- Internet & the Web
Online & Internet Scams: Dead Sea Beauty Kit - The Italian Mafia Money Laundering Scam
Recently a friend of mine was sat one night on Facebook when she was offered the opportunity to take part in a survey. The survey appeared to be endorsed by Google and was offering the potential prize of over £50 worth of Dead Sea Beauty cream. As far as she was concerned this was a good incentive and she continued with the survey. At the end of the survey it was announced that she had been selected as one of the winners of the beauty cream but would have to provide personal details in order to pay a security deposit and shipping fees.
Although skeptical at first she decided that, as the survey had been endorsed by Google, it must be genuine. I had always told her in the past to be careful what information she supplies online but this survey looked so genuine that she really believed that Google were playing an important part in the distribution of the survey and therefore believed it was real. She supplied them with her details.
Approximately ten days later she logged into her bank account to find out that on her pay day a payment of £57 had been taken. As the debit had only just been made she would have to wait up to three days to find out what company the payment went to. A few days later it was confirmed that the payment was made to DS Marketing Ltd who own the DeadSeaKit.com website. This payment of £57 was documented as being used to pay for the Dead Sea beauty cream which she was supposed to have won for free. However, she had not even received the cream! She then arranged for her bank to prevent any further payments being made to the company and notified them of what had happened.
Rather unusually her bank had actually issued her with a new debit card between the time that the order was placed and the time that the money was debited from her bank account. However, DS Marketing Ltd somehow still managed to proceed with the transaction.
Upon my friend informing me of what had happened I did some investigating into the website. When I visited the website at first it all looked genuine and legal. However, the more I looked at it the more inconsistencies I started to notice. In actual fact, the DeadSeaKit.com website has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with genuine Dead Sea beauty products. The first oddity I noticed was that, despite the website seeming to be set up and registered by a London company, it has a PO Box return address in Israel for customers to supposedly return products they are unsatisfied with.
This made me curious so I decided to check the Whois servers to find out which address had been used to register the website's domain name and how many changes, etc had been made since it was set up. As it turns out, whoever set the website up had registered it at 788-790 Finchley Road, London which I soon discovered is an address massively associated with overwhelming amounts of serious organized crime! As it turns out this address had actually, so far, been used to fraudulently pose as over 930 legitimate companies with the purpose of defrauding customers and then laundering that money back to Israel.
Some of the companies these scammers had been posing as were: Capital Gardens, The Company Shop, Educational Services, Temple Fortune, Financial Global Assets Management, Mina Corp, Eyre International, Racix, Longbay Trading, National Insolvency Helpline, Minza Ltd and many many more. It also turned out that there were reports of paedophilia associated with this address; something which made me cringe. Further research showed that many governments were already aware of this scam and had been carrying out investigations for quite some time and even congress had been called in to try to pin these criminals down.
The more I researched the address the more unbelievable the truth about these scammers was becoming. A gigantic conspiracy against the government had become apparent originating from the London address. Here's a quote from a website I found on the issue (and the source link):
"I have previously reported that two British companies were involved in a massive scam to siphon off US Defence contract money and pass it on into the private sector. However, more information has now become available that clearly shows that our government may have been implicated in covering up the two named British companies.
Would it not be logic for our government to carry out its own investigation into these two companies as a back up to the US Congress, especially that they were both registered here in the United Kingdom?
It was as a result of the fine work carried out by my associate Gordon Bowden that more information has now become available and which clearly shows that our government has intentionally turned a blind eye to this disgraceful fraud."
To my even further amazement, I then discovered that Julian Assange's website WikiLeaks had released a diplomatic cable which shed new light on mysterious activities of Israeli's selling Dead Sea beauty products at malls in New Zealand and US. Consider all the controversy currently surrounding Julian Assange and his extradition.
Further reading suggested that the money is being fed back from Israel to the Italian mafia. In June 2008 18 people had been arrested by the Italian police in various parts of Italy. However, the arrest warrants had actually been issued by Magistrates in Florence as part of Investigation 899. The Italian police operation was called Operation Premium and was regarding a telephone scam to an 899 number.
Clearly the only way these criminals are ever going to be stopped is to make people aware of their presence.