Ultrascan KPO

Knowledge itself is power

Attacks on US, Korea Web Sites Leave a Winding Trail - PCWorld

"Going after IP addresses is not really helpful," said Max Becker, CTO of Ultrascan Knowledge Process Outsourcing, a subsidiary of fraud investigation firm Ultrascan. "What we are trying to do is go after the people who set up and pay for these kinds of attacks."

Ultrascan has a network of informants who are closed to organized criminal gangs in Asia, many of which are involved in cybercrime - 11 08 2009

Central Bank and Corporate Treasury ID Theft - SWIFT

Impersonating authorized bank officers of treasury departments, to send payment orders to (National Reserve) correspondent banks, is a specialist wire fraud problem


- Between October 2010 and December 2012 Ultrascan-KPO investigated fraudulent payment orders to treasury departments of 26 correspondent banks on 4 continents, of which 21 National Reserve banks.

- Amounts varied between $98,000.00 and $530,000.00 in local currency.

- Banks confirmed,  that the calls/fax/mails are coming directly into the appropriate officer and are NOT going through the switchboard. This creates  several problems, messages not being recorded, etc.

- All contact information is only available to treasury staff, that is on their computer.

Ultrascan Techint and Humint investigations revealed:

- The IT service department, Laptops, PC's, personal and business eco systems, Treasurers signatures, current contact lists and signatures of bank division managers are compromised.

- The fraudsters researched and confirmed information through HUMINT in conversations with correspondent Banks. Learning the issues and changing their attacks based on what they got on the phone.

- Fraudsters impersonated authorized officers from "the Nostro department", called the correspondent bank treasury, explaining that they were experiencing  SWIFT issues at this time.

- Minutes later, the fraudster send a fax and/or email attachment - As a result of a swift outage we are experiencing, kindly accept and execute this MT202 payment order for today's value date - on official letterhead, with validated names and signatures.

- The technical support for phone/fax numbers, email and IP addresses was covered by anonymity proxy services and paid for by a Nigerian citizen in Lagos.

- Money-laundering was coordinated via a global network of (419) Advance Fee Fraud scammers who, either direct or via money mules, operated bank accounts under befitting names in South Africa, Japan, China, Canada and several European countries.

- Over 60 beneficiary bank accounts were operated bymoney mules or independent  business associates of the ultimate beneficiaries.

- The 3 ultimate beneficiaries originated from Nigeria, West Africa. One of them specialised in ID theft and 'bank to bank wire fraud' since 2003.

For a large part a confidence fraud making use of the culture of confidentiality within Reserve Banks and  bank treasury departments and a high level of trust between correspondent banks.

For several reasons the perfect crime with a veryLow Probability of Detection and an even lower probability of 'public prosecution'.


We recommended both internal and external solutions that led to prevention, mitigation and disruption of the fraud organisation.


Central Banks robbed in 2016:

- Malware suspected in Bangladesh bank heist: officials - Reuters

- Bangladesh Central Bank Found $100 Million Missing After a Weekend Break - WSJ

News items in which Ultrascan or one of its liaisons was quoted. (in various languages)

(Suckers) Victims lost $9.3 billion to 419 scammers in 2009 - ARS Technica

Advance-fee fraud (AFF), also known as 419 scams and Nigerian scams, exploded in 2009, with victims losing more money than ever before. This is according to the latest analysis from Dutch investigation firm Ultrascan—a company that has been monitoring the activities of 419 scammers since 1996—which says that victims lost almost 50 percent more money in 2009 than 2008.


Ultrascan, a Netherlands-based consultancy, is one of a small number of organizations that has tried to estimate the number and value of advance fee fraud scams worldwide. In an analysis of dozens of mostly rich countries, it concluded that the total losses to British companies and individuals in 2005 were $520 million, second only to the US at $720 million. It further estimated that 20 scam rings comprising, on average, dozens of members were active in the UK. The survey does not show the ‘complete advance fee fraud situation’: in most cases, its estimates are ‘low’ or ‘extremely low’

Some people argue that foreign countries, including Britain, should make a much bigger effortto gather intelligence on advance fee frauds, as well as other types of Nigeria-related crime. AsUltrascan, the Dutch consultancy, puts it, ‘everyone has a piece of the picture, but no-one has the full picture’ .

The 419 Coalition, an anti-scam body, says countries should have a centralized, single place for submission of reports by those targeted by scams.

One Nigerian law enforcement officer warns that it is potentially catastrophic for Britain and other rich nations to ignore these frauds. They are the crude surface manifestation of criminal networks that flourish precisely because people dismiss them as not worthy of serious attention. ‘That was the mistake we made earlier,’ he says. ‘If there is no shift in this position,this problem will become something huge....


The Australian Crime Commision  - ORGANISED CRIME IN AUSTRALIA - 2011

.... Advance fee fraud is defined as any fraud requiring a victim to make payment/s in advance of the promised receipt of a large monetary or other material benefit. The extent of advance fee fraud in Australia has continually increased over the past years. There has been a recent increase in the number of advance fee fraud variations observed in Australia, with inheritance, lottery, romance and employment frauds increasing.

The size, sophistication and organisation of foreign-based entities involved in advance fee fraud have increased. Some groups exploit highly complex psychological triggers to target victims. International syndicates are also showing increasing signs of combining advance fee fraud with other offences such as identity crime, counterfeiting and, in some cases, drug trafficking.

It is difficult to accurately assess the total losses caused by advance fee fraud. Victim reporting is limited because of the embarrassment (and, in some cases, fear) attached to reporting such activity. Advance fee fraud losses by companies
and individuals in Australia are likely to be hundreds of millions of dollars.

Globally, victims of advance fee fraud lost an estimated US$9.3 billion in 2009, which is an increase from an estimated US$6.3 billion in 2008 . The top three countries for advance fee fraud losses in 2009 were the US (US$2.1 billion), the UK (US$1.2 billion) and the People’s republic of China (US$936 million)....

Worldwide Slump Makes Nigeria's Online Scammers Work That Much Harder - Washington Post

Ultrascan Advanced Global Investigations in the Netherlands, which has a special department dedicated to 419 crimes, estimates conservatively that $4.3 billion was lost worldwide to 419 scams in 2007. Countries most victimized are the U.S., U.K. and Japan. Ultrascan's data comes from its own investigations, and it advises that the real figure is likely many times higher.

Famous DJ's Credit Card Details for Sale - PCWorld

Armin Van Buuren is one of the world's most well-known trance music DJs. He also apparently has had his credit card details stolen.

Investigators with Ultrascan, a company that investigates credit card fraud and other kinds of online crime, were doing research on forums and systems used to sell credit card numbers

Catalog of Stolen Data

A potential buyer for stolen credit card details sees a greeting: "Hello welcome to ICQ bot. Press '1' for Russian. Press '2' for English." After pressing "2," users get three selections: "1. Buy CVV, 2. Checker 3. Account," according to a screen shot supplied by Ultrascan.

When CVV is selected, the buyer sees how many credit card details are available, sorted by country. From the screen shot, it was possible to see that some 19,046 U.S. card numbers are for sale, 7,843 from the U.K. and more from other countries such as France, Italy and the Netherlands. .....