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US company falls prey to 'Bloomberg' frauds

A Californian software company has become the latest victim of the internet tricksters responsible for $3.9bn worth of fraud while posing as representatives of Bloomberg.
Written by Peter Warren, Contributor

A Californian software company has become the latest victim of the internet tricksters responsible for $3.9bn worth of fraud while posing as representatives of Bloomberg.

According to Jonathan Merrett, assistant director of the International Chamber of Commerce's cybercrime unit, who led the six month investigation into the internet-based fraud, the US company was delivered its death blow by the fraud involving fake versions of the Bloomberg and Euroclear websites. Merrett, who is spearheading his organisation's support for silicon.com's Fighting Fraud campaign, was approached by the owner of the business after details of the fraud in fake bank bonds emerged on the web. The company, which cannot yet be named, had struggled for sales after a disgruntled ex-employee launched a hate email campaign against the company and sent messages to its clients regarding legal action over an intellectual copyright issue involving its software. As a result, the desperate company owner attempted to raise venture capital to keep his business afloat and had been only too ready to believe the promises he was given by internet conmen posing as VCs. The bonds ranged in face value from $50m to $400m and appeared to come from a number of European banks. After being shown what appeared to be genuine authentication of the bonds on the mocked-up sites of the financial information service Bloomberg and Euroclear - the international clearing system for the settlement of transactions in securities and Eurobonds - the businessman paid a six-figure sum for the bogus bonds - a decision that Merret claims was the final straw for the troubled company. silicon.com is currently campaigning for an independent centre for reporting internet fraud to be set up so that individuals and organisations can disclose their experiences at the hands of online conmen. If you want to lend your support, send us an email at editorial@silicon.com
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