Book Preview: Internet Fraud

Internet Fraud Casebook: The World Wide Web of Deceit was written by Joseph T. Wells and published in 2010.

The book contains case studies on internet fraud written by real fraud examiners. The stories were hand-selected from hundreds of submissions and together form a comprehensive, enlightening and entertaining picture of the many types of internet fraud in varied industries throughout the world. Each case outlines how the fraud was engineered, how it was investigated, and how perpetrators were brought to justice.

There are a range of topics but one which caught the eye of IPIA is a story about an employee of a construction company based in Hongkong. The employee used the company’s name for his own interest and almost destroyed the company. 

The case starts when the head of operation of the company, Albert Watanabe, met Alex Gomez, who delivered a presentation in an international seminar. Albert was impressed with Alex’s presentation, and thought he perfectly matched the skills and experience that Albert urgently required for a position in the company. Basically  Albert recommended Albert for the director position in the office in Malaysia and received approval from Hong Kong with a pending background check.

For several months, Alex demonstrated a great skill at his work dealing with clients and employees. As he was doing so well Albert did not feel it was right to make such a talented person undergo a background check. Consequently Alex was hired permanently without a background check. 

Everything was going well until and employee found a possible mistake in Alex’s work. This in turn led the company to launch a confidential internal investigation, including computer forensics and Internet-based investigations.   It was revealed that Alex had defrauded the company. One of the incidents was that customers were invoiced through Alex’s Gmail account, but payments were received in the name of the company. At least 37 different individual customers had been handled by Alex in the previous 41 months, and he affixed a code “GMZ” (Gomez) before his customers’ names. Eventually it was found that names with the GMZ code did not appear in the company’s finances. Alex also emailed each GMZ client to make online payments by transferring to a particular bank account.  

This case highlights the need for thorough background and reference checks as one of the front defences against fraud. After Alex had defrauded the company it was found that he had previously been forced to resign from his previous employer because of a bribery case. Had Albert conducted a background check, it is almost certain he would not have hired Alex (and if he had for whatever reason then no doubt he would have been far more vigilant). For more than 10 years, Business Due Diligence Indonesia has been trusted by its numerous clients as a risk mitigation provider, and this includes background screening and reference checking. For more detailed information about how screenings can work for your company, please do not hesitate to contact us.    

Indonesia Private Investigation Agency also has a sister company based in Bali. Please visit their website for more information – Bali Eye Private Investigation Agency. For more focussed business due diligence work and analysis we would also refer you to Business Due Diligence Indonesia.   

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About the Author

IPIA's Director of Investigations is an Indonesian national with a Diploma in PI work (with distinction) from the UK and an Australian Government accredited Certificate in Investigative Services. She has worked on over 400 cases for private and business clients.
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