EXCLUSIVE: A website run out of the USA by an Australian has been offering confidential data on Australians to Nigerian scam operators. The site that was exposed to SmartHouse by a London-based security company is called Apacheleads.com.
According to Colin Holder the CEO of Lucid Intelligence and a former Scotland Yard fraud squad detective, an email sent by Apacheleads.com which is owned by Don Reid, an Australian, to a Nigerian scammer called Macjon, was intercepted by the US Secret Service. It offered confidential information on Australian consumers to Macjon.
The man behind Macjon according to US intelligence sources is a professional fraudster operating out of Nigeria. Macjon has already netted over $50 million dollars during the past 12 months scamming Australians and US nationals according to Holder.
He uses at least nine other aliases through Hotmail, Virgin.net, Yahoo! And Btinternet.
He also operates several front Companies which in turn send out scam letters to Australians. Among those false Companies used are Anthony Smith & Son, Crain Willis & Son, Huaxiang Group, Jaku Jenkins & Son, United Asia Trading, Union Materials, European Industrial Supplies, Imperial Fabrics London, and Assorted Food Conglomerate.
Reached by phone via an Australian number, Reid initially said, “We don’t know who these people are.”
The emailed dated Dec. 20, 2008, was sent by “LeadGuy” at Apacheleads.com to Macjon.
It offered a two-for-one sale of lists. The sender who was concerned about being paid with a fake credit card wrote “You need to pay with Western Union, none of your stolen cards…okay? Don’t ask me for any other payment method or for free samples. The answer is no on both. You tried to steal from me with a stolen credit card in the past, so we will only take Western Union from you.”
When Reid was confronted with the email he said “I’m out of here,” and then hung up.
Holder who claims that he has seen over 50,000 illegally obtained data files on Australians claims that the sale of confidential Australian data is rife.
Reid claims that his leads are generated from traffic generated via search engines and large networks “The leads are not offered any incentives like ipods or coupons or vacations. Yes, some leads companies do offer incentives but we do not”.
According to UK investigators working with Lucid Intelligence, Macjon has targeted 13.5 million consumers, many in Australia with a work-at-home e-mail scam. Investigators estimate his success rate at around 0.1%. That’s 13,500 victims from whom he’s stolen as much as $40.5 million.