A notorious scammer who has targeted the mortgage and real estate industries has been linked to the recent swindling of at least three mortgage brokers.
As reported by The Adviser this morning, a South Australia-based mortgage broker was left nearly $1,000 out of pocket after replying to an unsolicited email from a company called Leads with a Difference.
The article has received numerous online comments, with many brokers believing the scam is linked to known scammer Mark William Whittingham.
The communication between the broker and Leads with a Difference – seen by The Adviser – included an invoice for funds to be deposited into a Victorian trust account for the sale of leads and addressed to premises in Torquay, Melbourne.
This address was previously used by Mr Whittingham’s rent roll broking business Connection Blue, which defrauded several real estate agents.
The Adviser can exclusively reveal that the initial spam email from Leads with a Difference came from the domain incomebuyers.com.au – which was registered by Connection Blue in August 2013.
The domain name hlselserv.com.au – registered to Mr Whittingham – is also connected with the email sent to brokers offering leads.
Contacted by The Adviser, Mr Whittingham admitted he had heard of Leads with a Difference but denied any association with it.
“Nothing to do with me. I’ve left the industry altogether and have nothing to do with financial services any longer and will not have in the future,” he said.
Mr Whittingham went on to say that “a few people” had rung him about the company, but refused to say whether or not they were accusing him of running the business.
When asked about the Torquay address associated both with Connection Blue and Leads with a Difference, Mr Whittingham replied: “Good luck to you finding that out, because I’ve got nothing to say on anything.
“I’m denying that I have anything to do with anything in the mortgage industry any longer, and anyone who says otherwise is lying and making defamatory remarks.”
In July 2013, Mr Whittingham was ordered to pay $198,331 to the director of Consumer Affairs Victoria as compensation to four of the real estate agents who were scammed via Connection Blue.
Since the story broke on The Adviser this morning, two more brokers have come forward to report a similar experience in dealing with Leads with a Difference.
“A little embarrassed, but I was also caught,” said one broker using the online handle ‘Anthony Rods’. “I was sceptical, but paid half of what he was asking, with the balance to be paid yesterday. I did not and will not be paying the balance.”
Another broker, using the handle ‘Paul Fernandes’, was also sucked in by the scam.
“After reading this article I now realise that I will be wasting my time chasing this company! I too was taken in by the call and parted with $600.00 for 10 so-called qualified leads."
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