A programmer at an HP branch in London exposed a huge online scam that conned people of their hard-earned money to the sum total of $67,000. Before we start, it is important you are aware of ways to secure your money from scams. A good online service, like plutuspocket.com is a great start.
Vince Barratt was scrolling through his Facebook one night when he came across something that caught his eye. A great aunt called Mariah had shared a post stating that after hearing rave reviews from her neighbor, she started to use an online personal training service. However, the one she found presented more harm than good. She stumbled across a Facebook page called SIMON SHREDS. It had a number of supposed good reviews so Mariah messaged them. Within seconds, someone replied offering a discounted first session at only $20. Mariah agreed, paying through PayPal and that afternoon went on a Skype call with “Simon”. She enjoyed it; “Simon” was in good shape and he gave a lot of useful information.
He proceeded to perform a high-intensity interval training workout, which he encouraged Mariah to do with him. Mariah enjoyed the session so much, she paid for 10 more, spending a total of $250 so that she would stay motivated. However, at their next scheduled workout date, she couldn’t get into contact with “Simon”. She rang over and over again but got nothing in response. So she went back to the Facebook page but it was no longer there. Simon had vanished. Vince read all of this and his blood boiled. Fortunately, for the previous ten years, Vince had worked at HP as a software programmer.
He knew how to get around computers and so he messaged Mariah asking for any possible information she could give him on “Simon” including his accent, phrases he used, and topics they discussed on their Skype call. Next, Vince traced Simon’s IP address to see where he was. But unfortunately, he had taken steps to hide this from the public. So Vince put out a post to see if any other people had been the victim of something similar. The post went viral and Vince received a number of responses from people all over the world. It seems SIMON SHREDS had been disappearing and reappearing all over the place under a number of different names but the description of the supposed personal trainer always remained the same, as did the setup. Pay and receive the first session, pay for more, and then never see the trainer or your money again. One woman even paid $800. Her husband was furious when he found out. A man informed Vince that he was given a different account to send the money to. This one was located in Dallas.
What He Did
Vince traced the account number and contacted the branch, requesting information on the account owner. They were revealed to be Mr. Joel Cornish, a trainer at a gym just ten minutes away from the branch. Vince alerted the authorities with proof of the man’s actions but they refused to listen, saying the evidence wasn’t strong enough. So Vince decided he would receive a training session of his own. He found a page believed to be Simon Shreds and paid for a training session. He sent a live stream to the Dallas police department and then told “Simon” he knew who he was and what he had been doing. Mr. Cornish told him no one would ever believe him, inadvertently confessing to the fraudulent crimes. He was arrested two days later. Vince single-handedly busted an online fraud program. Mr. Cornish was given 3 years in prison and fined a total of $80,000.