Scam Alert! ITOSCO PHARMA. Stolen identities and fraud...and they tried even with us! :-)
Published on 27th March, 2023
Yesterday, a Protective Intelligence Network team member received an email from an alleged human resources officer. The email proposed our director to become a representative for Itosco Pharmaceutical & Biotechnology Company in Singapore and South East Asia.
The innovative company is involved, as they explained, in vaccines and pharmaceutical business.
Initial verification gave the reader the appearance of a real company; numerous profiles on Linkedin, an address and a phone number.
BUT...we are a security intelligence company and run some verification costs little effort... so, we did it.
The phone number carrier is an Australian 'satellite' phone company.
Street view does not provide any information about the company at the mentioned South Wales address.
The website - of a company that declares to be in the market since 1997 - was created in July 2022, and the registrant is obviously redacted for privacy ...
Things become fishy... we contacted one of the Itosco profiles on Linkedin. The person replied with a message assuring that all was ok and legit.
Immediately after an email was sent to our address offering our team member a salary of 14.700 USD in order to "send out few emails weekly" as representative of ITOSCO ...
- The email address from Itosco masked a gmail address...
We clearly entered the kingdom of Fantasyland at this point :-)
We started veryfing every LinkedIn profile, and confirmed the ongoing scam!
A simple reverse image permitted to discover the real identity of the profiles presented as ITOSCO executive; in real life, estimated lawyers, musicians, journalists, brokers, with their images stolen and used for the fraudolent purposes.
Talking with some security contacts online, it appears that the same email was sent to numerous professional in the region, with the final aim to convince them to advance payments, and at the same time provide personal information.
The list of LinkedIn fake profiles follows...
We decided to post this hoping that the next time people will google ITOSCO, information will appear and provide useful information kn order to avoid any possible scam.
(At the same time we are informing authorities and linkedIn)
Fake profiles are a problem for everyone. Even the FBI, recently, has chimed in that fake accounts on LinkedIn may pose a threat. Worse yet, they could be compromising your business results. Fake profiles waste valuable time, open you up to scammers, clog up your newsfeed and even put your own profile and network at risk.
According to CNBC, between 01 January and 30 June 2022, more than 21 million fake accounts were detected and removed from LinkedIn, according to the company’s community report.
While LinkedIn has strengthened its ability to spot such profiles as well as provide tools to confirm you’re doing business with a real person, a more proactive security mindset is needed.