By now, this scam’s scheme has been going on for two decades, but there are still a lot of people who are being scammed. The other day a friend of mine called, asking me how he could cash a check from a bank in the Comoros Islands, the Société Bancaire Fiduciaire Privée Bank (SBFP). “It’s a scam,” I quickly told him. It took three days to convince the poor guy that he had been scammed! His story is the same as that of many others who stayed still at the time when opening an offshore bank account was easy. Today, it’s almost impossible, the road has been paved for scammers who have perfected their scams, have invested and know the market well.
“An Italian counsellor living in Switzerland convinced me,” the scam victim told me, going into the details. “His name is Fabrizio Barra, owner of the Paramount Capital Consultation Company (we’re including his name even though we have no facts that lead us to the conclusion that Mr. Barra was a participant of the scam, but we maintain that the slapdash attitude in this field, especially in the XXI century, should be reported). He gave me three options to easily open an account after dozens of banks closed the door in my face: the Choice Bank of Belize (a real bank that is currently being liquidated), the Société Bancaire Fiduciaire Privée Bank (SBFP) and the CG Bank, both of which are supposedly in the Comoros Islands and are both fake. They gave me a nice PDF file where they offer: privacy, not having to travel and the absence of bureaucracy. According to what Barra said – the founding partners are Swiss and the entire staff is European; so, they have Swiss standards in their bank management and, above all, they’re the only bank that offers interesting active interest rates (from 4% to 6%).”
Well, let’s say and clear that my friend is also guilty of being lazy; in fact, all he had to do was put the bank’s address on Google satellite and a banana street shop in the Comoros Islands shows up!
My clueless clients aren’t the only ones to fall for it, though; even the Danish Savings Bank, KBH Andelskasse, opened an account with Société Bancaire Fiduciaire Privée Bank, in which it received money from its customers. On September 13, 2018, the organization that regulates the financial system in Denmark, Finansiel Stabilitet, has placed the cooperative foundation of Copenhagen under controlled administration.
How to investigate the existence and reputation of the offshore bank
Let’s take a look at what my friend should have done to analyze the presumed bank:
- The website www.sbfprivee.com (incredibly still active) is done well, but not on the level of a bank; the CG Bank one, www.cgbanque.io, is done a little better, but this one is also not very believable. Thanks to the CG Bank site, we can, however, find the website of the fake register of banks of Mwali Island, http://mwaliregister.com/list-of-entites, where we find a wide list of fake banks, fake insurances, fake brokers, fake gambling licenses.
- The site has the https but not the https EV (extended validation) that all banks and financial companies have, and which guarantees the existence and location of the company: if this is missing, start to seriously distrust it!
- He needed to control by calling the local financial authorities, which will never have a .com site. We can find it on www.banque-comores.km. In this case, the site doesn’t even the https, but don’t worry, the Banca d’Italia site doesn’t have .it, either. You have to go to France to find the https on the .fr site of the central bank and to America to find the https and the .gov (the Government site) on the Federal Reserve’s site. In any case, the Central Bank of the Comoros’ website, because of the amount of published documents and information, you can see that it’s authentic and, in fact, you just have to insert the word offshore into the search box and the document “La Banque Centrale des Comores lutte contre l’exercice illégal d’activité de banques offshores”, ,meaning: The Central Bank of the Comoros fights against the illegal practice of offshore banking activity. Only the banks that have a license to operate in the Federation of the Comoros Islands appear in the document.
We can establish from this short investigation that’s not hard to start searching for banking scams, but it’s not easy, either, because scammers have evolved, they have a more attractive internet banking façade than some real offshore banks, increasingly more sophisticated websites and professional scammers ready to explain to you why their banking license is real. Then, on a legal level, it’s difficult to attack them because they work with virtual addresses, virtual phones and who work with VPN from their own homes. Therefore, it’s hard to establish where the crime has been committed and the reports, generally, end up going nowhere, also because many people don’t want to tell an authority that they have sent money (maybe even undeclared) to a supposed offshore bank. Furthermore, the fact about the check that my friend commented on is very intelligent, since many jurisdictions allow checks to be issued by a company and so, if the impossibility of cashing in on this debt claim can’t be proved, they will be unable to prove there was a scam.
In addition, you have to keep in mind that their strong point is ignorance (in the sense of lack of knowledge) and so they envisage fake banks, not only in the Comoros but also in other under-developed countries like Vanuatu, Somalia, etc., all little-known countries, with poor communications and uncooperative officials.
Our services will protect you from offshore scams
Now, if you’re sure of having understood how to investigate and how not to be scammed before opening an online offshore bank account, calmly proceed to open your offshore bank account; otherwise, turn to professionals.
- Telephonic guidance consultation service, where are able to furnish you with general information and help you discard most scams. Price: 90 EUR for 30 minutes of consultation (it’s possible that the consultation will be divided, at our request, into two periods in order to allow us to gather more precise data.
- An in-depth investigation of a supposed banking or financial entity that includes control of the license, locating the offices, phone numbers, website, etc. Price: 200 EUR
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