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Fraudulent job offer: "Westernpoint Inc." (westernpoint.org)

Westernpoint Inc. (westernpoint.org) is part of a series of fraudulent companies whose only purpose is to recruit job seekers to trick them into assisting in criminal fraud.

Some of the content of the website of this bogus company is ripped off from Xoom, a genuine money transfer company in the United States. An earlier version of this scam was called "Sparta-Trade Inc." which was active in October/November 2004.

With these fraudulent job offers, the "employee" may receive an illegal fund transfer from a bank account or PayPal account that was the target of a "phishing" attack. Or he may collect a payment from an unsuspecting eBay-buyer who will never receive the goods, while the "employee" sends the money to virtually untraceable criminals in another country.

Here is the WHOIS record for the domain (created on 2005-01-13):

Request: westernpoint.org
Domain ID:D105564084-LROR
Domain Name:WESTERNPOINT.ORG
Created On:13-Jan-2005 14:56:13 UTC
Last Updated On:07-Feb-2005 19:28:13 UTC
Expiration Date:13-Jan-2006 14:56:13 UTC
Sponsoring Registrar:Tucows Inc. (R11-LROR)
Status:TRANSFER PROHIBITED
Registrant ID:tuTZWxAlhxcBd8ET
Registrant Name:Jason Venne
Registrant Organization:WesternPoint Inc.
Registrant Street1:61 Abbey Mem. Dr
Registrant Street2:
Registrant Street3:
Registrant City:Chicopee
Registrant State/Province:MA
Registrant Postal Code:01020
Registrant Country:US
Registrant Phone:+1.4135945924
Registrant Phone Ext.:
Registrant FAX:
Registrant FAX Ext.:
Registrant Email:jasonvenne29@yahoo.com
Admin ID:tuTZWxAlhxcBd8ET
Admin Name:Jason Venne
Admin Organization:WesternPoint Inc.
Admin Street1:61 Abbey Mem. Dr
Admin Street2:
Admin Street3:
Admin City:Chicopee
Admin State/Province:MA
Admin Postal Code:01020
Admin Country:US
Admin Phone:+1.4135945924
Admin Phone Ext.:
Admin FAX:
Admin FAX Ext.:
Admin Email:jasonvenne29@yahoo.com
Tech ID:tu7QYIfsFubMzmBI
Tech Name:EV1 Servers Domain Services
Tech Organization:EV1.net
Tech Street1:390 Benmar
Tech Street2:Suite 200
Tech Street3:
Tech City:Houston
Tech State/Province:Texas
Tech Postal Code:77060
Tech Country:US
Tech Phone:+1.7133337873
Tech Phone Ext.:
Tech FAX:+1.7139429332
Tech FAX Ext.:
Tech Email:domains@ev1servers.net
Name Server:NS1.NS555.BIZ
Name Server:NS2.NS555.BIZ
Name Server: 
Name Server: 
Name Server: 
Name Server: 
Name Server: 
Name Server: 
Name Server: 
Name Server: 
Name Server: 
Name Server: 
Name Server:
As in most of the other fraudulent job offers, the bogus website is based on a real website, of which it is a rip-off. Compare these passages:

The fake...
...versus the original
WesternPoint Inc. is an online-to-offline international money transfer service. We offer a secure, fast, and inexpensive means of sending money from the UK to offline recipients worldwide.
http://westernpoint.org/index-1.html
Xoom Corporation is an online-to-offline international money transfer service. Xoom offers a secure, fast, and inexpensive means to send money online-to-offline recipients in eight countries, including: Dominican Republic, Jamaica, India, Hong Kong, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, and Sri Lanka.

https://www.xoom.com/pr?x=6

Further information:

  • As you can see the domain was only registered four weeks ago. That is the first red flag. Any company involved in fund transfers that appears brand new deserves intense scrutiny.
  • The website has a "vacancies" link in a very prominent place, as the second menu item. That's unusual for financial companies but standard for fraudulent money transfer schemes, who recruit, defraud and change names in short cycles.
  • The website doesn't mention how long the company has been around, who founded it or who any of its key employees are. It doesn't quite sound like it was created by a native English speaker either.
  • The contact address on the website lists a top-class Fifth Avenue, New Your City postal address, but the 631 area code goes with commuter-distance Long Island.
  • When I googled for the phrase "online-to-offline international money transfer service" used on the website, I came across two older websites that used the same phrase, followed by identical wording. One is called Xoom and that appears to be the legitimate company whose identity was ripped off as a skeleton for the fraud site. The other was "Sparta Trade", apparently an earlier version of the scam, which was mentioned here:

If you have been recruited by "Westernpoint Inc.", contact us and also report it to the police!


Here is information on the "Sparta-Trade" earlier incarnation of the scam, from Code Fish Spam Watch in Australia:

"Sparta-Trade" Job Scam Warning

Articles / Warning
Date: Oct 20, 2004 - 09:13 PM
A big thank you to the great person that sent us this one. It seems that the same people who were running the "Plasma Connection" Job Scam preteding to be involved with the job site company Seek.com.au have now brewed up another one that targets Careerone.com.au. The email that was sent to us reads:

Subject: RE: Recent Application

We have received your contact information from Careerone.com.au employment agency. We thought that you might be interested in part time position to work from home with our company. My name is Chris Mathew, project coordinator and your direct supervisor at Sparta-Trade. Please read the information bellow about our company and your job description.

Sparta-Trade Inc. is an online-to-offline international money transfer service. Sparta-Trade Inc. currently offers a secure, fast, and inexpensive means to send money from any of 38 countries to recipients in 8 countries. Sparta-Trade Inc.'s headquarters is located in New York City, U.S. For more information, please visit our website: www.sparta-trade.com

There are 5 openings for a representative to assist in creation our virtual local presence for the back office functions. Person, who is accepted for this position, will perform these tasks:

1. Establish a virtual office: receive the correspondence from our company or clients to his/her residential address, answer project related e-mails, and perform a limited number of phone calls / customer support.
2. Facilitate the financial transactions from the clients. Sparta-Trade Inc. will organize the sales and marketing campaigns. Our manager will inform you when the transaction is expected to arrive.
3. Report to our manager on arrival of the payment.
4. Forward the payment to the customer at the destination. The instructions will be provided on the case-per-case bases.
5. We pay the compensation of 20 AUD per hour for all coordinated transactions. Your wages will be paid every two weeks from the start of your employment by direct deposit to your bank account. You must have a bank account to receive wages from us. Plus you will receive a commission for the completed transaction. This commission will be paid out after every transaction. Also we have a rating system and bonus systems for the quarterly review. Dependant on your work results, you might be promoted to the management positions within 3-6 months.

To continue the application please fill in our online application:

http://www.sparta-trade.com/index-2.html

Your information will be used only within Sparta-Trade Inc. Every employee, who satisfies our requirements, will be contacted by our manager to conduct basic phone interview. At that time you will be able to ask any questions you might have.

Good luck!

Chris Mathew
The "job" is of course a scam. This is another attempt to recruit mules to help launder money (unwittingly) from exploited bank accounts in Australia. The mule helps the phishers by wiring the stolen money overseas and thus when the money is tracked the mule is left holding bag and any "wages" they have earnt from the "job" they certainly do not get to keep.

The domain being used for the scam has only recently been registered (7th of October) and some quick checking shows that whilst the look of the site doesn't appear to be ripped off from anywhere (seems to be a generic business site template) the content certainly has. Some digging shows that a majority of the content was stolen and altered from Xoom.com, a real and reputable online transaction agency.

It is imporant to note that Careerone.com.au is not in legaue with the scammers and judging by the fact there is no warning on the site about this email they probably are currently unaware of this spreading scam. We hope to inform them by email today and no doubt other people have also been reporting it as well.

WHOIS record for "sparta-trade.com":
This farudulent domain used the same name server as westernpoint.org does now.

Request: sparta-trade.com
connected to whois.opensrs.net [216.40.33.170:43] ... 
Registrant:
 Sparta Trade Ltd
 320 Clermont Ave
 Brooklyn, New York 11205
 US

 Domain name: SPARTA-TRADE.COM

 Administrative Contact:
    Miller, Jake  jakemiller73@hotmail.com
    320 Clermont Ave
    Brooklyn, New York 11205
    US
    +1.718623-1041
 Technical Contact:
    Miller, Jake  jakemiller73@hotmail.com
    320 Clermont Ave
    Brooklyn, New York 11205
    US
    +1.718623-1041


 Registrar of Record: TUCOWS, INC.
 Record last updated on 30-Oct-2004.
 Record expires on 07-Oct-2005.
 Record created on 07-Oct-2004.

 Domain servers in listed order:
    NS1.NS555.BIZ   
    NS2.NS555.BIZ   
    NS3.NS555.BIZ   
    NS4.NS555.BIZ   


 Domain status: ACTIVE


GlobalTransfer (globaltransfer.net, globaltransfer.us and globaltransfer.org) is part of a series of fraudulent companies whose only purpose is to recruit job seekers to trick them into assisting in criminal fraud. This scam is a repeat of the Westernpoint Inc. scam (see above). The .net and .us domain were registered using the same (probably fake) postal address.

From: "sc Robertson" <emailaddress1>
To: <emailaddress2>
Sent: Wednesday, 27 April, 2005 13:55
Subject: Expanding company has immediate work

This opportunity is great for people looking for extra income.
We are looking for people that want to make money working from home!
We are looking for people who share one common goal, the burning 
desire to make a change.
Your personal instructor will teach and train you how to put the 
internet and your computer to work.
We are looking for people that want to make money working part time.
We will need 3 hours per day from you. You can work part time or 
full time.
Our company is designed to take advantage of the exploding internet 
technology market.
We provide continuous support from the team of successful people.
Remember there are no costs to start working with our company.
You can try it on for size without jeopardizing your current position!
We will need 10 - 15 hours per week commitment. No fee to join our 
company!
We will train and mentor you one- on-one if you are serious and 
remain teachable.

Please provide us your contact information to get more details 
about this job offer!
To proceed with application, simply fill out the form at:

http://www.globaltransfer.net/vacancies.html

Dear Firstname,

Thank you for your interest in joining our company.

Globaltransfer Inc is global funds transfer service. GlobalTransfer Inc  
offers safe, sound and economical ways to send funds from any of
8 countries to recipients in 6 countries for private individuals and
mid sized companies.

Globaltransfer Inc.\'s head office is situated in New York, U.S. To find
out more about our company please visit www.globaltransfer.net  There are
5 positions full- time and part time available for right candidates 
to work as our representatives in your region.

Someone, who is accepted for this position, will perform these initial
tasks:

1. Set up an effective local office: receive the correspondence from our
company or clients to his/her residential address, answer project
related e-mails, and perform a limited number of phone calls / customer 
support. This office could be your residence; the only requirement is 
that you should be able to receive mail and phone calls.

2. Assist general managers to make the financial transactions from the
clients. GlobalTransfer Inc. and our customers will organize the sales
and marketing campaigns. Our manager will inform you when the
transaction is expected to arrive.

3. We offer the reimbursement of 20 AUD per hour plus commission for
each serviced transaction. Your salary will be paid out every 2 weeks from
the start of your employment with our company through wire transfer to your
bank account. You should have a bank account to receive compensations
from our company. Besides you will get a commission for every finished
transaction. This commission will be rewarded after every transaction.

If you are interested please let me know. We look forward to hear
from you soon!

     Mike Wilt
Business Development Manager

Here is the WHOIS record for "globaltransfer.net" (created on 2005-03-20):

Request: globaltransfer.net
connected to whois.godaddy.com [63.241.136.46:43] ... 

Registrant:   Global Transfer Inc.
   356 Deer Ridge Place
   Gray, Georgia 31032
   United States
   Registered through: GoDaddy.com (http://www.godaddy.com)
   Domain Name: GLOBALTRANSFER.NET
      Created on: 20-Mar-05
      Expires on: 20-Mar-06
      Last Updated on: 14-Apr-05
   Administrative Contact:
      Bowe, Mike  m_bowe2000@yahoo.com
      Global Transfer Inc.
      356 Deer Ridge Place
      Gray, Georgia 31032
      United States
      (478) 986-5217
   Technical Contact:
      Bowe, Mike  m_bowe2000@yahoo.com
      Global Transfer Inc.
      356 Deer Ridge Place
      Gray, Georgia 31032
      United States
      (478) 986-5217
   Domain servers in listed order:
      NS1.GLOBALTRANSFER.NET
      NS2.GLOBALTRANSFER.NET
   Registry Status: REGISTRAR-LOCK

Here is the WHOIS record for "globaltransfer.us" (created on 2005-03-21):

Request: globaltransfer.us
whois server for *.us is whois.nic.us ...
from whois.nic.us:43 [cached Thu Jun  9 06:17:30 2005 UTC]
Domain Name:                                 GLOBALTRANSFER.US
Domain ID:                                   D7476863-US
Sponsoring Registrar:                        GO DADDY SOFTWARE, INC.
Domain Status:                               clientDeleteProhibited
Domain Status:                               clientRenewProhibited
Domain Status:                               clientTransferProhibited
Domain Status:                               clientUpdateProhibited
Registrant ID:                               GODA-010808319
Registrant Name:                             Mike Bowe
Registrant Organization:                     Global Transfer Inc.
Registrant Address1:                         356 Deer Ridge Place
Registrant City:                             Gray
Registrant State/Province:                   Georgia
Registrant Postal Code:                      31032
Registrant Country:                          United States
Registrant Country Code:                     US
Registrant Phone Number:                     +1.4789865217
Registrant Email:                            m_bowe2000@yahoo.com
Registrant Application Purpose:              P3
Registrant Nexus Category:                   C21
Administrative Contact ID:                   GODA-210808319
Administrative Contact Name:                 Mike Bowe
Administrative Contact Organization:         Global Transfer Inc.
Administrative Contact Address1:             356 Deer Ridge Place
Administrative Contact City:                 Gray
Administrative Contact State/Province:       Georgia
Administrative Contact Postal Code:          31032
Administrative Contact Country:              United States
Administrative Contact Country Code:         US
Administrative Contact Phone Number:         +1.4789865217
Administrative Contact Email:                m_bowe2000@yahoo.com
Administrative Application Purpose:          P3
Administrative Nexus Category:               C21
Billing Contact ID:                          GODA-310808319
Billing Contact Name:                        Mike Bowe
Billing Contact Organization:                Global Transfer Inc.
Billing Contact Address1:                    356 Deer Ridge Place
Billing Contact City:                        Gray
Billing Contact State/Province:              Georgia
Billing Contact Postal Code:                 31032
Billing Contact Country:                     United States
Billing Contact Country Code:                US
Billing Contact Phone Number:                +1.4789865217
Billing Contact Email:                       m_bowe2000@yahoo.com
Billing Application Purpose:                 P3
Billing Nexus Category:                      C21
Technical Contact ID:                        GODA-110808319
Technical Contact Name:                      Mike Bowe
Technical Contact Organization:              Global Transfer Inc.
Technical Contact Address1:                  356 Deer Ridge Place
Technical Contact City:                      Gray
Technical Contact State/Province:            Georgia
Technical Contact Postal Code:               31032
Technical Contact Country:                   United States
Technical Contact Country Code:              US
Technical Contact Phone Number:              +1.4789865217
Technical Contact Email:                     m_bowe2000@yahoo.com
Technical Application Purpose:               P3
Technical Nexus Category:                    C21
Name Server:                                 NS1.THEDNSSERVICE.COM
Name Server:                                 NS2.THEDNSSERVICE.COM
Created by Registrar:                        GO DADDY SOFTWARE, INC.
Last Updated by Registrar:                   GO DADDY SOFTWARE, INC.
Domain Registration Date:                    Mon Mar 21 00:43:15 GMT 2005
Domain Expiration Date:                      Mon Mar 20 23:59:59 GMT 2006
Domain Last Updated Date:                    Wed Apr 20 08:22:42 GMT 2005

Here is the WHOIS record for "globaltransfer.org" (created on 2005-03-21):

Request: globaltransfer.org
whois server for *.org is whois.publicinterestregistry.net ...
connected to whois.publicinterestregistry.net [129.33.96.137:43] ... 
NOTICE: Access to .ORG WHOIS information is provided to assist persons in 
determining the contents of a domain name registration record in the PIR
registry database. The data in this record is provided by Public Interest Registry
for informational purposes only, and PIR does not guarantee its 
accuracy.  This service is intended only for query-based access.  You agree 
that you will use this data only for lawful purposes and that, under no 
circumstances will you use this data to: (a) allow, enable, or otherwise 
support the transmission by e-mail, telephone, or facsimile of mass 
unsolicited, commercial advertising or solicitations to entities other than 
the data recipient's own existing customers; or (b) enable high volume, 
automated, electronic processes that send queries or data to the systems of 
Registry Operator or any ICANN-Accredited Registrar, except as reasonably 
necessary to register domain names or modify existing registrations.  All 
rights reserved. PIR reserves the right to modify these terms at any 
time. By submitting this query, you agree to abide by this policy. 

Domain ID:D105923671-LROR
Domain Name:GLOBALTRANSFER.ORG
Created On:21-Mar-2005 00:43:14 UTC
Last Updated On:22-Jun-2005 08:52:37 UTC
Expiration Date:21-Mar-2006 00:43:14 UTC
Sponsoring Registrar:Go Daddy Software, Inc. (R91-LROR)
Status:OK
Registrant ID:GODA-010808321
Registrant Name:Mike Bowe
Registrant Organization:Global Transfer Inc.
Registrant Street1:356 Deer Ridge Place
Registrant Street2:
Registrant Street3:
Registrant City:Gray
Registrant State/Province:Georgia
Registrant Postal Code:31032
Registrant Country:US
Registrant Phone:+1.4789865217
Registrant Phone Ext.:
Registrant FAX:
Registrant FAX Ext.:
Registrant Email:m_bowe2000@yahoo.com
Admin ID:GODA-210808321
Admin Name:Mike Bowe
Admin Organization:Global Transfer Inc.
Admin Street1:356 Deer Ridge Place
Admin Street2:
Admin Street3:
Admin City:Gray
Admin State/Province:Georgia
Admin Postal Code:31032
Admin Country:US
Admin Phone:+1.4789865217
Admin Phone Ext.:
Admin FAX:
Admin FAX Ext.:
Admin Email:m_bowe2000@yahoo.com
Tech ID:GODA-110808321
Tech Name:Mike Bowe
Tech Organization:Global Transfer Inc.
Tech Street1:356 Deer Ridge Place
Tech Street2:
Tech Street3:
Tech City:Gray
Tech State/Province:Georgia
Tech Postal Code:31032
Tech Country:US
Tech Phone:+1.4789865217
Tech Phone Ext.:
Tech FAX:
Tech FAX Ext.:
Tech Email:m_bowe2000@yahoo.com
Name Server:NS1.GLOBALTRANSFER.ORG
Name Server:NS2.GLOBALTRANSFER.ORG