Category Archives: fraud

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Wells Fargo to Pay out $575 Million for Scamming Customers After Rejecting Crypto Credit Card Transactions

wells fargo, cryptocurrency, credit card, payouts

In what could be the most ironic case for cryptocurrency investors in 2018 Wells Fargo, the third largest bank in the US has been hit with a $575 million settlement after scamming its customers over a period of 15 years.

The settlement will be of particular interest to cryptocurrency investors who have been repeatedly told by the banking giant that customers couldn’t use their credit cards to purchase cryptocurrencies due to them being a risky investment. In a statement, Wells Fargo cited the “multiple risks associated with this volatile investment.”

“Customers can no longer use their Wells Fargo credit cards to purchase cryptocurrency,” a bank rep said in a statement. “We’re doing this in order to be consistent across the Wells Fargo enterprise due to the multiple risks associated with this volatile investment.”

After a nationwide investigation, it has been revealed that Wells Fargo employees opened unauthorized credit cards and bank accounts using customers names between 2002 and 2017. The fraud occurred according to employees as they were worried about losing their jobs if they didn’t meet Wells Fargo sales targets.

The result was that many bank clients were illegally charged for financial services they didn’t receive, having not actually signed up for them, including life insurance and protection insurance on millions of auto loans. California attorney general Xavier Becerra commented on the company’s violation of consumer protection standards:

“Instead of safeguarding its customers, Wells Fargo exploited them, signing them up for products — from bank accounts to insurance — that they never wanted.”

The settlement is to be distributed amongst all 50 US states and the District of Columbia, followed by a restitution review to ensure all customers illegally charged for services are reimbursed.

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WSJ Finds Fraud, Plagiarism in Hundreds of Crypto White Papers

WSJ Finds Fraud, Plagiarism in Hundreds of Crypto Whitepapers

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published research findings on Thursday, 27 December, showing that hundreds of cryptocurrency white papers appear to contain fraud, plagiarism, or offer improbable returns.

Looking at the white papers for 3,291 cryptocurrency projects that announced initial coin offerings (ICOs), analysis from WSJ showed signs of “duplicate language” with almost 10,000 sentences appearing more than once in the papers. Journalists then checked the dates of first publishment on each of the reappearing sentences to determine the original author.

The identities of individuals allegedly involved in working on the cryptocurrency projects that had key personal information missing in the white papers had their identities checked through a reverse image search; 343 projects had individuals fall in this category. Team members without photos had their information verified via the 1 million plus people on the US Census Bureau.

Over 2,000 papers utilized terms such as “nothing to lose, guaranteed profit, return on investment, highest return, high return, funds profit, no risk, and little risk”, language that US state and Federal regulators have previously cracked down on by issuing cease and desist orders or filing charges in some cases.

Some 16%, or 513 of the white papers, were found to show evidence of either plagiarism, identify theft or promising implausible returns.

 

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Malta Halts Operation of Unlicensed Crypto Exchange

Malta Halts the Operation of an Unlicensed Cryptocurrency Exchange Possibly a Scam

Malta Financial Service Authority (MFSA) has issued a cease and desist order yesterday to SolutionsCM Ltd, an unlicensed cryptocurrency exchange serving its populace.

The order as displayed on the regulator’s website specifically addressed the infringement of art. 18 of the Italian Legislative Decree No. 58/1998 which the company was found in violation of.

OriginalCrypto operated by SolutionsCM Ltd is purported to be a cryptocurrency investment brokerage firm where Bitcoin trading services are being offered with leverage options. Other services claimed by the website included trading with “over 200 high-liquidity assets, stocks, commodities, indices, currencies and much more based only on CRYPTO Exchange”.

The platform offers six account types, each of which requires a minimum BTC deposit before the account is activated.

The financial regulator feared that its citizens may be patronizing an unlicensed exchange exposing them to high-level financial risks and issued out the warning message:

“The Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa (CONSOB) has ordered the following companies to cease infringement of art. 18 of the Italian Legislative Decree No. 58/1998, consisting of the provision of unauthorized investment services and activities to the Italian public performed by SolutionsCM Ltd via the www.originalcrypto.com website.”

Several discrepancies raising red flags, including information on account types in Russian, which translates to: “LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY “SAMDAR” | Registration date: 13.11.2017 | Legal address: 108841, Moscow, Troitsk, ul. 2nd Scientific, d. 4/2, pom. Vi, com. 3 | OGRN 5177746199791 | TIN 7751116026 | KPP 775101001 | OKVED 46.73 Settlement Account No. 40702810538000154658 in PJSC Sberbank Moscow BIC 044525225 | f / c 30101810400000000225 . Email : support@Originalcrypto.com”.

Earlier this year, ScamBitcoin, a monitoring blog that notifies the public of cryptocurrency-related scam operations, blacklisted the site as a scam. Further analysis revealed unsettling discoveries. Back then, ScamBitcoin documented the Risk Disclosure tag which read:

https://www.scambitcoin.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/originalcrypto-footer.jpg

ScamBitoin added: “We could find no evidence to support that Bali Limited Ltd was an actual corporation. The alleged corporate address provided for Bali Limited Ltd does not appear to be a factual physical address and computes to a variance of their disclosed address”.

Now, the footer of the website has changed the location and company, reflecting a change in the corporation’s management, which leaves some questions unanswered, such as whether the corporation, if at all real, had changed ownership and no press release detailing the changes were made known to the public. More so, the current operator’s address still conflicts with the official address provided.

This year only, numerous exchanges have received similar desist orders from different jurisdictions. Bitcoin News reported Texas Securities Board’s sanction on two exchanges, Thailand’s SEC’s warning about Q Exchange.

Malta has always been a crypto friendly area, and one racing to be the first innovative ideal space for companies to establish their blockchain businesses. It has made efforts to grow its fintech infrastructure to accommodate the blockchain technology by providing the first regulatory frameworks for cryptocurrency business, and also through partnerships and memoranda of understanding with cryptocurrency exchanges. Further, Italy seems to be tightening its grip on non-compliant exchanges.

 

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Blockchain Voting May Be Only Route to Accuracy at the Polls

Paper-based voting is beginning to have its detractors, despite an African politician’s recent animosity towards electronic-based counting techniques planned for the polls in the lead up to Congo’s General Election in December.

Blockchain is being tested in all areas and voting is a field where it could have a significant impact, improving on some existing electronic methods which have been introduced in some regions to provide speed and clarity to the process of electing a government, council or simply making some changes to civic laws.

As the US administration still hedges its bets that things will blow over regarding accusations of Russian interference in the process which led to president Trump’s election, nations around the globe are looking for ways to add far more transparency to the end product of electioneering.

The US has already trialed blockchain voting technology. West Virginia trialed it in this year’s mid-term Senate elections, while the labs in Switzerland’s Crypto Valley experimented with eID, a system designed to allow residents to vote electronically on civic matters. In Indonesia, a country with a 20-year history of vote rigging, an Australian blockchain company is currently working on a digital ballot box based on blockchain to solve this problem, after initial trials in Sumatra.

Estonia in Eastern Europe has been far ahead of the rest, using electronic voting in its elections since 2005 with 30.5% of all votes in their 2015 parliamentary elections cast through the country’s i-voting system. Japan has taken things further by trialing electronic voting with the secure backing of a DLT-based system using ID swipe cards, which are then encrypted.

While electronic voting is a step forward, it isn’t infallible unless backed by DLT. One non-DLT electronic voting system used only in Virginia recently subtracted one vote for every 100 cast. Another used in 23 US states had an unpatched vulnerability for over 11 years.

Congo’s upcoming election to replace President Joseph Kabila after 17 years as the country’s leader is already running into problems due to electronic voting before a vote has even been cast. The introduction of this form of voting and the government’s exclusion of a number of candidates from the ballot has enraged opposition parties. The introduction of tablet devices for the purpose of casting votes has provoked accusations that the machines are even more vulnerable to vote-rigging than paper and that Congo’s poor power supply could cause systems to fail during the election.

“They are not voting machines they are cheating machines,” argues opposition leader Jean-Pierre Bemba. “They are not reliable, too slow and there are 10 million fake voters who have already been registered. We, the opposition, have united to say no to the machines.”

According to followmyvote.com, who are attempting to build an online voting platform using blockchain tech, DLT is the only accurate and truly transparent way of reflecting the will of the people precisely and without error, suggesting on their website: “This way, everyone can agree on the final count because they can count the votes themselves, and because of the blockchain audit trail, they can verify that no votes were changed or removed, and no illegitimate votes were added.”

In the words of Joseph Stalin, perhaps one of recent history’s most infamous manipulators:

“It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.”

 

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