Tory Lord tells peers about a weird Internet scam at great length

On February 16th, Lord David James of Blackheath (a Conservative life peer) spoke for 11 minutes in the UK House of Lords about a supposed $15 trillion federal reserve conspiracy that involved more gold than has ever been mined. It turned out he had fallen for a widespread scam.

“Mr. Riyadi has sent me a remarkable document dated February 2006,” Lord James continued, “in which the American Government have called him to a meeting with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.” That meeting, he said, “was witnessed by Mr Alan Greenspan, who signed for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York of which he was chairman, as well as chairman of the real Federal Reserve in Washington. It is signed by Mr Timothy Geithner as a witness on behalf of the International Monetary Fund. The IMF sent two witnesses, the other being Mr Yusuke Horiguchi.”

“These gentlemen have signed as witnesses,” he continued, “to the effect that this deal is a proper deal. There are a lot of other signatures on the document. I do not have a photocopy; I have an original version of the contract.

“Under the contract, the American Treasury has apparently got the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to offer to buy out the bonds issued to Mr Riyadi to replace the cash which has been taken from him over the previous 10 years. It is giving him $500 million as a cash payment to buy out worthless bonds. That is all in the agreement and it is very remarkable.”

Riyadi, as the tale continues, supposedly had 750,000 tons of gold backing the $15 trillion the United States took from him to prop up the U.S. dollar.

The World Gold Council, however, estimates the only 165,000 tons of gold have been mined in the history of the world.

British Lord fell for $15 trillion federal reserve scam

Shadowy organization publishes blacklist of writers who track down con-artists


One of the better services provided by the Science Fiction Writers of America is Writer Beware, maintained by Victoria Strauss and Ann Crispin, which lists scammy vanity publishers, book doctors, fake agents and other entities devoted to separating hopeful writers from their money.

Predictably, Writer Beware has attracted a lot of approbation from the people who appear in its annals, and this, in turn has spawned a mysterious website called "The Write Agenda," a front for shadowy, pseudonymous individuals who purport to be a writers' group that seeks to correct the record as set out by Writer Beware. The Write Agenda includes a blacklist of writers who spoken out in favor of Writer Beware, as well incoherent bilious rants about those who make it their hobby to expose scammers and con-artists.

I woke up this morning to discover that The Write Agenda has added my friend John Scalzi to its boycott list, but not me. Frankly, I'm jealous.

Unlike those who are going out of their way to trash Victoria, Ann and Writer Beware, I’m not hiding behind of phalanx of apparently fake groups, names and social media accounts — I’m an actual live person, actually working professionally in the writing industry, who actually knows Ann and Victoria and who has benefited from the hard work they have put into Writer Beware. If Writer Beware’s long and honorable history of sticking up for writers — and sticking it to scammers — isn’t enough to convince you of its good works, consider this my personal endorsement.

Returning to The Write Agenda, I’ll note that I myself am on its Author Boycott List. I could not possibly be prouder of this particular achievement of mine. As far as I can see it means that when it comes to being someone who speaks out for authors against those who would scam and deceive them, I am on the side of the angels — as are, I will note, rather a healthy number of writers and publishing industry professionals who I consider friends and colleagues. Indeed, I suspect that soon a number of other authors I know will go examine the list and be positively hurt they are not on the boycott list as well. I say: Try harder, my friends. Apparently all you need to do to get on the list is inform new and emerging writers about scammers, predators, and possibly also their deceptive front organizations. If you want to know how to get started on that, check with Writer Beware. It has some ideas for you.

Tracking down a con artist with PACER

On Saturday, I posted about Popehat's "Anatomy of a Scam Investigation," in which Ken, a former federal prosecutor, is documenting his work to run down a con-artist who tried to rip him off with the "toner scam." Yesterday, Ken posted a new installment in the series in which he documents the use of PACER, the database of court records, to research crooks. It's gripping stuff.

HOWTO track down a con-artist


Ken, a former "fed" (of some description) on the group blog Popehat, received a "toner-scam" (a scam whereby someone sends you an invoice for a service you never ordered or received in the hopes that you'll pay it without noticing) solicitation in the mail at his business. This pissed him off, so he decided to track down the scammers and document, in lavish detail, the process by which he ran them to ground. The series of posts is up to part four now, and it's fascinating reading.
For some reason, this one seriously pisses me off. Maybe its because the fraud is so blatant. Maybe it’s because the weasel-worded disclaimer designed to give them a defense to fraud claims is so perfunctory and lame. Maybe it’s because after I sent an email to the scammer’s lawyer, the scammer himself called me and tried to run a con on me. Like I’m a fucking rube.

So. I’ve decided to dedicate some time and money to investigating this scam and the people and companies responsible for it. I’ve also decided to write about the investigation, and use it as an opportunity to discuss con man culture and how anyone with an internet connection, a few bucks, and some time can investigate an attempted scam — or, preferably, conduct due diligence on a suspected scammer before they can even try to con you.

I’m going to discuss using Google, using PACER (which allows access to federal court records), using state court records, and taking effective action against scammers.

Anatomy of a Scam Investigation: Chapter One

Anatomy of a Scam Investigation: Chapter Two

Anatomy of A Scam Investigation, Chapter Three

Anatomy of A Scam Investigation, Chapter Four

(via MeFi)

Copyright complaint as phishing email

An anonymous bank worker writes, "What follows is the content of an email send to the whole company as a warning:"
A fraudulent email has recently made its way into xxxxxxxx entitled “Cease and Desist”. It claims to be from an individual or company informing you that your website is publishing copyrighted materials, and it includes a link to show which portions contain the infringements.

DO NOT click on the link – simply delete the email. See below for a sample of one of these emails.

From: Mark Wahlberg - WMLLP law [mailto:mark.wahlberg@wmllp.com]
Sent: Tuesday, August 16, 2011 7:39 AM
To: xxxxxxxxx
Subject: Cease and desist!
We hereby inform you that you are infringing on copyrighted material. I represent Phoenix Meresis/MBS LP. It has come to my attention that you have used and/or published on your website (commencing on or about May 18, 2011, pursuant to our information and good faith belief) and continue to publish without permission a number of pieces owned by Phoenix Meresis (webpages, text, images, animated clips, source code, etc.) at your site including, but not limited to, the following url references cited below.

INDEX OF YOUR INFRINGING WEBPAGES:

http://www.[website they want you to click]

Mark Wahlberg,
Bretz & Coven, LLP

I love that Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch have become a zombie front for a copyright phisher.