acharya. The home minister has directed police commissioner Shankar Bidari to look into the case. However, when Shivkumar went to the Kengeri police station, in whose jurisdiction he resides, the staff refused to register his complaint, saying he had already registered a complaint in January this year.
According to BDA officials, a preliminary inquiry shows that 122 alternative sites were allotted fraudulently.

Allotments cancelled

BDA has already cancelled some of the illegal allotments. Among them is site 256/A in HSR Layout, 6th Sector, measuring 50 x 80, which was alternatively allotted to H Krishnappa. He had first purchased site L 203 in the same sector, which was allotted to former minister Amaregowda Bayyapura on June 20, 2005. The site was in a low-lying area and prone to waterlogging, andBayyapura applied for an alternative site, citing this fact.

BDA officials rejected his application on the ground that an alternative site can only be given when the original site is under litigation. Bayyapura later sold his site to Krishnappa on June 7, 2007. But Krishnappa got an alternative site (256/A) just 20 days later.

Other allotments cancelled by BDA are: site 842, located at Hennur-Bellary Road, 1st stage, Vth block; a site at Hosur-Sarjapur Road, sector two, site 898/A located at Indiranagar; site 13/A located at HSR Layout, Vth sector; site 109/A located at HSR Layout, VIth sector; site 1787 located at HSR IInd sector, and site 126 located at HSR Layout, 1st sector. According to sources, the last two sites were sold by forging the relevant documents.

According to sources, some brokers who are ‘regulars’ at the BDA office, as well as those whose allotments were cancelled, are behind the threats being made to Shivkumar.

Report by:
Atul Chaturvedi

Government denies charging Chinese firm with fraud

The government Tuesday said it has not charged Chinese telecom company Huawei Technologies with employing Chinese workers in India without proper work permits.”Attention of the government has been invited to a report published in a section of the press regarding a purported notice given by the Ministry of Labour and Employment to a firm namely Huawei on the alleged violations of various labour and employment regulations of the country,” a government statement said.

“In this regard it is stated that no such notice has been issued by the Ministry of Labour and Employment,” it added.

Huwaei, which manufactures telecom equipment in China and sells globally, including in India, has a reserach and development centre in Bangalore.

Reports in the media Tuesday said the ministry issued Huawei a notice Monday, accusing it of committing serious legal and financial violations, including tax frauds.

Even before the ministry issued the formal denial, a top company official told IANS his company was investigating the “authenticity” of the letter.

“We have 200 Chinese staff who have come to India on a valid business visa and who leave the country within the prescribed time limit once the discussions are over,” the official said requesting anonymity.

He termed it as “a trick” to create a “scare” in the market so that Huawei loses out on upcoming bids for telecom tenders floated by various service providers.

“We will speak to the Labour Commissioner and tell him that someone probably is misusing the letterhead of the ministry,” the official said.

After the ministry issued the statement, he said he was relieved. “We had never flouted norms and knew things will be fine.”

He loses $1,600 in iPhone scam

WHILE many Apple fans got their hands on the long-awaited iPhone yesterday, one person is left feeling the pinch.

After coughing up a hefty $1,600 for the handphone, student Muhammad Hazrul Sani found out he had fallen prey to the latest twist to the Nigerian scam.
Just as con artists ask their unsuspecting victims to transfer 'banking fees' for non-existent, million-dollar inheritances, now they are 'selling' non-existent iPhones.

Hazrul, an 18-year-old Singaporean, was so enamoured by the new iPhone that he sold his PlayStation Portable (PSP) and handphone, borrowed money from his friends, and even lied to his mother to get enough money to pay a Nigerian cheat who had promised him the phone.

The phone never came.

When he saw an advertisement for the iPhone on the online forum hardwarezone.com two months ago, the Ngee Ann Polytechnic nursing student thought he had stumbled on a good deal.
After all, the seller was offering the phone at $350, a steal compared to the $1,600 that other Singaporeans were paying to get the phone from Hong Kong.
As it turned out, the bargain was a ploy.
Once he wired over the money to Ikeya in Nigeria, the seller kept asking for more, saying more money was needed for delivery to Singapore or that the shipment was delayed because the delivery man had an accident.
Hazrul sent more than $1,600 because after each 'delay', the seller promised to give him more freebies, such as another phone and electronic gadgets.

Hazrul said: 'I was so naive. He had given me so many excuses, but the alarm bells did not go off.'
He did not think much of it as he had bought goods on the Internet before.
To get more money, Hazrul lied to his mother, saying that he needed cash for a school project. He also approached his schoolmates with the offer of the second iPhone and gadgets and asked them to chip in for the shipping costs.

It was his mother who stopped him from bleeding more money.
Madam Romnia Ali, 53, a housewife, said: 'When he came back early that day, I just felt that I needed to check his bag. When I saw all the receipts showing that he had wired money to Nigeria, I knew that somebody had cheated him.
'Luckily I found the receipts, if not, I don't know how much more he would have sent over.'
Yet, she did not scold or punish him as she felt that it was a good lesson for him.

She said: 'Next time, he will discuss things with us before doing anything. I also pitied him, because he looked so sad. He had even sold his handphone and computer games for this.'
Hazrul, who gets $6 a day for his allowance, is now left with a meagre $9.73 in his bank account.

The incident affected him so badly he could not focus on studying for his exams. His friends are also pestering him for the iPhone, but he is still waiting for the right time to tell them about the scam.
Hazrul said: 'The cheat made himself sound so pitiful, even telling me how he needed money to feed his baby. Now I will think twice before buying things on the Internet.'

The police confirmed that Hazrul has made a report over the scam.

Nigerian conmen strike again

Nigerian lottery scamsters seem to have many more aces up their sleeve. This time, the imposters have resorted to the postal services or ‘slow mail’ instead of emails. They are reaching out to gullible people through mobile services too.

Dr Devidas, a resident of Magadi Road and working as a pediatrician and physician at Vijaynagar was cheated of Rs 3.33 lakh by conmen through postal letters.

Loaded with MBBS,MD, DCS degrees, he has 20 years of work experience. He was informed by the fraudsters that he won a lottery amounting to 8,15,950 Euros, the police said.

He was told to pay the processing fees to get the amount released. The doctor believed the message and contacted one Christopher Cook through the phone and was told to pay Rs 45,000 to the account of one Mike Anderson in HDFC Bank.

Later, Devidas contacted Christopher and Mike many a times and paid money to some ICICI accounts of the imposters. In fact, he has all the documents pertaining to the money transactions he made like the fax number, letters, phone bills and bank transactions.

Overall, Devidas lost about Rs 3.33 lakh as the fraudsters successfully cheated the doctor. Vijayanagar police have booked a case against Chistopher Cook and Mike Anderson.

A senior police official in the CoD’s Economic Offence Wing told to this website's newspaper that the imposters were using mobile phones too to cheat people. In a particular case, the imposters even sent messages about ‘prize money’ through BSNL mobile phones.

The messages that a mobile phone user gets will read like this: Your mobile number has won a prize sum of 150,000.00 GBP (Great Britain Pounds). Contact your claims agent Rev. Don Moen in UK. e-mail address is rev.donmoen@live.com.— Moureen.

"If a person falls prey to such messages, he would end up being the loser," the officer said.

Source: Indian Express

New Phishing Scam Targets Apple Users

Apple’s popular MobileMe service, which offers Mac and iPhone users webhosting, a personal email address, file sharing, and online data synchronization between their devices, has been hit with a phishing scam. Users received an email that looked like it came from Apple with the following message:

“We were unable to process your most recent payment. Did you recently change your bank, phone number or credit card?”

The email then prompts the user to click on a link to update their info. The link is actually fake, and leads to a site owned by a Gmail user in Romania. The site steals the personal information of anyone who falls for the ruse and enters it into the phony Apple page.

This is the second time this year that phishers have targeted Apple. In May a similar email was sent to users of the immensely popular iTunes service. Security experts believe that phishers are aiming these attacks at Apple services to take advantage of Apple’s reputation of being more secure than Windows. They are banking on Apple users thinking such attacks could never happen to them and as a result not being wary of such emails. It appears that Apple users are not getting a rather rude wake up call. To scammers, no OS is off limits.

BBMP to offer insured land info

In a first of its kind application of GPS in the country, the BBMP could not only change the way that property is bought and sold in the IT capital, it will also attempt to give credence to genuine properties and help buyers from falling prey to scamsters.

With the number of property disputes in Bengaluru city relatively higher than in other metro cities, the civic agency, in a few months from now, will provide all the information pertaining to the sale of any property in the Byatarayanapura zone with title insurance cover.

The authority has completed the indexing of over 10 lakh properties through satellite imagery and is currently validating the data.

A pilot project to index properties through the Global Positioning System (GPS) for property tax collection has turned into a major tool for the authority.

Speaking to Deccan Chronicle, BBMP commissioner S. Subramanya explained the project underway in 36 old wards of Byatarayanapura zone.

“Property buyers can now check for litigations, ownership, encumbrance, physical measurement of the building, bylaw violations among others by subscribing to this data by paying a nominal fee,” Mr Subramanya said. “If the applicant finds any fault with the information provided, he can claim title insurance against any loss as the BBMP will go in for group insurance for this scheme.” “It is an attempt to give credence to genuine properties and prevent buyers from being conned by scamsters,” he added.

The BBMP’s revenue department and engineering section is carrying out validation of these properties by measuring their longitude and latitude. Also, during the validation all relevant information and irregularities if any will assessed. Each property will be given an ID number which will locate the property in terms of latitude and longitude. The centrally managed land record will be updated every month.

The project will also give the agency “live” data of public properties and their status.

BBMP is confident of the success of the scheme and plans to apply the same technology for the rest of the city.

Source: The Deccan Chronicle

The latest phishing scam now showing in your inbox is a rather convincing and confusing email seemingly from Google Adwords. This one was telling me that my account was about to be deactivated if I didn't login and "renew" it.

Besides the fact that Google would not send an email with the greeting "Dear Advertiser" (their emails are personalized with your name & account #) they also would not be deactivating your account or require a renewal.

The easiest and quickest way to determine if an email is authentic is to mouse over the link and check the website. If the destination link is not google.com (or the url of whoever is supposed to be sending you the email) then it is fake. Another sure give away is .exe in the link, which means it is an execution file and a virus would download upon clicking. Apparently the goal of this latest email scam is to try and get you to "login" to your Google Adwords account thereby giving the scammers your user name and password.

the best way to determine the validity of any email is to call the company to verify if it was them sending it.

If you by chance fall for this scam and try to log in to your account, IMMEDIATELY log in yourself and change both your user name and password.

Krishna Murthy to submit Monika dope scam report

Former Chief Election Commissioner T S Krishna Murthy, appointed by the Sports Ministry to inquire into the weightlifter Monika Devi dope scandal, will submit his report after August 26.

Krishna Murthy has already met and held discussions with the concerned officials from the Sports Ministry and the Sports Authority of India.

He met Monika on Thursday and is now awaiting a written report from her.

He is scheduled to meet the officials of Indian Weightlifting Federation on August 26 and submit the inquiry report soon after his investigations are complete.

The Sports Ministry had ordered an inquiry, to be conducted by one-member committee of Krishna Murthy, to look into all aspects of the issues relating to Monika's dope testing, the timing and release of the report which led to withdrawal of the Manipuri lifter from the Indian Olympic contingent just hours before her scheduled departure to Beijing.

Source: The Hindu

Ex-banker cheated of lakhs in phishing

After hooking the young and the computer- savvy, phishers have struck a senior citizen in the city. N V Srinivasan, a 72-year-old retired bank manager from KK Nagar, saw his lifetime savings of Rs 21 lakh vanish after he inadvertently gave away details of his bank account by clicking open a phishing mail sent in the name of Punjab National Bank.

Srinivasan, who was leading a quiet retired life got a mail a few days ago, purportedly from the security department of Punjab National Bank, asking him to update his personal details by clicking a link given in the mail, to make the bank account more secure.

"The mail said that the bank was stepping up vigil against online frauds and told the account holder that he could continue using his account even during the updation process without affecting transactions. Believing this, Srinivasan clicked on the link in the mail and provided his personal information including the bank account number," a CCB official told The Times of India.

Srinivasan found his net banking facility blocked moments after he replied to the mail, but he didn't realise the enormity of the fraud. "He then sent a mail to Neelam Singh, a person named as the signatory and security head of the Punjab National Bank in the phishing mail. When he did not get a reply to the mail, Srinivasan went and checked with the bank, only to find that Rs 21 lakh had been withdrawn from his account," the official said.

Preliminary investigation by the CCB bank fraud wing and the cyber crime cell revealed that a woman had withdrawn the amount from an ICICI bank branch in Mumbai. "When we made inquiries, the bank authorities said that the woman had been making repeated inquiries about remittance of cash to a particular account saying that she was expecting the money from an urgent property transaction. The money was withdrawn from the account soon after it was credited," the official added.

Investigators are now trying to trace the internet protocol number from which the mail to Srinivasan was sent. "We don't think the mail originated from Mumbai. We are trying to locate the woman who had collected the amount. We will crack the network as soon as we locate the woman," the official said.

The official underscored the need for better awareness among people transacting through net banking. "People getting such mails should immediately check with the bank concerned. Before performing any banking transactions through the net, follow the instructions provided by the banks and look for security emblems and marks on the home page of the bank," the official said.

People and institutions trading in mail addresses and other data are proving to be a headache for banks and security agencies. "These institutions are paid Rs 10 per mail address. These are a readymade pool for fraudsters to work on. Make sure that you do not give out your mail addresses to people and institutions that are unknown to you," the official said.


Nigerian Scamsters

You open your email, you are greeted with spam, crooks- trying to give you long lost monies from their departed families etc. Mostly scamsters from Nigeria.

A lot of them have been caught, a lot remain. Watch the Video....

CBI probe Rs 50 lakh insurance fraud

The Central Bureau of Investigation, Mumbai has registered a case of forgery and fraud against a PMC employee and two members of a local NGO who allegedly misappropriated the insurance money of over 2,000 beneficiaries of LIC’s Janashree policy in Pune and nearby areas. According to CBI, over Rs 50 lakh of insurance money has been misappropriated.

The CBI officials raided the residences, offices of the NGO and visited the LIC headquarters as well as a Karad Urban Co-op Bank branch on Thursday in a bid to seize ‘incriminating documents’. The CBI had learnt that the beneficiaries of the policy were being cheated of the insurance money as the fraudsters opened bogus bank accounts and misappropriated the money. “We recently registered a case of forgery and fraud under IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act against the three accused and unknown officials of the LIC and Karad Bank,” said a CBI official on the condition of anonymity.

The Janashree policy is an insurance scheme which has people below the poverty line as beneficiaries and NGOs as nodal agencies. A senior LIC officer confirmed that CBI officials had visited the office. “Two months back too the CBI had visited our office with a similar case of a Solapur-based NGO misappropriating the insurance money. Later they had ruled out LIC’s involvement,” he said.

When contacted, the General Manager of the Raviwar Peth branch of Karad Bank, Suraj Shah said he was unaware of any such CBI inquiry.

Source: Express India

IPO scamsters - Investigations

The Enforcement Directorate has filed a complaint before the Adjudicating Authority under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act against some of the accused in the IPO scam. These accused entities’ shares have also been attached, said an ED official.

The IPO scam is related to certain entities cornering IPO shares (in 2003-2005) reserved for the retail category by using fictitious demat accounts. These demat accounts were then ultimately transferred, through key operators, to the financiers of the scam. The financiers made their gains on the first day of listing of these shares.


“We believe that some of the shares were passed on to the ultimate financiers and even sold in the market. We are tracking the trail of how the money could have flown,” said the ED official.

There are now several investigating authorities throwing the dragnet around the accused and their assets related to the IPO scam. SEBI, the securities watchdog, is itself in the midst of an enquiry into the intermediaries, key operators and financiers in the scam. The board has frozen several of these entities’ demat accounts and also debarred the accused from transacting in the equities market.

An income tax official said that department was looking into “all the persons” involved in the scam and examining their I-T returns. It is believed that the I-T department has also sounded out SEBI on attaching the accounts of some of the accused.

The Central Bureau of Investigation has already filed a charge-sheet against 22 accused in the IPO scam in a Mumbai Court. However, the CBI charge-sheet is against intermediaries and key operators, and does not mention the financiers, said sources.

The officials from the ED and IT department said they would be investigating all the entities related to the case, including the ultimate beneficiaries or the financiers. However, it would be difficult to crack the “layering” in the scheme of things (locating the ultimate financier), said an official close to the investigations.

The Hindu Business Line

Scamsters clone ICICI Bank website

Scamsters seem to be giving bankers a tough time. After benami account scam, banks now have to deal with a new kind of cyber crime called 'phishing'.

Phishing is a fraudulent way of acquiring credit card, personal identification numbers and banking passwords using Internet and email by masquerading as a trusted source.

ICICI Bank filed a complaint with Bandra Kurla Complex police station on February 7 after its customers complained about being asked to confirm their account details through a seemingly innocuous e-mail ID (icici@icicibank.-com).

When the cyber crime cell began investigating, they found that a scamster had managed to get hold of customer details and used it to purchase goods on the Internet.

ICICI Bank website had also been cloned. At the cloned site, www.iciciibank.net, you could buy everything, from travel to financial services, gifts & computers. It also offered free online gambling and education facility.


Share transfer scam

The bangalore police have unearthed a major share transfer fraud in demat accounts with the arrest of two persons based in mumbai. the amount involved runs into crores of rupees. the fraud came to light when an employee of idbi bank, mission road branch, bangalore, found a transaction fishy. the accused duo had forged demat (dematerialised) shares of blue-chip companies and defrauded hundreds of shareholders.

They had forged signatures and sold demat shares of 63 scrips like reliance, ashok leyland, intel, sbi and icici. the police said a delivery instruction form was presented to the idbi bank in the name of jagatram badrecha and jayalaxmi requesting transfer of shares of different companies to the account of jitesh amrutlal vakharia in mumbai. when the bank authorities enquired about the transaction with jagatram and jayalaxmi, they maintained they had not sent any such request. jayalaxmi said she was away in the us when the ``request'' was made. realising that it was a case of forgery, the idbi bank authorities complained to the bangalore police. s. kali, an employee of the railway department in mumbai, was trapped when he went to the idbi bank to claim the benefit of transaction. he confessed he was acting at the behest of virender sanghvi, a mumbai share-broker for a decade. sanghvi used to operate under different names and forged signatures to commit the fraud.

The police said sanghvi used to steal share certificates, despatched from companies, in transit in collusion with courier companies. then he would forge signatures of original shareholders and get copies of delivery instruction slips through banks. later, get the shares transferred to various accounts and sell them clandestinely. sanghvi is accused of cheating shareholders in mumbai, bangalore, kolkata, baroda, chennai and other cities. preliminary investigations revealed he had intercepted a parcel containing 1,000 shares of zenith computers belonging to k.l. chugh, a businessman, with help from courier delivery boys and later got them transferred to his name by forging chugh's signature. the police in mumbai and chennai are looking into similar complaints.

The kolkata branch of idbi has lodged a complaint with the park street police station about forged delivery instructions worth about rs 12 lakh belonging to various demat account holders. share transfer stamps worth over rs 1 lakh have been seized from sanghvi. the sampangiramanagar police have slapped a case against sanghvi and kali. sanghvi is facing three cases of cheating in mumbai.


Scam unearthed in NREG scheme

There are reports of mismanagement in the UPA government's flagship programme, the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) in Vidarbha's Amravati district.

The government has admitted that over Rs 8 lakh given to the scheme have been misused.

Shyam Gavande is a beneficiary under the NREGS, so is his dead wife. That's when the Amravati farmer realised something was drastically wrong.

"My wife died three years ago. Neither of us had ever gone for work there," said Shyam Gavande, Amravati farmer.

Just like Shyam, there's Bhagwan Wankehede, a teacher in a government school who is also an NREG scheme beneficiary, on paper, at least.

"In the scheme, my name was in the list. But the money has been taken by someone else," said Bhagwan Wankhede, school teacher, Amravati.

And these are not isolated cases, complaints of misuse within the scheme in Vidarbha's Amravati district are growing. The scheme, a flagship of the UPA government, guarantees a hundred days of employment at 60 rupees a day for manual labour.

Surprisingly, a candid admission from the government.

"In many kinds of work, less money has been taken and more money claimed. About Rs 8.4 lakh has been misused," said Purshottam Bhapkar, District Collector.

The district administration admits that 14 projects have been sanctioned where machines did the work instead of people. The list of beneficiaries is far from accurate.

Pandora's box
  • 14 projects sanctioned in which machines did the work instead of people
  • List of beneficiaries is not accurate

    The scheme is only two years old and has been a lifeline for India's poorest people. Recently a CAG report detected problems of mismanagement and leakages.

    And now from Amravati the same question: Is all the money given to the scheme reaching the poor?

  • Source:NDTV

    Bangaluru Bleeding

    After the 2005 ban on dancing in discs and the 11.30 pm deadline in Bangalore, came the ban on live bands on 3 August this year, moves that the Bangalore music fraternity says has completely muzzled the music scene in the city.

    The last few days have seen a series of protests by musicians, artistes, disc jockeys, theatre artists as well as music lovers expressing themselves against the reinforced ban. Associations like Guruskool Music protested on 3 August, followed by a protest staged at MG road in central Bangalore on 11 August. Guruskool has now planned to sing a specially composed anthem at 5 pm today at the Cubbon park, where over a hundred musicians plan to gather and affix their signatures to memorandum that will be handed over to the authorities.

    The government seems to be in no mood to relent, however. After the Sunday protest, 32 clubs, pubs, lounges and discotheques were closed down. Nightlife in Bangalore is governed by ‘The licensing and controlling of places of public entertainment (Bangalore City) order, 2005’ and the Karnataka Excise Act of 1965. The 2005 order clubs all entertainment under a common banner, not differentiating between dance bars, discotheques or regular restaurants with live music. Taking advantage of this blanket law, dance bars emerged all over the city in early 2005 and this resulted in a brawl between owners of lower end dance bars and the upper end discotheques. The Bangalore police then allowed dancing and live music shows at pubs, restaurants, nightclubs and discotheques and on the other hand imposed ban on dance bars on the grounds that they encouraged prostitution. This move was later challenged by owners of dance bars in the High Court resulting in a complete clampdown on all nightlife.

    People like freelance artist manager and event producer Arpan Peter have taken the lead by creating awareness through social networking sites like Orkut and Facebook with communities like ‘The big Bangalore protest’ and initiatives like ‘Bengaluru bleeding’. Bhoomi band manager Srinivas, who was part of the Sunday protest, avers, “The music industry is not a major revenue generator for the government, which is why we are often ignored.

    The Karnataka government however has a different take on the issue. Stressing that the decision has been taken in the interest of maintaining law and order in the city, the state's home minister V S Acharya on Sunday rejected the petition to allow disco and live music during night hours. “The line between the dance bars and discos is very thin. We are not allowing disco and live music during night in the interest of law and order,” reports quote Acharya as saying. The government reiterated its seriousness about the ban with the Bangalore police cracking down on 32 discotheques operating without valid licenses in the city on Monday.

    Bands hit hard

    As a city, Bangalore has always had only a few select restaurants that allowed live band performances. Srinivas insists, "This ban is a move to curb our freedom of expression. Despite the 11.30 pm deadline, live gigs at one or more pubs were being held. The new restrictions will severely hit musicians' earnings.

    Artistes claim that the government and the state's moral police have always taken a dim view of pubs and discs, associating live bands with prostitution, drugs, smoking pot and rapes. "Bands have often had to perform in unknown locations with no promotions from the fear of being caught,” points out Rahul Ranganath of Plunge band.
    Ranganath also adds that the 11.30 pm deadline is impractical as audiences start filtering in only post 9.30 pm. "With the government now hesitating to give land for open air performances at places like Palace grounds too, we will be left with no choices, although many bands have the money to conduct these events,” he says.

    Music fans too have been vociferous in their opposition to the ban and ordinary citizens too were part of the protests. Software engineer Ahmed Qasi says, “The law says live music cannot be played at pubs and restaurants and the later says we cannot dance or react to the recorded music being played. This simply means we are supposed to sit like statues when music is played.”

    “There has always been a problem in Bangalore either with the language of the bands performing and worse enough even the colour of the tee worn by them. International artistes visiting India prefer playing in the North-East, other metros and then Bangalore,” says die hard rock fan Mathew.

    Just as new talent is beginning to emerge in Bangalore (the Swarathma band won the Radio City band hunt earlier this year), the government appears to be averse to giving it the space to perform. Says Nithya Dayal, founder of music portal www.muziboo.com, “The result of moral policing getting tighter in Bangalore is that, none of the lounge bars or restaurants can have dance or dance floors and worst still no live music because that can provoke people into dancing! The worst hit places in Bangalore are places like Taika, Opus and few other pubs. The ban is disheartening, because things were slowly improving in Bangalore with bands and individuals getting a chance to perform to a live audience."

    Clubs hit too

    It isn't only the musicians and bands that have been hit by the latest missive from the government. Hard Rock café, which opened up in Bangalore in December 2007, abstained from holding live gigs regularly from the beginning, unlike its counterparts elsewhere in the country.

    HRC Bangalore marketing manager Misha Pamnany recollects, “Bangalore was a city with live Jazz, Karaoke, rock and DJ nights at every second block, but today when the music boom is happening all over India, such a ban means death of music in the city.”

    “When we came to Bangalore, we envisioned that the law would change eventually, but the scene has worsened in the past few months. With the 11.30 pm deadline, they were curtailing entertainment to some extent but by banning the live performances, the night life has completely been slammed,” says Pamnany.

    Opus, known for its live gigs and a dedicated audience for performances too claims to have been affected adversely. Opus owner Gina Braganza says, “There has been a 50 per cent drop in the footfalls at our outlet. But we are not approaching the government for a solution right now.”

    Is migration the solution?

    Event managers who have already booked shows for the year end in Bangalore with international artistes, are looking out for other venues due to the unexpected ban.

    “If you consider migration to other cities as a solution, it is easy for a DJ to shift base and move on but when it comes to a whole band migrating to another place, it is not easy,” avers Srinivas.

    Ranganath adds, “Known bands can at least make a living by performing outside Bangalore. Migration of bands to other cities is already happening and bands are even performing for free just to gain exposure outside Bangalore.”

    Pereira joins in, “Musicians from Bangalore are migrating to other places as only small shows are happening here now. Many pre-organised shows have been cancelled and it is only the half hour shows that happen during the day time for music lovers. Such shows are organised at short notice, via networking sites and there is no money in such gigs.”

    No integrity in voice

    An element which is hitting the protest is the lack of integrity among the bands, pub owners and musicians. As Srinivas remarks, “The problem lies in the fact that not many bands turned up for the protests. They felt the protests would only help the pubs which wouldn't fight for their cause."

    “There is groupism among the bands too on the basis of genre like rock and roll, electronic, metal etc. There is no professionalism within the musicians and this division is a major hurdle within the community. Everybody is not united for this cause and we don’t believe in the protests,” comments Ranganath. “Protests will not help as nobody seems to be bothered with our problems. The solution will be big organisers taking interest in some bands and then working to promote them”.

    VeriSign unveils fraud detection module

    Aimed at organisations looking to minimise the costs and negative fall-out from fraud, the VeriSign Identity Protection (VIP) Fraud Detection Service Stock Trading Module is the first of its kind to protect traders at the transaction level, tracking behaviour specific to stock trading scams.

    The module uses the VIP Fraud Detection Service's self-learning behavioral engine to spot pump and dump activity by tracking and weighing multiple factors including stock risk, user behaviours, how trading compares to typical fraudulent trades and the network effect that occurs when many users are making similar trades.

    The VIP Fraud Detection Service Stock Trading Module will help prevent losses attributed to stock manipulation schemes that artificially hype the price of a thinly-traded stock or penny stock. One type of scheme dupes legitimate traders into buying such a stock on rumour.

    Another scheme involves the takeover of user accounts and purchases penny stock in large quantities. In both cases, when the stock price rises, fraudsters quickly dump their shares, collecting gains for themselves and causing investors and brokerages to lose money.

    To demonstrate the losses attributed to pump and dump schemes, in June 2008, Dow Jones Newswires reported that a particular pump and dump scheme involving stock from GTX Global netted more than $31 million in profits1. And in the fall of 2007, Kiplingers.com reported that pump and dump schemes from spam campaigns alone cost investors billions of dollars a year, according to SEC estimates2.

    Chris Christiansen, program vice president, Security Products and Services at IDC, said: "New stock frauds are far more sophisticated than the 'traditional pump and dump' scams. The attacks enable criminals to fraudulently pump up an unknown stock's price via unauthorised purchases from co-opted accounts. VeriSign offers a unique service that protects traders at the transaction level and customer's accounts from being compromised."

    Because VeriSign can detect the fraud while it's taking place, traders and brokerages are protected from potentially huge losses. Until now, brokerages had to rely on counter measures including restrictive stock trading or solutions that only alert brokerages after trading has taken place and the money is already gone.

    Fran Rosch, vice president of Identity and Authentication Services at VeriSign, said: "Fraud isn't just a cost of doing business, it also undermines consumer confidence. With the new Stock Trading Module, we extended the existing functionality of our VIP Fraud Detection Service to proactively identify fraud before damage can be done. Preventing pump and dump types of schemes makes a huge difference, and it's one only VeriSign can provide."

    India:Watch-out for Fake CV's

    A talent crunch and pressure to recruit are leading Indian companies into a new fight—against fake résumés.
    Till now, the problem was thought to be restricted largely to the information technology (IT), IT-enabled services (ITeS), banking and insurance sectors. In the last six months, consumer goods, retail and health care firms have seen increasing instances of staffers fudging résumés and claiming non-existent qualifications.
    Companies are gradually waking up to the problem. Ashish Dehade, managing director, West Asia, First Advantage Pvt. Ltd, a background screening and verification company, says that more than 90% of the registered companies still don’t undertake detailed background checks on education, address, previous employment, criminal record, if any, and references.
    But if most companies are making do with limited lines of enquiry, some large companies have begun to insist on comprehensive checks. The growing importance of candidate verification has spawned a new business opportunity for background screening companies.
    ICICI Bank Ltd, for instance, found that of the 17,000 new recruits in 2007, 400-500 had misrepresented facts in their résumés, says K. Ramkumar, group head of human resources, or HR, for the bank.
    Sony Entertainment Network, now known as Multi Screen Media Pvt. Ltd, puts the percentage of fudged résumés at 3% of total new hires. The discrepancies include falsification of educational qualifications, work experience, job roles and projects, and inflated compensation figures. Some also submit fake certificates and documents, say HR managers.
    “It is a serious issue that can have long-lasting repercussions,” says Rohit Mahajan, executive director, forensic services, KPMG India. A bad hire not only impacts business efficiency, but can have consequences such as theft of intellectual property, leakage of confidential information or misuse of resources.
    Experts say that in the current talent crunch scenario, potential employees see an opportunity to overstate their qualifications to meet job specifications. “In a booming market, recruiters are under pressure to hire people in a short time, and a background check is most often done cursorily,” says A. Sudhakar, executive vice-president of HR at Dabur India Ltd.

    Managers link the growing incidence of discrepancies in résumés to companies ramping up operations and hiring. “Whenever there are large job opportunities, some candidates and recruiting firms don’t hesitate in cheating for gains,” says Dehade.
    Companies such as Wipro Ltd, Infosys Technologies Ltd and Satyam Computer Services Ltd take action against those involved in fudging résumés, including terminating services and blacklisting such candidates and recruiters.

    Last year, ICICI Bank set up a fraud prevention unit. It functions as an independent auditor and keeps an eye out for risks and frauds threatening the organization, including recruitment-related fraud. All new employees at the bank have to undergo full background checks. Like many organizations, the bank outsources its candidate verification process to specialist agencies, says Ramkumar.
    While a number of companies sign up with specialist agencies, others—such as Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd and Samsung India Electronics Pvt. Ltd—keep track through an in-house reference check process.
    Prabir Jha, global head of HR at Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, says that the HR department not only calls up referees provided in a résumé, but also contacts the candidate’s previous boss, peers and juniors before hiring. “We did not hire a senior executive with an otherwise strong track record after we found out from his former colleagues and juniors that his people skills were poor,” says Jha. “For us, working in a team is one of our core values and we obviously can’t compromise on that.”
    Jha adds that the extent of background checking also depends on the nature of the industry. “The space that we operate in is a niche space and, therefore, finding out about an employee is easier in comparison to, say, the IT or ITeS industry.”
    Multi Sscreen Media has dedicated people within its sourcing team, which oversees the background check process. The company also hires third-party agencies for the verification process, says senior vice-president, HR, Anjani Kumar.
    Since 2006, companies across sectors have begun taking background checks seriously. Earlier, companies would verify the antecedents only of senior executives; now some are doing it across all levels.
    “Even five years ago, there was no concept of background checking in the corporate world; the practice has only picked up in the last couple of years,” says Mahajan. “Companies are realizing that the possibility of fraud is higher among people with integrity issues than those who don’t (have such issues).”
    Forensic practice
    KPMG’s forensic practice helps organizations conduct background checks. The key offerings of KPMG’s background verification services include database verification, which helps clients ascertain if the candidate has been reported for any misconduct; education, employment and reference verification; criminal verification; and address verification.
    First Advantage’s Dehade gives an example of how senior executives, too, aren’t above all this. Recently, a centre head was being considered for a senior post at a multinational bank. The mid-level executive was moving from a technology company and had impeccable credentials. After handing him the offer letter, the bank got First Advantage to do a background check.
    During investigation, it was found that the candidate had deliberately not submitted his relieving letter. “On probing and checking with his previous employer, it was found that the candidate was terminated on grounds of improper conduct,” says Dehade, who declined to name the bank.
    Tata Consultancy Services Ltd, or TCS, which recently sacked 20 employees for furnishing fudged résumés, has a team within its recruitment unit that oversees the verification process. At TCS, a candidate’s credentials are verified on various parameters through specialized agencies

    The increasing focus on verification by business houses can be gauged by the growth of background screening companies.
    The space includes Poway (California)-based First Advantage, which has an Indian unit, Mumbai-based Screen Facts Services Pvt. Ltd, Gurgaon-based AuthBridge Research Services Pvt. Ltd, Noida-based Onicra Credit Rating Agency of India Ltd, and Bangalore-based Global Screening Services. According to First Advantage, there are more than 200 background screening companies in the country.
    First Advantage, which started operations in India in 2001, grew to 300 employees by the end of 2005. Now it has a staff of 1,000. It had only one client in 2001; today it has more than 1,000 companies seeking its services. In March, First Advantage acquired Kuala Lumpur-based TP Verify Screening Services Pvt. Ltd along with its 125 employees in India and about 250 people across locations in the Asia-Pacific.
    Similarly, AuthBridge has grown from three employees in August 2005 to 200 now. The number of clients has increased from just two in 2005 to 150-plus. In the last year, AuthBridge added three sales offices in Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad.

    Still, most companies make do with limited enquiries, restricting the process to reference or address checks. “The reasons preventing companies from undertaking proper verification range from lack of awareness, nature of the industry they operate in (the prevalence rate of fake résumés is higher in fast-expanding general industry sectors), time constraints, resources and costs involved,” says Dehade.
    The cost of employee checks can range from Rs350 to Rs7,000 for junior- to mid-level recruits. For senior-level recruits, it ranges from Rs12,000 to Rs15,000, depending on the level of due diligence a company requires.
    “There are also no defined and streamlined processes to conduct checks at institutes, police stations,” says KPMG’s Mahajan
    The seriousness with which the issue is tackled varies from company to company. “While some organizations treat a difference of even three days in the past employment tenure as a serious discrepancy, there are organizations which let pass even a difference as high as 30 days as an area of minor concern,” says Ajay Trehan, chief executive officer, AuthBridge.
    “Companies in India don’t lodge complaints of white-collar fraud with the police. In that sense, we are letting the same people (fraudsters) circulate in the system,” says Ramkumar of ICICI Bank. “So, unless an organization is very vigilant, it is difficult to curb this menace.”
    The industry body for technology companies,National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom), is the only organization which has a centralized database of employees working in the IT and business process outsourcing (BPO) sectors. The data contains third-party verified information pertaining to the education, career track record and personal details of professionals in the IT/BPO sector.

    Unlike the IT and ITeS industries, says Ramkumar, they have no central database where employers can notify candidates or recruiters adopting fraudulent practices. For instance, candidates whose résumés have anomalies in employment tenure in excess of three months are asked to leave the organization, he adds.
    “However, a smart company will make that extra effort to ensure that its employees have integrity and conduct themselves ethically,” says Dabur’s Sudhakar.
    Dabur’s HR team conducts pre-and post-employment reference checks and asks recruitment agencies to verify the personal credentials of candidates. For critical job roles, it hires independent agencies for background checks. Across the board, too, other companies are becoming more serious about the process as they become aware of the threat unscrupulous employees can pose.
    Look Out For:
    1. Large unexplained gaps between two employment periods or between education and start of employment
    2. Change of jobs at short intervals
    3. Jobs at a series of unknown/nondescript companies (not easily traceable)
    4. Mention of a period of self-employment or work for a relative
    5. Discrepancies between the type of work experience and technical skills claimed
    6.Too many details missing in a résumé—residential address lacks house/street number or pin code, work experience data has no mention of projects worked on, clients handled, etc., or educational details do not include any mention of year passed, specialization, subjects, etc.
    7.Inability to produce original documents, including degree certificates, marksheets, salary slips, bank statements, offer letter and relieving letter.

    India: Home to phishing websites

    India is the 14th ranked country worldwide that hosts phishing websites. Leading banks and their clients have been targeted over the past year. Lack of awareness by Indian net banking users have made phishing successful in India.

    PHISHING ATTACKS are no longer just a global phenomenon, but very much in the news closer home in India as well. As per the Internet Security Threat report released by Symantec in India on April 16, 2008, India is the 14th ranked country worldwide that hosts phishing websites. Mumbai is ranked highest in India regarding phishing sites with 38 per cent, followed by Delhi with 29 per cent and Bangalore and Chennai with 12 per cent each. Phishing has reached an alarming magnitude in the recent months. From siphoning of funds of innocent bank customers, phishers today have started looting donations meant for earthquake and tsunami victims also.

    The scam, which is called phishing is like fishing, fishing for your password and the idea being that bait is thrown out with the hope that someone will be tempted into biting. Phishing is the practice of scamsters setting up bogus websites that look like those of genuine banks, financial institutions and retailers like Amazon, Ebay, Paypal, in an attempt to trick consumers into giving up their credit card numbers. These criminals typically spam out authentic looking e-mails with duplicate addresses that seem to come from banks, credit card companies or online retailers. They pose as customer service representatives and request their online password and then they would use the passwords to obtain the credit card numbers. The e-mail subject headers warn the recipient of a problem with their account and in the e-mail there is either a form to fill out with personal information, or a link to the crook’s phoney website.

    Phishing has become a serious problem in India. Leading banks, or rather their clients, have been targeted over the past year. Lack of awareness by Indian net banking users about such fraudulent practices, have made phishing successful in India. With the success rate being high, phishing attacks have multiplied and have become more sophisticated. However, many of these frauds don’t get publicised as many banks don’t want to jeopardise their brand image and customer loyalty. In May, 2006, hoax mails were sent to internet-banking account holders of ICICI Bank asking for their internet banking login ID and password. ICICI Bank got into action immediately and sent out warning mails to all customers asking them to ignore the mail. Subsequently, HDFC Bank and Citigroup too were targeted. Now most banks have security teams, working to stay one step ahead of these fraudsters.

    In Chennai, a couple of days back, phishers struck a senior citizen and that too a retired bank manager. NV Srinivasan, a 72-year-old bank official was relieved of his lifetime savings of Rs 21 lakhs after he unintentionally gave away details of his bank account by opening a phishing mail sent to him, in the name of Punjab National Bank, asking him to update his personal details by clicking a link given in the mail, to make the bank account more secure. Srinivasan found his net banking facility blocked moments after he replied to the mail. He did not realise the extent of the fraud. “He then sent a mail to Neelam Singh, a person named as the signatory and security head of the Punjab National Bank in the phishing mail. When he did not get a reply to the mail, Srinivasan went and checked with the bank, only to find that Rs 21 lakh had been withdrawn from his account,” a CCB official said. Initial investigation by the CCB bank fraud wing and the cyber crime cell has revealed that a woman had withdrawn the amount from an ICICI bank branch in Mumbai.

    Better awareness should be created among people transacting through net banking. People getting such mails should immediately check with the bank concerned. And before performing any banking transactions through the net, follow the instructions provided by the banks and look for security emblems and marks on the home page of the bank.

    It should also be noted that banks never contact by e-mail asking for password or any other sensitive information. Most important, never ever follow a link in an e-mail. Instead, go directly to the valid company’s site then log on from there or call the company directly or type its URL directly into the address bar of your browser.
    Confirm the URL’s authenticity by looking for the padlock icon in the browser’s toolbar, which signifies a secure site. Never use the same password for all of your online accounts and never store online account information and passwords in files on your computer. Monitor your online accounts. Make sure all transactions are valid. Never send personal or financial information to anyone via email.

    Awareness and knowledge is still the most efficient protection against internet fraud. There are several websites and anti-phishing working group dedicated to giving free education regarding internet fraud. Beat the phishers and do not bite the bait of these online ’phishers’ angling for account information !

    Microsoft warns of latest Windows Live Hotmail Phishing Scam

    Microsoft is warning Windows Live Hotmail users of a recent phishing scam that asks for the person's username, password, date of birth, and country or territory. It's not clear why the software giant has taken the time to warn users of this particular phishing scam, as this definitely isn't the first Microsoft- or Hotmail-related one.

    Hopefully, it has nothing to do with its success rate, but it's likely due to the fact that the e-mail claims it is from the Windows Live Hotmail team, both in the signature and at the start: "This Email is from Hotmail Customer Care and we are sending it to every Hotmail Email User Accounts Owner for safety."

    Another Beijing Olympic SCAM

    It’s amazing that as each day goes past at the Beijing Olympics, we hear about another scandal. Thankfully, this time it’s not about athletes being drugs cheats, but is rather about the opening ceremony’s attempt to fool the public.

    As well as some superimposed fireworks, it’s also come out that the gorgeous little Chinese girl in the red dress who ‘sang’ the patriotic song ‘Ode to the Motherland’ didn’t even sing a note. Cute Lin Miaoke mimed the entire song and was only chosen to appear in the opening ceremony because she was considered to be more visually appealing than the child that actually sang the song.

    The musical director of the ceremony, Chen Qiganag, stated that the actual singer, Yang Peiyi was not chosen because they wanted to “project the right image, we were thinking about what was best for the nation”. Apparently what’s right for the nation isn’t showing a normal
    seven-year-old with a slightly chubby face and crooked teeth, but a perfect, flawless face that can’t sing a note. Maybe the Chinese are more like us Westerners than we realize.



    Sample: A Typical PHISHING EMAIL

    DO NOT I repeat DO NOT fall prey for Emails asking Passwords,User Id,Date of Birth, Etc...

    Any Doubts just Google them, The Content...

    3 held for preparing fake documents

    Three persons, who allegedly promised people to send them abroad by preparing fake documents required for the purpose but later cheated them, were arrested on charges of fraud.

    The three were identified as Hamid, Ansar Ahmad and Azad alias Pappu. Documents recovered from the three included fake identity cards, driving licences, passports, cheque books, some stamps of various government departments along with cash amounting to Rs 45,500.

    All the three were living in Duda colony in Para under Talkatora police circle. Hamid was a resident of Budhramnagar in Maharajganj district, Ansar belonged to Tenduhari in Balia while Azad is a resident of Yusufnagar in Naibasti in Gonda district.During their interrogation, it came to light that the three owned a travel agency in Saadatganj area of the city, named Hashim and Haider Travel Agency.

    Admitting to their scam, the three told the police that they used to take money from people by promising them of sending them to other countries.

    During the interrogation, another thing that came to light was that after cheating a considerable number of people in the city, the three use to shift their base to Mumbai for the next few days in order to avoid being caught.

    Talking to media persons, the police said that the arrested were staying on rent in Talkatora area and investigations were on. They also said that if the house owner is found guilty of not filling the tenant verification form, then action will be taken against him. Police were also investigating if the three were involved in other such cases in other cities as well.


    Malaysian detained in India over credit card scam

    A Malaysian cook’s shopping spree using fake credit cards to purchase electronic items came to an end after he was nabbed by the city’s police following a tip-off last week.

    The 24-year-old suspect, who arrived in Bangalore via Chennai on July 24, was believed to have obtained seven international cards from another person, whom police have yet to identify.

    Before his arrest the suspect had purchased items worth nearly RM15,000 in India’s IT capital.

    “He was arrested after a senior official of Citibank informed the police. The accused had bought a laptop and watches from stores in Forum and Lifestyle.

    “During investigations, he confessed to have created fake credit cards of several leading banks by using the photo copies of the passport belonging to a Chinese national Lee Ken Xiang, along with another associate, Ali,” Ashoknagar police inspector A.B. Devaih told Bernama.
    Using the suspect’s mobile phone, police are now probing whether he was linked to an international credit card syndicate operating in India, which is fast becoming a target for the crime.

    “Having seized a mobile from him we are investigating if there is a local nexus and at the same time, we can’t rule out of foreign element in this gang,” said Devaih.

    Police are also investigating how the suspect, who hails from Kuala Lumpur, was in possession of two passports in different names.


    Currency scam has terror links?

    What has baffled the security agencies inquiring into the fake currency racket is the fact that though Rs 1.62 crore worth fake currency has been detected, assets of the two persons arrested for their involvement in the case are nowhere close to even 10 per cent of what they are believed to have pocketed.

    Arrested bank cashier Sudhakar Tripathi is reported to have told investigators that on every Rs 1,000 worth fake currency they saved 35 per cent (of the face value) and the rest was forwarded to suppliers of the fake currency across the border.

    The RBI teams screening the money have detected a total of Rs 1.62 crore of fake currency notes till late on Friday evening.

    Even going by Sudhakar's own admission, the two must have got Rs 50 lakh. But the assets in possession of the two are nowhere close to the profit they have earned from the racket. "Sudhakar, who lived in a rented house, has bare minimum household goods. There are no costly gadgets or clothings or anything else that can justify his earnings," said a senior officer of a Central agency probing the fake currency racket.

    Though sleuths did find a four-wheeler and electronic gadgets at Abid's residence, the total value of items available in his house was much below the amount he is suspected to have earned in the last six months.

    The Central agencies believe that either both the accused have kept the money somewhere or the cash has been forwarded to fund other activities in the country. "After all, there has to be something on which they have spent their money," commented an officer.

    Meanwhile, the first confession by Sudhakar that he had put in Rs 1.5 crore in the chest was blown to bits when RBI team, screening the currency notes, traced another Rs 37.62 lakh worth counterfeit currency from a total of Rs 50 lakh screened so far. The total seizure has now shot up to Rs 1.62 crore.

    "I have this hunch that the magnitude of the racket will turn out to be much bigger than what we have imagined," said additional director-general of police (ADG), STF, Brij Lal who has been supervising the investigation from day one. Meanwhile, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) took over the fake currency case on Friday. The SIT unit led by superintendent of police (SP) Anil Kumar along with two deputy SPs and a host of inspectors and sub-inspectors (SIs) reached Siddharth Nagar on Friday morning and took over all documents related to the investigation into the case from the Dumariaganj police station and started the probe afresh.


    Beijing Olympic Ticket-scam victims could lose air fares

    ASSOCIATED costs such as cancelled air fares and accommodation will not be refundable to victims of the Beijing Olympics ticketing scam through their credit-card providers because the purchases cannot be classified as disputed transactions, Visa Australia has warned.
    Instead, it may be up to the discretion of hotels and airlines to decide whether to waive terms and conditions for those who unknowingly bought fake tickets to Olympic events. And while travel insurance policies typically cover cancelled travel plans due to illness, victims of fraud may not find themselves so lucky.
    The chief executive of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents, Mike Hatton, said a consumer's chance of recouping all their associated costs with the ticketing scam other than the cost of the fake ticket would depend on the airline ticket's terms and conditions, and an individual hotel's cancellation policy.
    Yesterday, another site identified by the Herald offering fake tickets to Olympic events - theonlineticketexchange.com - was closed down. The site is one of a number of linked online ticketing merchants linked to a ticket tout in Britain, Terance Shepherd, now believed to have fled to Barbados.
    The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has declined to comment on investigations into the worldwide fraud, other than to confirm the authority is working on the case with the International Consumer Protection Enforcement Network.
    Mr Shepherd is thought to have made millions out of the alleged scam with victims as far afield as New Zealand, Hong Kong, Canada and the United States. In NSW and Victoria, at least $200,000 worth of fake tickets have been identified so far.
    Neither Visa Australia nor any Australian credit card providers - namely banks - will be exposed financially by the scam, however, because it is the merchant's bank (referred to as the acquiring financial institution) which must ultimately pay up for the dishonoured purchases, refunding the banks which in turn pass the refund on to the credit card holder.
    The Herald understands that no Australian bank has acted as an acquiring financial institution to any of Mr Shepherd's myriad operations, which are based in Britain but apparently registered in the United States.
    The Herald has, however, seen copies of two emails sent to Mr Shepherd in 2006 by the Cologne institution Pago eTransaction Services GmbH, which is part of Deutsche Bank.

    The first email demands an explanation over excessive chargebacks the bank was shouldering from Mr Shepherd's online site Theonlineticketshop in 2006. The second email, dated July 26, 2006, informs him that his website has been identified as an illegal operation and financial services were being withdrawn immediately.
    "The website 'theonlineticketshop' was identified for unauthorised sale of tickets which has been confirmed through a test transaction.
    "On the basis of these facts, as the acquirer, we are being urgently requested by the credit card organisations [for both Visa and MasterCard] to stop processing immediately," the email said. It was signed by Pago's risk manager, Daniela Christoffel.
    Theonlineticketshop was placed into liquidation three months later, but was subsequently bought by another company that was linked to Mr Shepherd, Xclusiveticket.com.
    In March 2003, Mr Shepherd, who also uses the spellings Terrence and Terence, was banned in Britain from being a director of a company for 3½ years.
    But he continued to control his Sports Mondial operations, which were subject to Supreme Court action in Australia in 2003 over the illegal procurement of tickets for a National Rugby League grand final. Last November he was banned from being a director for a further six years.

    Source:The Sudney Morning Herald

    Country Club India Bangalore - Top Scamsters

    Two years ago, I have become as a member of Country Club India with Country Kuteeram site as an offer with free air tickets and stay at any touristic location in India. But I have not received any of the promises. Now also Country Club is promoting all their cheating schemes. If anyone knows how can I get back my money back please let me know. I would be grateful to you.Thanks, Paul.

    British fraud ran Beijing Olympics ticketing scam

    The mastermind behind the Beijing Olympics ticketing scam is believed to be a Briton with a long history of operating fraudulent ticketing schemes, and it is not the first time Australians have been caught in his web.

    Terance Shepherd, 49, a London online tout, was planning to "go out in style", a former colleague warned last year, after a British newspaper exposed another of his websites, onlineticketshop.com, for selling non-existent World Cup tickets for English matches for up to $6000 each.

    Now believed to be hiding in Barbados, Shepherd had planned "one last massive sting" before slipping into retirement, a Sydney private investigator, Ken Gamble, whohas been tracking the fraudster's activities since 2003, told the Herald yesterday.

    Mr Gamble has compiled a dossier that includes more than 150 online ticketing websites allegedly having been operated by Shepherd, including http://www.olympicticketsbeijing 2008.com. Most have been registered to a company, Xclusive Leisure and Hospitality, at Suite 700, 2415 East Camelback Road in Phoenix, Arizona.

    The internet is littered with victims' blogs about scams from numerous online ticketing sites which can be traced back to Shepherd's Phoenix business address, while he continues to live in a $3.2 million three-storey home in the south London suburb of Blackheath.

    The sites are shut as soon asbuyers realise they have beenduped, but not before the operators have reaped hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Speaking from Amsterdam yesterday, Mr Gamble said that despite investigations by world soccer's governing body, FIFA, Britain's Football Association and rugby union officials, Shepherd had continued to dodge authorities by ensuring his name was never listed on any of the companies he controlled.

    "It's an extraordinarily well-organised syndicate of fake websites, which also deliberately oversells tickets for major events on legitimate websites," Mr Gamble said.

    "The story's always the same - it's an 'unfortunate mistake' or someone has 'let them down'. They promise a refund, which never happens."

    Shepherd came to the attention of the NRL in 2003 after his company, Sports Mondial, was found to have obtained illegally $22,000 worth of tickets for the grand final. The Supreme Court ruled that Sports Mondial was a black market ticket seller and ordered it to refund $36,450 to 81 clients who had bought hospitality packages that included dinner, champagne and tickets to the final.

    Not revealed at the time was a further $400,000 loss incurred by a big Sydney events company. About 700 tickets for corporate clients for Rugby World Cup matches were bought from a Shepherd syndicate for a total cost of $1 million. The director of the events company confirmed this to the Herald yesterday, on condition that his company and clients were not named. Only $600,000 worth of tickets were delivered, and none for the grand final.

    The director said that to honour his client's contract and protect his reputation he was forced to mortgage his home to buy an extra 180 tickets, at $3000 each.

    Last year Mr Gamble tracked down Shepherd's then Sydney frontman at the Rugby World Cup in Paris, where he was served a summons in relation to the 2003 scam.

    Neither he nor Shepherd has returned to Australia since.

    Source: The Age

    Scamsters use SEO to Commit Olympic Ticketing Fraud

    What happens when you take bad people with a must buy item (that they don’t actually have), Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) knowledge and a thirst for money at all costs? Well if you’re the con artists behind an olympic ticketing site you stand to make millions of dollars from unsuspecting consumers prior to being found out.

    When I first became aware of the scam on August 2, I noticed the website, www.bejingticketing.com was ranked 4th for the term “olympics tickets” on Google.

    After all of the free PR and the buzz created from the scam becoming public and more importantly the hundred of new links from media sites published around the world, the website jumped to the #2 spot a few days later. Thankfully the site has been taken down, but not before the damage was already done.

    From the first moment I saw the website it was clear very that SEO had been utilised to gain traction in search engines such as Google. The combination of highly targeted content and a professional design was a clear giveaway why it ranked so well and milked hundreds of people around the world out of their hard earned dollars.

    By using and repeating keywords focused around tickets for the various sports and Olympic ceremonies throughout the content, Meta Title and navigation, it’s easy to see that SEO formed the base of their marketing strategy from the beginning. These guys knew what they were doing and utilised SEO and links from other websites to drive traffic to their website.

    So who’s to blame? The scammers, the consumers for their lack of homework, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Beijing Olympics Committee (BOC) for not policing their own brands or Google for sending their customers to the site?

    Of course the real culprits are the criminals who took people’s money without providing the product. But I also believe, The IOC and BOC have to take some responsibility for not policing their own brands and trademarks. In an age where tools exist to keep track of where a brand is being used online the IOC and BOC could have identified the website sooner and dealt with it accordingly.

    While it’s easy to calculate the consumer loss, the damage done to the IOC’s and BOC’s brand is another story and ultimately very difficult to determine. Of course the IOC has overcome worse situations such as drug cheats, vote buying and corrupt officials so weathering this latest fiasco should be a breeze.

    However, if the same situation was applied to a well know business brand, the consequences could be devastating for the business if not dealt with appropriately. Today, tools such as Adgooroo’s Trademark Insight and services such as Online Reputation Management can be used to keep a close eye on a brand or trademark and companies can learn firsthand what consumers or scammers are saying immediately rather than waiting until it gets out of control.

    Blaming the consumer for not purchasing tickets from an official ticketing source is no longer the answer.





    Olympic ticket scammers still going for gold

    In the age of the P-p-p-p-powerbook and the ubiquitous 419 scammer, it comes as no surprise that many people have fallen for a Beijing Olympics ticketing scam that seems to have hit people all across the world. Due to the rarity of tickets for the games, and the particular setup of the scam site (and others), there has been a lot of money lost by many people as they struggled to get their hands on tickets that didn't exist. It is ticket scalping for the 21st century, made even more lucrative by the need not to actually provide any tickets to the victims.

    When MSNBC carried a Forbes Traveler article, initially published late February, it carried links to at least one fake ticketing site, sites that have since disappeared from the actual page, pulled sometime between the end of July and now, it led to implied legitimacy for the site and helped it gain a search engine position and helped lead many down the path of losing large amounts of money.

    By silently fixing the article, MSNBC have contributed to the confusion as to how people were led into believing the site was legitimate. If you or your site find yourself in the position of having to amend something that you have already published online, you need to make sure that visitors can tell that you have amended the original page and at least identify what has changed. MSNBC's silent fix, without any acknowledgement that the original links might not have been appropriate, is the worst possible way to deal with things, it is even worse than leaving the information as it was - at least then people could identify where the implied legitimacy had originated from.

    Just to make it clear, this is NOT THE REAL BEIJING GAMES TICKET SITE, this one is. Does it mean that the Chinese Olympic organisers have failed to secure all probable online domains before selling tickets? It is impossible to completely close off the multitude of possible domains that might be set up to try and sell tickets, so the organisers aren't really at fault for that. Could they have made more effort to secure likely domains? Probably. Then again, hindsight is always perfect.

    Key to the whole incident is how trust is allocated and determined when interacting with new sites on the Internet. It actually highlights one of the biggest problems with establishing viable online trust. If a site, such as MSNBC, that you would normally otherwise trust, provides a link to a malicious site and claims it is legitimate, how would you be able to differentiate if the link is malicious if you had never been there before? Under almost any trust model that exists, the site would have gained trustworthy status earlier this year, when MSNBC first linked to it. Where the trust breakdown took place was when people failed to receive their tickets and it was realised that the site was claiming ticket availability for events that had long been completely sold out. Some of the more advanced trust models that are in development (such as the one developed by Sûnnet Beskerming) would have given the site a dubious weighting, but would have struggled to offset the implied trust delivered by other sites against the Official Beijing site, which should have been the only one to offer tickets for sale.

    All you need to trick people into giving you their money, it seems, is to have a flashy website and promise delivery in the future for some desirable item. If you want to find out more about the risks and what sites are scamming people, one of the best resources for those who are trying to hunt down the people behind the various scams is over at beijingticketscam.com.


    Olympics-Australia says can't help in ticketing scam

    Australia's Olympic Committee offered sympathy but no solutions on Monday to scores of Australians who have lost money in an Internet ticketing scam.

    The Australian press reported that some people had been swindled out of almost $45,000 after buying tickets for various Beijing Games events from unauthorised websites.

    Many of the orders were placed months ago and the deception has only just come to light after the promised tickets failed to arrive in the post.

    "Our sympathy goes to them ... but we certainly aren't in a position to step in, compensate or find other tickets," Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates said.

    "We warned folk to only deal with authorised ticket suppliers," he told a news conference.

    Coates said that among those who had lost out were parents of some of the Australian athletes, the former opposition leader for New South Wales state and even an Olympic official.

    While there was not much the committee could do, Coates said efforts were being made to "scrounge tickets" for relatives of some of the softball team who had succumbed to the scam.

    "There is nothing at the moment. We are just waiting," he said.

    One of the sites quoted by the Australian media was still operating on Monday, offering seats for numerous events, including the Aug. 8 opening ceremony, with prices topping $2,150.

    The professional-looking site provides a London phone number and a U.S. mailing address.

    "We can't be expected to go over the net and find the sites that are misleading. We just don't have the ability," Coates said, defending himself from suggestions his committee could have done more to warn of the dangers.

    "We have at no time advised people to buy from offshore websites ... and we made it quite clear we are powerless to take action against an offshore operator," he added.

    Australians were allocated 31,000 tickets for the Beijing Games against just 19,000 at the 2004 Athens Olympics, but the extra seats proved insufficient for the sports mad nation.

    Coates said people should now be careful about buying tickets on the e-Bay auction website.

    "There may be tickets on eBay that are delivered ... but I think it is a great risk. That would be my message," he said.

    Australian Beach Volleyball competitor Natalie Cook said her heart went out to those who had lost out.

    "It would be a nightmare. Accommodation here was tough and very expensive ... to spend all that time and effort to come and see children play. My parents would be distraught," she said.


    Parliamentary probe begins into 'cash-for-vote' scam

    The Parliamentary committee examining the 'cash-for-vote' scam got down to business on Monday by viewing audio and video tapes of the sting operation about the scandal which rocked the Lok Sabha during the trust vote on July 22.

    The seven-member committee will also record the evidence on August 7 of three BJP MPs who shocked the nation by tabling bundles of currency notes alleging that the money was given to them as bribes to abstain from the trust vote.

    The committee headed by senior Congress MP V Kishore Chandra Deo has been asked to submit its report by August 11. But Deo said the panel will seek extension till the month-end to complete its task.

    After watching the tapes for nearly three hours, the committee has asked the Lok Sabha Secretariat to make the transcript available to the members.

    The committee also asked CNN-IBN channel, which had conducted the sting operation but came under BJP's attack for not telecasting it, to send its representative on August 11, Deo said.

    In their petition seeking a probe into the charge that attempt was made to bribe them to get their support in the trust vote, the three MPs -- Ashok Argal, Fagan Singh Kulaste and Mahavir Bhagora -- are believed to have named SP General Secretary Amar Singh and Congress leader Ahmed Patel. Both members of Rajya Sabha denied the charge.

    Panel receives two more tapes

    The committee also received two more tapes -- one from Amar Singh and another from expelled BJP leader Uma Bharti, who has been alleging the hands of the saffron party itself in the scam.

    Deo said the panel is not in a hurry to see the two tapes. "We have not seen them. We will watch them later if need be and whether they are relevant to the present case," he said.

    Deo also said that the committee will summon Samajwadi Party MP Reoti Raman Singh at a later stage. Singh, who represents Allahabad constituency, is a member of the Lok Sabha unlike Amar Singh and Patel who are members of the Upper House.

    Reoti Raman Singh has also been named by the three BJP MPs in their complaint.

    Deo avoided a direct reply whether Amar Singh and Patel would be summoned by the committee. "We have not come to that stage," he said.

    Replying to a question whether the committee could recommend expulsion of any members if found guilty, Deo said that the panel has the power even to recommend imprisonment for 40 days from from the last day of the session.

    KCOCA still toothless law

    How do lawkeepers invoke the provisions under the Karnataka Control of Organised Crime Act (KCOCA), 2000, when the government is yet to frame the rules to implement the Act?

    This question becomes relevant now, with Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa asking police officers to invoke the KCOCA provisions to curb criminal activities.

    The chief minister, while addressing police officers on Saturday, emphasised the need to tackle law breakers, including Naxalites, terrorists and goondas, by taking stringent action against them, including invoking the KCOCA.

    After much deliberation, the KCOCA 2000 received the President’s assent in December 2001, and came into effect from January 2002.

    However, no case has been booked under the Act so far. This, despite the terror attack at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, in 2005. The Home Department claims that the Act was used against Abdul Karim Telgi, accused in fake stamp paper scam.

    However, Telgi’s advocate denies it.

    No answers

    There are no specific answers from the government as to why the rules have not been framed.

    While political parties which ruled the State at different points have given some excuses, law department officials say the political will is lacking. Meanwhile, the police department has suggested a few amendments to the existing law.

    Says DG &IGP R Sri Kumar, “Applicability of the KCOCA depends on the circumstances and nature of the crime, and with regard to the law. There are certain stipulations: there should be at least two chargesheets on a person in last decade to book him under the law.”


    Extradited scamster produced in court

    Big-time economic offender and CEO of an international metal trading company, Narendra Rastogi, was on Saturday produced at a special sessions court here, following his extradition from the US on Friday. He has been remanded to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) custody till July 11.

    The CBI in its observation said that the financial fraud cases involving Rastogi — including that of the customs duty evasion case involving over Rs50 crore will be investigated thoroughly. Rastogi will be probed for his role in at least 13 cases, all registered with the CBI in Mumbai and Delhi.

    He was wanted by the CBI for causing loss to the Indian exchequer by way of faking documents while exporting non-ferrous metal to CIS countries. CBI sources said Rastogi, along with his brother Virendra, pretended to be in the business of ‘brokering trades in non-ferrous metals.’

    Rastogi was flown back to India following termination of his sentence in America in regard to a spate of anti-trust offences involving over $ 680 million in losses caused to at least 20 banks around the globe.

    A senior CBI officer said the agency was tracking affairs of the other Rastogi brothers — Virendra, Ravindra, Subash and cousin Rakesh (all co-conspirators) — since late 2000.

    The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s New York office in a press release (dated March 6, 2008) said that Narendra Rastogi controlled an elaborate network of hundreds of bogus companies around the world to serve as fake purchasers of metals so that the defendants could secure loan from banks. While Rastogi controlled the affairs in the US his brother Virendra managed the matters in the UK.

    The FBI release also detailed the scope and dimensions of the fraud confirming that hundreds of metal transactions upon which the bank loans hinged simply did not exist.
    The FBI had arrested Rastogi and three others in May 2002 for back-to-back defrauding of banks. The investigations into their fake business deals were jointly carried out by the UK’s Serious Frauds Office (SFO) and the FBI.