Citizenship and Passport Review (capr.world), a website managed by an anonymous group claiming to be scam victims and former clients of what they say are certain fraudulent companies in the citizenship and residence by investment industry, recently opened a website dedicated to investigating, naming and shaming malefactors, and to help steer prospective investor immigrants toward legitimate firms.
First to come under fire is an individual who goes by the name Scott Thompson (most likely not the person’s real name), a representative of the website 2ndpassports.com. CAPR writes that 2ndPassports.com is a “100% confirmed scam” and that Thompson claims to be a Canadian, a part of INTERPOL, and that he threatened to “block” clients’ passports if they don’t send him more money after they’d already sent the first payment.
To substantiate their allegations, CAPR have posted voice recordings, invoices, and email-screenshots, and are asking the audience for tips regarding the person’s identity. The group also states that they are in possession of images of the person in question, but are waiting to publish this due to the concerns of one of Thompson’s alleged victims.
Thompson, CAPR further explains, has been using the names of highly reputable companies in the industry to legitimize himself by association, claiming to be affiliated with several of them.
Investment Migration Insider yesterday reached out to CAPR with questions:
Your website says you are a group of people who want to prevent frauds that have happened to you from occurring again. Does this mean you are not investment migration professionals but, rather, former clients?
Yes, exactly. We are not investment migration professionals and so, we do not offer advice of where to go. We have been asked many times to provide references but at this point we are not comfortable in doing that, also we wish to remain free of conflicts of interest. That is to say, if we accept money for paid promotion, we find it problematic to then suggest those companies to our readers.
We have collectively lost a lot of money from these scams, so our family and friends believe we should monetize our site. However, that is not our plan. We think ‘recouping our loses‘ can be seen two ways, financially, where we recoup the money we have lost; but also if we help thousands of people from being scammed, we’ve filled that deficit for ourselves (emotionally, if not financially).
Really, we just want to help others. We are all former clients of scams. The site has cost us a lot of money in hosting and development, and we have zero problems with this and are happy to do it if it benefits the world.
How did you come to learn about the Scott Thompson case? Was it a tip-off or did you initiate the investigation on your own accord?
It was from a former client of “Scott Thompson” / 2ndpassports.com. Organically, we then matched this firm to PassportReviewer.com. I suppose this a bit of a scoop (we’ll be updating with it soon), but surprising or not, both those sites are ….. registered by the same Registrar “Wild West Domains” in America. They, of course, utilize “Domains By Proxy” so we can’t identify the real owners from a WHOIS. But it doesn’t take any more evidence than that and what we’re already published to the site (matching Twitter bots managing their accounts, etc) to see they are the same entity.
2ndpassports.com recently scammed one of us. They changed their WhatsApp to avoid this client, but are now back to being active on their old WhatsApp account. Not even blocking this client. We are certain they know we exist. We know exactly where they are in Tbilisi Georgia and they are really hiding in plain site. Presumably because their government protects them. Their promotion of their exclusive Nicaraguan program is brazen, we would love to hear what Nicaragua has to say about that, so if any of your readers have contacts there (even if the government can just, officially deny 2ndpassports.com’s involvement) that would be great. If you could impart to your readers, any tips in general are appreciated.
Your website encourages prospective CIP-applicants to contact you before enlisting the services of any service provider. Does this mean you are also a lead-generation site?
No. We don’t provide references of where to go, only stories of where not to go. We also supply the right questions to ask and encourage our readers to ask these right questions, which we sometimes supply depending on their story. A lot of time, as in our collective cases, when we were clients this was an emotional journey; for national freedom to move from our home countries, or even for love. In these cases, emotions cloud the mind. So we try to be the people we wish were there when we made our decisions, to say, you are a consumer, you have these rights to answers for services, and you need to both use them, and practice caution.
Are you currently investing other cases of fraud?
Yes. We walk the delicate balance of publishing things immediately as we get them, with not allowing these scam firms to quickly change their methods of operation during an active investigation. For example the registrar information from the question before. I assume now and in the future this company will use a different Registrar. Should we then keep that secret? Or make it public so people know to do this type of investigative reporting on their own?
For now, we err on the side of getting the information out ASAP because we would feel terrible if we sat on information that could help prevent someone from losing a substantial amount of money. We also aren’t here to “witch hunt”, so we provide the evidence which speaks for itself. When we say “100%” scam / fraud – that is the case, very clearly and due to first hand sources – which usually those become internal (part of our organization) because they are already enterprising people that are reaching out wanting to help. They provide documentation validating their claims, and we always reach out to the other firms for comment, but of course, they don’t have any.
Much has been written recently about the need for weeding out the actors giving our industry a bad name. CAPR, as long as they are prudent and take care not to tarnish the names of innocent companies and individuals, can render a great service in that respect. Investment migration practitioners need to identify and ostracize any and all fraudulent companies because these bad apples are jeopardizing the hard-won reputation of an industry in which the overwhelming majority of firms operate in an ethical and forthright manner.
There’s no shortage of bureaucrats looking for a way to regulate or even shutter our line of work. Let’s not give them an excuse. See something? Say something. We either regulate ourselves, or we get regulated.
Christian Henrik Nesheim is the founder and editor of Investment Migration Insider, the #1 magazine – online or offline – for residency and citizenship by investment. He is an internationally recognized expert, speaker, documentary producer, and writer on the subject of investment migration, whose work is cited in the Economist, Bloomberg, Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, and Business Insider. Norwegian by birth, Christian has spent the last 14 years in the United States, China, and Spain.