Clone firm scams multiply – Bridgepoint/IBM, Aberdeen/BT, TPG/AirBNB, Blackstone

The scammers behind the Volkswagen / Charterhouse bond clone scam have set up a number of similar webpages. Not surprising as web ink is cheap.

All share a number of common elements: a well known financial services firm, a corporate bond offered by another well-known firm (not necessarily financial), and a nonsensical claim that the bond is “FCA – FSCS compliant”. This and other specific terms unique to this scam identify the websites as run by the same scammers (unless another scammer is using copy-paste).

The websites in reality have nothing to do with either of the well-known firms.

The websites usually quote an ISIN code for a corporate bond that actually exists. They are targeting the kind of investor who does a bit of Googling, finds that the firm the scammer is pretending to be from and the investment they are offering exist, and happily hand their money over, thinking that they have “done their research”.

Naturally anyone who contacts the scammers and gives them their money will not be investing in the loan note; their money will be stolen.

The following web pages are all part of the scam at time of writing:

  • bridgepointbond.com – pretending to be Bridgepoint offering an IBM bond
  • btaberdeenbond.com – pretending to be Aberdeen Standard Life offering a BT bond
  • investmentbond-uk.com – pretending to be Charterhouse offering a VW bond
  • tpg-cap.com – pretending to be TPG offering an AirBNB bond
  • blckstone.eu (note the lack of an “a”): pretending to be Blackstone – appears to be already down so I can’t see who the supposed bond was with

Some of these websites have already been shut down, but it is likely that the scammers will continue to open new ones until they are caught (unlikely) or the well has run dry and it is no longer worth bothering (far more likely).

What should I do if I invested in one of the fake bonds listed above?

Your money has been stolen by scammers and the chance of recovery is minimal.

Investors who fell for this scam should change their contact details as they are likely to be targeted by – and fall for – similar scams in the future.

If anyone contacts you claiming they can recover your money, it is almost certain to be another scam. They will ask you for “legal fees” or similar which you will never see again.

Update with new scams:

The following websites are either part of the same clone firm scam, or a copycat which works in the same way.

  • capitalsecurebonds.com – pretending to be A&M Lewis Investments, offering bonds in Telefonica, Tesco and General Electric (added 5.4.19)
  • brexitbondsuk.com – non-existent company called BBSUKPLC, offering bonds in Telefonica, Tesco and GE Capital (added 5.4.19)
  • fixedreturninvestment.com – same as capitalsecurebonds.com, but styles itself “KH Services” at the top, still uses the details of A&M Lewis at the bottom (added 15.05.19)
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