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Personal Due Diligence Case Study – “The Digital Girl”   3 comments

the_digital_girl_for_web1A businessman encountered this “girl” on the Internet and developed what he believed to be a sincere friendship with her. She told him things were not going well for her in Russia, and asked him for money.

He ended up sending her over $10,000. Then certain aspects of her behavior made him suspicious, and he contacted RADA.

At his request, a personal due diligence investigation was conducted. A check of Russian databases showed that no person with her name (she had provided a copy of a “passport”) resided where she said she did. The street exists, but the exact address could not be located.

This was confirmed with an on site visit, using the photographs she had provided. No one living near the address recognized her name or face.

An examination of the headers of the emails suggested that “she” was emailing from  Poland and Slovenia (often on the same day), but never from Russia.

But what about the money? The bank account exists-in a bank in Moscow, but the account holder’s name is nothing like the name the girl provided; in fact, the account holder is a man!

The Russian authorities are conducting an investigation, but, since the money was freely transferred, it is not clear what the outcome will be, and the businessman is understandably disappointed.

Incidents such as this are by no means confined to Russia, and there are just as many fraudulent “digital boys” as “digital girls” out there to trap the unwary.