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March 11, 2022

New scam targets Madoff victims

As if the poor folks ruined by convicted Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff don’t have enough problems, a new phishing scam is hoping they’ll bite one more time.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is alerting investors about a phony web site that falsely claims to have recovered $1.3 billion in funds hidden by Madoff in Malaysia.

The site claims to be home to the non-existent "International Security Investor Protection Corporation" and bears a convincing likeness to the Securities Investor Protection Corporation's (the entity formed by the U.S. Congress to assist customers of insolvent brokerage firms) own web site, mimicking its look, feel, and content.  

In one section of the site, the scammers actually include a trumped up testimonial from a supposed Madoff victim who is reported as having received funds from the organization.

The "ISPIC" site also claims to be linked to several governments, including the United States. Add to that phony claims of sponsorship from both the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank and you’ve got a potent mix of partners.

According to the SEC, the site asks Madoff victims to submit detailed information to verify that they’re on a refund list — a ploy commonly used by con artists to further rip off financial fraud victims looking to somehow recoup their losses, essentially victimizing them all over again.

There is hope, however. The real SIPC has received some 12,000 claims from victims. So far, roughly 15 per cent have been approved, totalling approximately $650 million.

If you can’t get enough of this whole sorry mess, have a look at No One Would Listen, Harry Markopolosis’s new book about his nearly decade-long pursuit of Madoff and his ilk. Although he has his detractors, Markopolosis has carved out a high-profile career as an independent financial fraud investigator in recent years. 

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...