Request a demo

Scout® uncovers huge international fake Forex and Crypto trading rings

The challenge before Scout®

The Insolvency Service were evaluating a group of 40 shell companies identified at an address on a Glasgow housing estate. We had already found similar clusters engaged in fraud and company cloning. Our profiling suggested these were highly likely to be part of a wider group who were doing similar things. We needed to find evidence that this was the case and quickly build out a complete a picture of their activity. With just an address and the names of the shell companies to work with this would normally be an incredibly time-consuming exercise.

How Scout® helped:

We utilised Scout®’s open-source tool to run a search on the Glasgow addresses. At first, I thought it hadn’t pulled much information up, as I only got back four or five pages of standard looking OSINT hits; albeit nicely packaged, and returned very quickly – in under a minute. Looking closely on the fifth page, was a result in a script – that turned out to be Japanese – with our suspect address embedded right in the middle of the text. Google translate showed this was an online forex trading blog, where a group of Japanese investors were warning each other about fake Forex trading platforms. It proved to be an incredible find as it revealed information on about 200 companies and 200 fake forex sites trading online – all of them were involved in investment frauds.

Of the companies highlighted, one was indeed based at the address in Glasgow, providing us with that crucial evidential link and the specifics of the criminality. Other companies listed could also be tied to other addresses known to us. Continuing the investigation, I trawled around looking for similar forums or blog sites in the UK and America and found another 2 sites, with a further 200 companies and about 330 fake forex trading and fake crypto trading sites. The next step was to look at these companies in greater detail with Scout’s Companies House search tool. It pulled back a report in seconds, giving us the time to focus on insight and evaluation. I noticed that one of those companies was already insolvent, so got my team to pull out the record on them.

That company had been made insolvent due to a creditor in the States whose solicitor shut the company down because it had defrauded him of $60,000 through acting as a fake crypto trading site. The solicitor had got all the data on the crypto wallet for the site which had his client’s money in. He got the court order and had done some forensics and gave the Insolvency Service the details. His client had lost $60,000 – but the wallet had over $50,000,000 which had gone through it. That was one crypto wallet at one site – and we’ve now got 300 sites to review.


Scout® was invaluable because of its capability to deliver neatly presented search results in seconds. It saved us so much time, enabling us to focus on analysis, discovering hidden links and doing further research. In addition, Scout®’s advanced search filtering meant that only the most relevant results were pulled back, making the whole process even more efficient. It helped us at every stage of the investigation. Initially, the focused search filtering meant that hits from the other side of the world – all in Japanese – were able to be picked up and presented to us within five pages of hits. I’m quite convinced I would not have seen the relevant hits manually, because there would have been pages and pages of “guff” – I would’ve been been bored after 2-3 pages. I could’ve been there for weeks going through it – but 30 secs was all it took.

In the second instance, the Companies House results led us to an insolvent business, which we had not linked to this investigation at that point – the dots had not been joined up and Scout® had helped us to do just that. Scout® enabled us to go from one address, to discovering over 300 companies, open new lines of enquiry in forex and crypto trading, discover seismic fraud which could become billions of fraud based on the results from the one crypto wallet and gave us an opportunity to protect people all around the world. All 400 companies will now be added to Moneyweb and after sending the 100-page report on this to the National Crime Agency, this intelligence was taken to the House of Commons Committee (when they discussed it at the Economic Crime Bill reading). I’ve been in this team nearly 40 years, and this is the first time this has happened to me: within just 3 months of an investigation starting, it’s been in front of the House of Commons!

As told by Neil Freebury Head of Intelligence at the Insolvency Service

Get in touch