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Sunday, 4 March 2012

AVB Logistic Company (avb-logistic.com) is a scam

AVB Logistic Company (avb-logistic.com) looks very much like a real company from the website, but in fact it is a scam operation laundering money, targeted primarily at people in Greece and Italy. It also appears to be related to a similar scam site called Landexpo Logistic (landexpo-logistic.com).

This fake company came to my notice because of a series of comments in another thread (original / Google Translated) which indicates that they may have been recruited through a spam run last year.

The AVB Logistics web site looks professional enough, but there's a reason for that which will become apparent:

AVB gives the following "facts" about itself on the web site:

As an external partner, AVB (Manchester), develops a comprehensive range of logistics and service solutions for trade and industry. In 2007, the group generated sales of 2.0 billion euros and currently employs approximately 8,500 staff in 44 countries. AVB operates in all important markets worldwide and has over 400 locations across all continents
It also claims its address to be:

United Kingdom:     AVB
Paycocke Road,
Basildon, Essex
SS14 3DW
E-Mail:     contact@avb-logistic.com
Although there is some evidence that they recently changed this from:

AVB Norris road 57. M29 8FH Manchester. Tel.: +44 161 408 1090.
They claim that their shares have been listed in London since 2000 under the stock ticker symbol TGH.

So, what's wrong with this picture. Well, in reverse order..

TGH is indeed a share on the London Stock market, but it belongs to Textainer Group Holdings Limited (as you might expect a with share with those initials).

There is no such company visible in the list of UK Companies (Companies House Webcheck) as AVB Logistic or AVB (Manchester) although there are plenty of innocent companies with the same name.

The address in Basildon belongs to a different company, Cosco Logistics. There are several companies nearby, none of which are called AVB. There appears to be no company called AVB in Basildon at all according to business listings.

There is no Norris Road in the postcode M29 8FH, but there is a Norris Street. Norris Street is very short, it only has about 4 properties on it, so there is no number 57. A Google search for "44 161 408 1090" reveals no credible references, but it does reveal an apparent scam site called landexpo-logistic.com sharing the same number.

According to their website, AVB Logistic has been in business since at least 2000, but their domain name was only registered on 15th January 2012 through a registrar in Russia with anonymous details:

Registration Service Provided By: RU-TLD.RU
Contact: +007.4012971111


    Domain Admin        (contact@privacyprotect.org)
    ID#10760, PO Box 16
    Note - All Postal Mails Rejected, visit Privacyprotect.org
    Nobby Beach
    null,QLD 4218
    Tel. +45.36946676

Creation Date: 15-Jan-2012 
Expiration Date: 15-Jan-2013

Domain servers in listed order:

It is unlikely that a large and well-established company would only just have created their web site.

The site is hosted on, an IP address allocated to Hetzner in Germany, but then rented out to a Russian hosting company called reserver.ru

And the reason the site looks so professional? Most of it has been copied directly from a legitimate company called Logwin Logistics, you can see this very clearly on some pages. For example, Logwin's page about Graduates looks like this.

The AVB page at avb-logistic.com/university.htm looks like this:

There are several other pages that are a direct copy.

It's obvious that AVB Logisitic is a fake. But what does it do? Basically, it is a money mule operating being used to launder stolen money - typically from hacked bank accounts.

The "mule" is recruited to receive the stolen money from one account, and then send it out via Wire Transfer (for example, Western Union), taking a percentage of the money as commission along the way. So, for example, a bank account is hacked with €10,000 in it, the money is transferred to the "mule" who keeps 10 (€1000) and wires €9000 off to somewhere else (typically Russia or Ukraine).

But what happens next is that the original theft of €10,000 is discovered - but the mule is liable for the whole amount of money, and often this is where the police get involved. At best, the mule has to repay all €10,000, at worst there could be a criminal investigation.

So.. if approached by these people, probably the best thing to do is ignore them completely and do not reply. If you have moved money through your accounts for these people, then the best thing to do is speak to your bank right away.

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