wine-searcher

Wine Name:
Vintage:

Friday, 23 October 2020

Warning scam cloned site: Fidelity International

 Scam Alert

 

Yesterday I received the email below from someone (JR) who had been emailed by 'Linda Parker' (almost certainly not her real name), an 'administrator' in the supposed 'Financial Investigations Unit, FILS Administration & Investigations' of 'Fidelity International'.

'May or may not interest you

This is an email I received - I called them and they say they are the financial investigation arm of Fidelity International investigating losses by their clients into fraudulent wine transactions. I do hold wine and they were able to cite details of some transactions I did contemplate 8 or 9 years ago. I was fairly guarded with them but they did come across as slightly unprofessional and potentially fraudulent. They did enquire about how I might intend to sell my holdings which raised alarm bells. When I look at the domain name they are using www.filsadministration.com, it is newly registered (7 October) through Wix which doesn’t seem something a multinational like Fidelity would do.

I suspect these guys have got hold of some data relating to genuine wine investors/portfolios and are now contacting those investors with scare stories and then are offering to market/buy their wine.  There is a chance I am wrong and this is genuine but seems unlikely to me.

Good website by the way.

Regards'

Email from Linda Parker: 

Begin forwarded message:

From: Linda Parkinson <admin@filsadministration.com>
Subject: URGENT RESPONSE REQUIRED
Date: 21 October 2020 at **:**:04 BST
To:  

                                       PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL
                        Do not circulate information contained in this email.
                   This email contains information Solely for the named persons and no other.



Dear  

Ref:  CW-341-POL

We are currently upholding a financial investigation of a highly sensitive nature, we are not investigating yourself but we hold information that we would like to discuss with you at your earliest convenience.

Due to the nature of our enquiries we do apologize for being quite limited in this email.


Yours Sincerely

Linda Parker.
Administrator.

 


Phone: +44 203 740 4635
Financial Investigations Unit.
FILS Administration & Investigations

 

JR was right to be suspicious. Linda Parker and the Financial Investigations Unit,
FILS Administration & Investigations is a scam – pretending to be part of Fidelity International. Checking on the phone number given by Linda Parker using the Who called me site shows that the number is rated as 'dangerous'. 

I suspect that this scam is a combination of advanced fee fraud and making JR's wine disappear through a putative wine deal that would rapidly go sour once any wine had been transferred to the fraudsters. 

As JR found out their website was only registered on 7th October 2020:  

 


 Following JR notifying WIX, the web hosting company, the site has disappeared: 

 


 

Fidelity appears to have been a target of scamsters for a while – not just wine but also cash ISAs offering an attractive rate of return. See warning from FCA in 2019:

 

Warning by FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) on 23rd July 2019.

 

Details of clone site 23.7.2019:

Back in July 2019 the scam contact was an 'Edward Harley'. 

Details of the real Fidelity Group (authorised by the FCA):  

 

Tips from Fidelity on avoiding scams. Their telephone numbers are: 017323-61144 or 0333-3003350.   



 

 

 

Thursday, 1 October 2020

Metropolitan Bond – another scam clone of the legitimate London City Bond site


NB: There are no miraculous stashes of wine left
over
from
bust European Fine Wines.


'I can confirm that all the wine purchased by the Company has been sold and I am not aware of any wine held in bonded warehouses or overseas.'
From the liquidator's latest report filed at Companies House on 8th September 2020

 

Here follows the latest White Knight attempt to extract money from creditors of European Fine Wines. It is a scam:


  

Following on from Barkingside Premier Storage cloning the legitimate London City Bond website, a new clone bonded warehouse site – Metropolitan Bond – was registered on 28th August 2020.

 


 
 

Again as was the case with Barkingside the Metropolitan Bond website is a direct copy of the LCB site. 


'About' from the LCB site

Metropolitan Bond
Same words, same people:
Ben Jones and Alf Allington
A rip off copy

 




 

Metropolitan Bond claims to be based at 83 Baker Street in the West End of London. Anyone knowing anything about bonded warehouses would know that this is ridiculous. Bonded warehouses need a substantial space, especially one that sets out the Key Facts above – again a direct rip-off from the LCB site. Unsurprisingly 83 Baker Street is a virtual office/serviced office – not a bonded warehouse....



It looks like the clowns who put together the Metropolitan Bond website were in such a rush that they just copied their previous website Barkingside Premier Storage. Unfortunately they neglected to replace Barkingside Premier Storage with Metropolitan Bond in the section on Insurance: 

 

Metropolitan site: 'At one time Barkingside did offer...'
'This led Barkingside Premier Storage...'



 Metropolitan site: 'It is therefore important to note
that Barkingside Premier Storage....


Barkingside site: 'It is therefore important to note
that Barkingside Premier Storage....


  

LCB site (the original source):
'It is therefore important to note
that LCB....'

Letter (29th September 2020) to an European Fine Wines client from Scott Killick, Storage Manager at Metropolitan Bond: 
 


Scott Killick:
We are writing to you today in reference to a number of complaints highlighting the growing frustration surrounding 'European Fine Wines'. We understand a large percentage of clients have been patiently awaiting an update in regard to their assets, currently being stored with us under the 'European Fine Wines' company account.

For almost 36 months we have been working and collaborating with relevant parties to provide clients with a solution. We have now reached a point where clients can expect to have some level of insight in regard to their investment. In addition to the court delays, our main concern was allocating the wines that have been paid for but not officially assigned to clients. Through an extensive and thorough investigation, we have now managed to allocate a large bulk of clients' wines, which were initially frozen and seized within our administrator accounts. We can now confirm that the courts have given us the go ahead to officially release these wines from the bonded account in which they are currently being held.'
 
Killick's fantasy narrative continues for several more paragraphs.. What a shame that Killick has spent nearly 36 months on this project. Instead he ought to have contacted the liquidator who could have put him straight:

Note from the Liquidator's latest report:
 

 

Important statement and clarification:

From the Liquidator's report (above) for period 25.6.19/ 24.6.20 
Note (17th August 2020) to all known members and creditors: 

'I have been made aware that a number of investors have been approached by parties purporting to have located customer's wine in storage, or acting either on behalf of or in succession to Abbott Fielding in an attempt to extract money with the promise of the release of wine they have located or sale of the wine to a buyer. Please  be aware I will never ask creditors to pay any money to release wine or the payment of a dividend. I also have no intention in appointing a 3rd party to act on my behalf to release the wine of funds.

I can confirm that all the wine purchased by the Company has been sold and I am not aware of any wine held in bonded warehouses or overseas.'


•••
 
I have emailed Scott Killick (probably not his real name) and sent him a copy of the liquidator's latest report and drawn his attention to Page 4 of the report – see above. I have also invited him to comment on this post.








Metropolitan Bond - same words,
same people: Ben Jones and Alf

Thursday, 27 August 2020

Barkingside Premier Storage/TMT Investments: more cloning (Part 2)

 


Home page of the TMT Investments site 
the site is a scam using a company name that has also been cloned 
 
 
This second post on the Barkingside Premier Storage scam includes coverage of TMT Investments Ltd, a company that has also been cloned by these fraudsters, who have also cloned the London City Bond site calling it Barkingside Premier Storage. See first post here


The fake TMT Investments Ltd site was
registered on 24th August 2020 

 
The legitimate TMT Investments Ltd company was incorporated at Companies House on 16th March 2017 and its registered office is at 55 Station Road, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom, HP9 1QL. The sole director is Raymond Terence Stocker at Berkhamstead. Stocker became aware that his company had been cloned some three months ago and has subsequently been trying to get it closed down.     
 
More screen grabs from the scam TMT Investments Ltd site

 




Fraudsters' virtual office on 37th Floor, 1 Canada Square, London. E14 5AB
The real TMT Investments Ltd has not have an office at Canary Wharf

 

RZ, a client of bust European Fine Wines, who had sparked my first post on the Barkingside Premier Storage scam was duly contacted by 'TMT Investments Ltd'. They were told that they had a buyer for their four cases of Bordeaux that had miraculously turned up at Barkingside Premier Storage....

RZ told investdrinks: 'They claim Waldorf Astoria hotel group has offered £22,894 for the wine. Buyer will pay them 7% fee. I have to pay £2,747 deposit first They are sending through terms. There’s an escrow arrangement so my wine is safe (LoL) until buyer pays. TMT will the inspect. If OK I will sign ownership over to buyer and get paid. If not OK - I will get my deposit back.They are sending terms now and want deposit today.....

RZ correctly concluded: 'I think the con is that I have to pay a 12% refundable deposit - which they claim I get back if the deal doesn't go through...'

The whole 'deal' is a complete fantasy – the wine doesn't exist nor does Barkingside Premier Storage. The four cases of Bordeaux could be bought from legitimate wine merchants for £19930 (checked through wine-searcher) – substantially below the offer of £22,894 through 'TMT' . RZ challenged the higher valuation 'TMT' salesman played up the higher value as the end user (ie Waldorf Astoria group) will be selling on at "the sort of prices you would see in hotel/bars"!! LOL!! 

TMT soon sent their invoice, terms and conditions and a letter apparently signed by Ronald Terence Stocker (director).

 

 

It was this letter that made me think that TMT Investments Ltd might well have been cloned. It is rare for fraudsters to use their real names but here was Stocker signing a letter promoting an advance fee fraud!  

Checking through Companies House showed that 70-year-old Stocker was a director of 10 companies including Screen & Music Travel Ltd and D.T. Properties, which all looked to be legitimate companies. Furthermore TMT Investments Ltd is a property company and none of Stocker's companies are connected to wine. It seemed highly unlikely and curious that a 70-year-old based in Berkhamstead would be actively involved with these fraudsters, who are probably in their 20s and 30s and likely to be based in Bromley or Croydon. 

The signature on the letter was the real giveaway. Looking at Stocker's actual signature on a number of documents filed with Companies House over more than a decade the signature on the letter (26.8.2020) bears no relation to Stocker's habitual signature, which has remained consistent.

 

Terence Stocker's signature: 17.3.2020 

 

Signature 13.12.18


Scam letter – 26th August 2020: 


Signature on advance fee fraud letter
Clearly not the same person
 
 
Telephone: 020-7459 4463 
Searching 020-7459 4463 on 'Who called me?' brings up several warnings about this scam. The number has an overall rating as dangerous. See below:
 


 
 


investdrinks has passed these details of this advance fee fraud onto  the Serious Fraud and Cyber Unit of Hertfordshire Police based at Welwyn Garden City. Anyone aware of a company being cloned or this type of advance fee fraud should submit a report to Action Fraud.

The more complaints received about a particular fraud/scam the greater likelihood of it being taken up by the police .