Israeli fintech entrepreneurs revolutionized online commerce and continue to dominate it today for better or worse. Israeli fintech pundits also invented binary options between 2008 and 2018. The big players like SpotOption, PandaTS, or Tradologic had thousands of binary options schemes running on their platforms as white-label clients. Binary options turned out to be ultimately a gigantic fraud industry that stole tens of billions from small investors. Conveniently, fund recovery companies have also emerged in Israel, often run by former scammers. Schemes like Europe Refund or MyQuickRefund run massive Google Ad campaigns to acquire scam victims and sell their expensive services.
The Wealth Recovery International scam
Former Boiler Room employee Austin Smith was a vice president in one of the illegal boiler rooms of the Yukom scheme of Yossi Herzog and Kobi Cohen. Smith, born in the U.S., also has Israeli citizenship. He defrauded many customers as a boiler room employee using fake names such as John Ried (see left chart), according to U.S. Attorney’s Office findings. In 2016, he had a divine epiphany (report here), left the Yukom boiler room, and founded Wealth Recovery International (WRI). Conveniently, he took the data of defrauded clients from the boiler room with him. Yossi Herzog told FinTelegram that Smith stole the data.
Austin Smith set up a boiler room for his new fund recovery scheme and had WRI agents contact those victims he had previously defrauded as a boiler room employee. Using his inside knowledge, he actually got money for the victims and made a lot of money from it via down payments and commissions.
The victims did not know that their savior Austin Smith had previously stolen their money from them. U.S. prosecutors indicted him (see screenshot right), pleaded guilty, went to jail, and paid fines. Smith’s career from scammer to fund recovery angel is typical of this scene. Many scammers have their own fund recovery service to rip off their victims once again.
Europe Refund, Cyber Recovery Group, and MyQuickRefund
Currently, the three self-proclaimed fund recovery websites, Europe Refund (www.europerefund.com), Cyber Recovery Group (www.cyberrecoverygroup.com), and MyQuickRefund (www.myquickrefund.com), are doing massive advertising on Google. The websites literally reek of scams. One searches in vain for information about the operators, legal entities, or persons. This is against the law in almost all western countries. However, Israel is the competent jurisdiction on all three sites in exactly the same wording and spelling styles. Moreover, the three websites have an almost identical design.
The three sites mentioned are also addressing German-speaking countries with their Google Ads and German websites. Evidently, these sites are operated by the very same people. We would not recommend dealing with them.
The MoneyBack Group and its brands
So many brands?
The Israeli Money Back Ltd is also doing business as Pay Back Ltd a/k/a PayBack. Both entities are given as operators of the websites www.payback-ltd.com, www.payback-law.com, and money-back.com). Both companies have their offices at the same address Ben Gurion Rd 38, Ramat Gan in Israel. The PayBack Law website (www.payback-law.com) gives an address in Florida as its location, implying respective activities in the U.S. The directors and beneficial owners of the Money Back Group are Amir Geva and Daniel Poleb. Allegedly, Pay Back has returned 100% of funds to 89% of its clients. Impressive, isn’t it?
Amir Geva is also one of the authors of Claim International (www.claim-international.com), made by Israeli agency WDM – Web Design Marketing (website). The websites of Money Back and Pay Back were made by this agency too.
Another site in the Money Back Group is Funds Recovery (www.funds-recovery.com). According to reviews from victims on Trustpilot, one can see that apparently, the same people from Money Back a/k/a Pay Back are also behind this venture. They evidently work with the same boiler rooms.
The Trustpilot Fake
On Trustpilot, Money Back a/k/a PayBack (www.payback-ltd.com) and Funds Recovery (www.funds-recovery.com) have impressive 4.7-star and 4.5-star ratings, respectively, with an “Excellent” trust level. However, some reviews look questionable, to say the least. Of all the 4- and 5-star reviews submitted on Trustpilot in August 2021, 11 were written by people who had never written a review before and/or were invited by Money Back. For 4 5-star reviewers, it was only the second review, but 3 of them were invited by Money Back. Three dissatisfied customers have called Money Back a scam.
Analyzing the reviews, one can see a questionable approach of Funds Recover as with Money Back. We found several 5-star reviewers who wrote almost identical reviews for Money Back a/k/a PayBack and Funds Recovery (here and here). This smells like a fake.
Action Refund Ltd d/b/a Action Refund is a fund recovery scheme (www.actionrefund.com and www.actionrefund-ltd.com) based in Ramat Gan in Israel. It is controlled by Yaakov Glidai (LinkedIn) and Itai Haimovich through their companies Red Hot Holdings Ltd and Haimovich Holdings and Investments Ltd.
Scam victims who want to get their money back via Action Refund (ARF) must first sign a Fund Recovery Services Engagement and, in it, agree to pay a non-refundable retainer of at least $5,000 plus 10% of the recovered funds as commission.
Yaakov Glidai, who works in Israel, Ukraine, and Dubai, runs different businesses, he says on LinkedIn. Itai Haimovich, too, has different businesses and used to have a restaurant in Tel Aviv.
Call Center in Israel
Action Refund operates through a call center in Israel with nearly 20 agents that actively address scam victims. On their Facebook page, they frequently post their success stories.
Some of Action Refund‘s former clients have provided us with information that paints an unflattering picture of the company’s work. However, it is currently too early to make a serious report. Therefore we want to have more information. According to their website, Action Refund helped 1,225 scam victims to recover more than $2,3 million. Sounds impressive, doesn’t it?
The Trustpilot Question
On Trustpilot, Action Refund has a 4.3-star rating (excellent). However, more than 90% of the reviews are a bit suspicious and smell a bit fake. Many 5-star reviewers have written multiple reviews with 5 stars (see here, for example). This looks like ordered reviews and for sure distorts the statistics and overall rating. There are also many 1-star reviews with scam warnings, but these have less impact with these multiple 5-star ratings.