We have published many thousands of examples of Internet deceit and fraud over the years. Most are one-shot attempts to trick people into clicking a malicious or fraudulent link, but others are very complex scams with many onion layers to peel back and perpetrated over weeks or months. Two examples of these complex scams are the love scam we published in our July, 2019 article “I Love You, Bail Me Out” and a July, 2015 article about a phony business called “Taft Technologies.” Below is a new tale to tell our readers and let you be the judge. We think it is particularly heinous because it is about a business that claims to help victims of online fraud. The company is Global Elite Recovery Group.
We came across Global Elite Recovery quite by accident while researching another scam. This business has a reasonably sophisticated multi-page website that even includes an automated pop-up chat box widget to make it appear as though you can chat with one of their employees. (However, the chat box asks you to send them your email address and “request help” so it really isn’t any different than a “contact us” email form.)
On their website, Global Elite Recovery says…
“Global Elite Recovery Group was founded in 2012 to provide cybersecurity products and services to enterprise organizations.
We have been recognized as one of the world’s most innovative cybersecurity operations leaders, and excel in complex, multi-technology environments. We have expertise in comprehensive security services including Managed Security Services (Threat Detection, Security Technology Engineering) & Professional Services (Advisory Services, Fund Recovery services, Identity Investigation Services, Threat Management & Incident Response).
Global Elite Recovery group has offices and Security Operations Centers in Switzerland and China.
With privacy becoming a growing concern and malware attacks on the rise, it is imperative to stay vigilant and hire top professionals for quality cyber security service.”
Global Elite Recovery claims to be able to recover funds from victims of International fraud, including scam investments made through crypto-currency websites, as well as International love scams. We think that Global Elite Recovery is itself a fraud and we want to lay out all the reasons why we believe this is the case. Most importantly, we DO NOT RECOMMEND using this company!
When we first stumbled upon this company our first impression was suspicion of their claim to recover money for victims. The great majority of victims of Internet-based crimes are left with few bread crumbs that can be used to track down whomever is truly responsible for these crimes. Cyber-criminals are spread all over the world, including countries unfriendly to the United States, and countries that have corrupt governments and police. It would be impossible, or nearly impossible, to get the kind of cooperation needed to track down many criminals, prosecute their crimes and recover funds. And then there is the Internet itself. Its current design and operation favors criminals, and makes it easy for deception to thrive! (Thank ICANN for the ease at which criminals can operate because this governing organization is lame and benefits from domain purchases by criminal groups.) Local and state police are not going after cybercriminals, and even the FBI is overwhelmed by these crimes and not likely to get involved unless it involves millions of dollars or some horrific International crime.
Our investigation exposed many red flags about this company that eroded the kind of trust anyone would want of a service they hire! Our first step to investigate Global Elite Recovery was to conduct a simple Google search and a WHOIS lookup of their domain name globaleliterecovery.com. Everywhere we looked online, Global Elite Recovery says that they have been in business since 2012. RED FLAG #1: Why is it that their domain was only registered on May 27, 2019, just two months before we stumbled across them? And it was registered through an anonymous proxy service in Panama, a service favored by cybercriminals, to hide their identity.
When we used Google to search for “global elite recovery” or their domain globaleliterecovery.com several interesting things drew our attention and became RED FLAGS #2, 3 and 4:
- Their Facebook page had 1 like and their Youtube channel had 36 subscribers. For a global company established in 2012 and “recognized as one of the world’s most innovative cybersecurity operations leaders” these numbers seemed remarkably low.
- Every reference we found about them was newly posted in the last few weeks.
- We felt that most websites referring to them were somewhat obscure or very low ranking websites. Once again, for a global company 7 years old and “recognized as one of the world’s most innovative cybersecurity operations leaders” why didn’t we see anything about them on well established news websites, finance sites, business magazines, technology websites, etc?
We did, however, see that people were talking about Global Elite Recovery on the world wide discussion website called Reddit. But a closer look showed us that there were only 8 comments, posted by 4 Reddit members on about the same dates, in late June, to 8 different discussion threads. This looked more like someone was self-promoting their business than genuinely speaking about the service it provided. When we opened the user information for each of these 4 Reddit members, we found nothing at all! Each member posted only the link to the Global Elite Recovery Group website and nothing else. Also, these Reddit members had no history on Reddit and only 1 of these posts even drew a comment. (And why post this in a Reddit group about cigars?) RED FLAG #5
While searching Google, we similarly noticed “web comments” about Global Elite Recovery Group all over the Internet, some of them by the same person named “Maurice Yao” and all of them saying similar or nearly identical phrases or sentences, such as “for more information google Global Elite Recovery.” Below is the text of several of these comments. (So Google can find them too!) Notice that all of these posts were made during a 3-day period from July 27 – 29. RED FLAG #6:
Blog post from November, 2018 about a man who lost money, had a comment about Global Elite Recovery. The next previous comment had been posted on January 8, 2019: https://www.wealthnoir.com/blog/lost-money-real-estate-rental-property/
Gladis Sung says on July 27, 2019 at 11:07 am:
With the rise of malware affecting users and posing more risk daily, computer security and personal vigilance has become more important than ever before. It’s best you reach out to Global elite recovery and hire an expert for top firewall security, database/fund recovery (if you have been hacked or scammed) and stealth investigation services for individuals and institutions based on preferences and requests. For more information, google Global Elite Recovery.
Re: Match.com, a reviewer named “Little of Los Angeles, CA” wrote on: https://www.consumeraffairs.com/dating_services/match.html
Little of Los Angeles, CA says on July 27, 2019:
Well, Match was a good website overall for me. Due to long work hours and kids, the only opportunity I had was to come online to look for a man. I matched a good looking guy, and we connected almost immediately. The sad part is I was defrauded by this guy and he wasn’t who he said he was at all, I have been so embarrassed to talk about this to anyone. I didn’t get any help till I did… Anyway I was able to recover my funds using Global Elite Recovery and their skilled investigators, you can google them if you have been a victim of love fraud.
Posted after an article on TheSSLStore.com: https://www.thesslstore.com/blog/5-ways-to-determine-if-a-website-is-fake-fraudulent-or-a-scam/
Maurice Yao July 28, 2019 at 5:36 am:
I joined a dating site to find the love of my life after 10 years of divorce. Due to long work hours and kids, the only opportunity i had was to come online to look for a man. I matched a good looking guy, and we connected almost immediately. The sad part is i was defrauded by this guy and he wasn’t who he said he was atall, i have been so embarrassed to talk about this to anyone. I didn’t get any help till i did… anyway i was able to recover my funds using Global Elite Recovery and their skilled investigators, you can google them if you have been a victim of love fraud
Posted on: https://www.complaintsboard.com/tinder/a-scam-located-in-kiev-ukraine-c1125053
Posted by Collin Sun on 7/29/19:
Well, match was a good website overall for me. Due to long work hours and kids, the only opportunity i had was to come online to look for a man. I matched a good looking guy, and we connected almost immediately. The sad part is i was defrauded by this guy and he wasn’t who he said he was atall, i have been so embarrassed to talk about this to anyone. I didn’t get any help till i did… anyway i was able to recover my funds using Global Elite Recovery and their skilled investigators, you can google them if you have been a victim of love fraud
Posted on: https://loadingram.com/tags/assetrecovery
Advertisement posted July 27, 2019:
The cyber space is going haywire and there are several investment scams these days including Bitcoin, forex and Binary options scams. Thanks to those that have been fighting these fraud groups and letting people have a level of trust in other legit investment firms that can still help people make money and grow their financial life. . Any bad experience with these scam companies can be reported to agencies fighting against frauds and scammers. A notable one that comes to mind is Global Elite Recovery and there are many more like them that are actually helping people get their funds/capital back. Hopefully we can get more of these people fighting against them in full scale. Stay safe out there!
Posted on this blog piece “How to Recognize an Art Scam” from May 25, 2017 at Agora Gallery: https://www.agora-gallery.com/advice/blog/2017/05/25/how-to-recognize-art-scam/
Su Lin posted on Jul 27, 2019:
The most important thing that you can do if you have been a victim of this fraud and accrued serious losses of assets and funds, is to contact certified professionals who specialize in the recovery of funds and data. There is no better company than Global Elite Recovery, who have been in business for nearly a decade, helping clients with professional recovery services.
Posted on the blog “Frugal in Singapore” under the August 13, 2018 article “What To Do If You’ve Been Scammed” https://frugalinsingapore.com/what-to-do-if-youve-been-scammed/
Maurice Yao on July 27, 2019 at 11:43 pm says:
There are several investment scams these days including Bitcoin, forex and Binary options scams. Thanks to those that have been fighting these fraud groups and letting people have a level of trust in other legit investment firms that can still help people make money and grow their financial life. Any bad experience with these scam companies can be reported to agencies fighting against frauds and scammers. A notable one that comes to mind is Global Elite Recovery and there are many more like them that are actually helping people get their funds/capital back. Hopefully we can get more of these people fighting against them in full scale. For more information google Global Elite Recovery
Over and over, we saw posts and information about Global Elite Recovery littering websites, blogs, tweets like comment spam, but only since late May, 2019. Nothing seemed to reference this global company before May, 2019. Also, remember that their website domain was registered on May 27, 2019 as well! Again, this seemed very odd for a seven year old global company! We next conducted an advanced Google search for anything online related to “global elite recovery” between January 1, 2012 and April 30, 2019 and guess what we found? ALMOST NOTHING! Truth be told, there were 9 links to web sites that Google returned. Five were because someone like the people mentioned above… “Gladis Sung”, “Su Lin” or “Maurice Yao” posted a comment to an old article that was first published during this time. Two links were because Global Elite Recovery has apparently listed a new office for themselves on 41 Landor Street in Birmingham, UK and so 192.com posted their address as “Neighbors” to other businesses who have been in that same building for some time. And finally, there are two links that point to the same LinkedIn account of someone who seems to have some association in 2016 with “Global Elite Recovery – cybersecurity service” but we cannot today confirm that this is the same company we are referring to. The person’s Linkedin information has changed since 2016. So, in summary, and according to Google’s significant search capabilities, this company never existed before May, 2019. RED FLAG #7.
We’ve established that this company was a ghost before May, 2019 though they list themselves as a global entity since 2012 with offices in 3 countries. (See their contact page or screenshot from 7/30/19 below.) We decided to focus our attention on the Birmingham, UK address listed on the company’s website. The address is 41 Landor Street. (Notice in this screenshot that we also used their online chat service to ask them if we could meet them at their office on 41 Landor Street but never got any response to our question.)
We asked both a Global Business database that covers UK companies, as well as Glassdoor.com, which offers company reviews based on employee feedback, about Global Elite Recovery. And both services came back completely blank. No information whatsoever about this company. The Global Database had no problem finding other companies on 41 Landor St. in Birmingham, such as “Consultancy Training LTD” but it was not able to find Global Elite Recovery. RED FLAG #8.
What about Yelp, since Yelp is notorious for having millions of reviews about companies and services? What we found on July 31, 2019 was extremely odd. As you’ll see in the screenshot, Yelp has a listing for “Global Elite Recovery Group” on 41 Landor Street in Birmingham, UK but it is unclaimed by the business, has no reviews, and is incorrectly listed as “IT Services & Computer & Laptop Repair.” Yet, it has a link to the correct website and lists the phone number found on their website. Why wouldn’t the owner of this business claim it on Yelp, an extremely popular website, and establish it as legitimate? RED FLAG #9.
Who founded this Global Elite Recovery Group? Though there was no verifiable information about the person or company who registered their domain, globaleliterecovery.com, could we find the people behind it? We panned for gold and struck it rich! This is where this fraud gets really interesting. We found a listing for this company on Cylex, a UK Business Directory. The Cylex directory listing for Global Elite Recovery Group shows that it was created by the founder “Robert Vogel” and updated in June, 2019. But Robert Vogel had no information listed on Cylex, so we turned to Linkedin now that we had a name.
The Linkedin page for “Robert Vogel,” the founding father of the “Global Elite Recovery Group” provided an excellent photograph that we were able to use to conduct a reverse image search. (We took this screenshot on July 31, 2019.) We discovered that the photo of the man shown as “Robert Vogel” is actually a stolen photo from a Real Estate author, investor and instructor named Ken McElroy. Below are 3 different images of Mr. McElroy and it is easy to see that his photo was stolen and misused on the LinkedIn account for the “Founder” Robert Vogel. RED FLAG #10.
This is the profile photo of “Robert Vogel” from LinkedIn on July 31, 2019: https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-vogel-806984182/
And here are 3 screenshots from Ken McElroy’s web pages:
But wait! This story gets even better! While searching Linkedin for Global Elite Recovery Group employees, we found their Chief Financial Officer! She is a woman named Joan B. Warren from New York, NY. She also shows up on the website Quora.com as the “Social Media Manager” at Global Elite Recovery Group from 2014 to the present day. Check her out and see if she looks familiar…
Did “Joan B. Warren” look familiar to you? If you need a larger photo, here’s her LinkedIn profile picture in full size:
The photo of “Joan B. Warren” of Global Elite Recovery Group is a stolen photo of the actress Gina Davis! Here is the exact same photo posted on a Pinterest account some weeks ago about her role in a new TV pilot for The Exorcist. RED FLAG #11.
We have uncovered so many misrepresentations by the cybersecurity firm “Global Elite Recovery Group” that it begs the question… Who are they really? And would YOU hire them to try to recover your stolen money? We wouldn’t hire them to recover our dirty laundry! But wait, we’re not done! It turns out that “Global Elite Recovery Group” also has a YouTube Channel with 1 video posted and 36 subscribers as of July 31, 2019. Just like everything else about this 2012 global company, it suddenly appeared on Youtube at the end of June, 2019, including 76 comments about its 1 minute animated video telling viewers that they can help recover money lost by victims of online fraud. The comments posted on YouTube are as questionable as the company! Most feel like fake endorsements while others are just lame like “I am a big fan” or “great experience.” Many comments were posted 4 weeks ago at the end of June when the account was first set up, and then there was a small surge in comments 2 weeks ago. RED FLAG #12. Below are screenshots of a few of these comments.
It was finally time for us to contact Global Elite Recovery! We created a Gmail account of a woman we called “Sally” and entered her email address on the chat form at globaleliterecovery.com. It took less than an hour for Sally to get an email from their representative named “Alice.” What follows is the email exchange between Sally and Alice. We have several more “red flags” to point out as a result of this conversation and a small trick we played on “Alice.”
FROM: support <email@example.com>. Fri, Aug 2, 12:55 PM
Welcome to Global Elite Recovery. Trust you are doing great.
We acknowledge the receipt of our online message.
How may we be of assistance?
We await your prompt response.
FROM: Sally <EMAIL REDACTED@gmail.com> Fri, Aug 2, 1:19 PM
I was the victim of a scam from a man online and lost $9500 last year. I know, it was stupid but I thought this man really cared about me. Is this something you can help me recover? I doubt he lives in the United States. I think he may be in Europe but am not sure. I think he closed down his Instagram and Linkedin accounts, probably Facebook too.
If you are able to help, what do you charge? And how does this help work?
FROM: support <firstname.lastname@example.org> Fri, Aug 2, 1:43 PM
We acknowledge the receipt of your mail and empathise with you on your loss. Please be rest assured we will have your funds recovered and track down the location of the fraudster based on your request.
However, to initiate your recovery process, we need you to do the following:
- Fill our mandatory KYC form (attached) and scan back to us.
- Proof of transactions and conversations (if any)
Kindly provide this as soon as possible so we can move ahead.
We await your quick response.
Here is a screenshot of the KYC pdf file sent to us. It asks for a great deal of personal information!
FROM: Sally <EMAIL REDACTED@gmail.com> Fri, Aug 2, 3:41 PM
Your KYC form asks for a lot of personal information and it makes me uncomfortable to send this out on the internet.
I don’t even know your name! How about we have a skype conversation about all of this?
FROM: support <email@example.com> Aug 2, 2019, 4:39 PM
Apologies for the oversight. My name is Alice from the customer support team.
The KYC requirement is a standard procedure mandated to be used by every genuine asset recovery company by the financial regulatory board.
This also will guide the recovery expert that will be assigned to you on the fund recovery job.
We apologise once again for any inconveniences and await your response.
FROM: Sally <EMAIL REDACTED@gmail.com> Fri, Aug 2, 5:06 PM
Thanks for your response but I want to Skype, Facetime or video chat.
I also live only about 45 minutes away from your Birmingham office and I would be willing to drive in to have a conversation in person too.
FROM: support <firstname.lastname@example.org> Aug 3, 2019, 3:34 AM
We acknowledge the receipt of your mail.
Please note that Global Elite Recovery runs virtual offices in China and United Kingdom. Only our headquarters on Switzerland has a physical address.
Furthermore, video sessions are only available when you have been assigned a recovery expert and not included in the free consultation service.
This can only be achieved once we have confirmed the validity of your request.
We hope you understand our position.
FROM: Sally <EMAIL REDACTED@gmail.com> Aug 3, 2019, 6:55 AM
I talked to my son about this. He said it would be ok but to use something called a secure server to post your kyc. Here is the link. The kyc is password protected. The password is “needHELP!”
https:// [LINK REDACTED]
The link we sent to “Alice” was NOT to a pdf file filled with personal information. We sent Alice a link that took her/him back to a private page on our website so that we could track this person’s location in the world. About 30 minutes after we sent our link to “Alice,” we had a visitor from Berlin, Germany arrive on our private web page through that link. Not Switzerland. [NOTE: It is possible for someone to use a VPN service to make it look like they are located in one of many countries/cities throughout the world. However, we seriously doubt this is what “Alice” was doing because “Alice” probably thought Sally was an easy mark to be victimized. This brings us to RED FLAG #13, 14, 15 and 16:
- It is absolutely unreasonable for any company to request the VERY DETAILED Personal Identity information that was requested in this KYC.pdf!
- It is absolutely unreasonable for any global company not to have the courtesy of video-chatting with a potential client, especially if you consider how hurt she may be after already having been defrauded of money by cybercriminals.
- What are virtual offices anyway?? Global Elite Recovery Group, in fact, lists four physical addresses around the world! (See the fourth address below.)
- Why say that you are located in Switzerland but have your IP location show that you are actually in Berlin, Germany?
Additional Internet searches reveal that “Global Elite Recovery Group” is expanding and has opened an office in New Zealand, according to this Sunday, June 23, 2019 post made by “Robert Vogel” on QwikAd.com. Someone, or someones, have gone to a lot of time and trouble creating a larger-than-life presence of this company that supposedly helps people who have lost money to cybercriminals. We believe that anyone who uses this service is at risk of losing more money! Nothing about them adds up or makes any sense once you open the lid to this garbage can and start rummaging around. Our advice is to STAY AWAY!
“Global Elite Recovery Group” has also posted advertising on various oddball websites, along with hashtags to make it easier for people to find them, such as these 3….