Internationale Zurich Gruppe

Did you notice this company? Probably not.

This is the latest in a long list of stock trading companies that called me from overseas trying to sell me stocks (in this case, they start with Quantum, a company offering battery and battery management solutions – actually a good company).

What is funny about it is that they are not existing on Internet. What would you think of a company asking for your money (for a good investment, of course) while the web site has been created less than a month ago, and that virtually does not exit (Google produces no result for the search of “International Zurich Gruppe” – except this web page now and only two results for the search of “Internationale Zurich Gruppe”).

I suggest a lot of attention and circunspection to all investors when they are contacted by a company they don’t know and they are told “how about starting with a limited amount of money to test us?”

36 comments

  1. Yes,
    They have contacted me. The hurried and hysterical tone of the contact alarmed me.

    The company they propose I invest in is genuine enough, if highly risky, possibly a fair investment, but the organisation itself is vague.

    Any genuine company starts off by sending out their terms of business, naming their regulator etc., and can provide references. Zurich don’t.

    As with ostrich farms etc, it is difficult to be confident that one can get your money out.

  2. Actually, if you add an “e” to end of “international”, you get one hit – their website.

  3. As you say: It is difficult to be confident. I was specifically surprised that their name (International Zurich Gruppe or Internationale Zurich Gruppe) did not even appear in any Internet-public database of Swiss companies…

    No proof, but this looks funny to me, even if the companies they suggest seem to be fairly legal, sound and normal ones.

  4. They contacted me & I have invested through them with a listed company which is trading well. My concern is that I have an Equity & Open Position Report listing my shares, but no actual share certificates. They are contactable by telephone & all enquiries are answered, and all their paperwork has followed through.

    Should I have actual share certificates from the company I have invested with?

  5. I am not a lawyer, and my advice may not be as sound as one coming from a professional, but here is what I believe you should be interested into.

    Actual share certificates (paper ones) are becoming more and more uncommon and they are no longer the normal case for companies listed on major Stock Exchanges. So, having a “reports” or “listings” is a normal situation.

    If the shares are listed in the company that you invested into, you should be able to get a confirmation directly from the company to get some reassurement.
    If the shares are listed at IZG, it is somewhat less easy but you could also check with the listed company to be sure that you are identified as a share-holder.

    Personally, I would not leave shares in an account I do not feel completely secure about (a major brokerage agency, a bank), but it’s a personal choice. In this case, since IZG is considering itself as only an intermediary, they should make no difficulty to help you transfer your shares to your bank account or to some broker where you already have an account. I can imagine that there would be some minor fees associated and this would be normal.

    Usually, the less expensive option, but less flexible, is to leave the shares in the listed company books (usually no fees at all). The most flexible is to have your shares in a broker account: They can be negociated at any time on any of the markets where they can be admitted (but most brokers require a yearly fee to hold them).

    So, “actual share certificates” is no longer a pre-requisite for your safety. I do have American shares that were transformed from paper certificates to pure electronic listing form a few years ago without any negative impact (actually, pure electronic reduces handling costs – as credit cards improved over paper checks).

  6. I hope I’m wrong but I think this is a scam. A friend has been sucked in by them for quite a lot of money. He was getting uneasy and finally spoke to me. I’ve checked out one share certificate “Apollo Resources” with the company. They have just advised that it is not authentic. I found your comments when searching the web for guess who!! The guy is quite elderly and the money involved was a frightening chunk of his life savings. If anyone has any ideas of where to go from here I’d be pleased to hear it.

  7. I’m pretty sure that courts/police would be interested to know about it. Even if foreign locations usually help in porotecting scammers (the worst case I’ve got was a company headquartered in Netherlands, with main offices in Switzerland, and a guy calling from Spain using a hidden phone number).

    If the amount is large enough any police officer (in any country) will be interested in checking on the issue and possibly pushing the file up to the adequate level.

    But, chester, your move of checking the certificate was certainly the right ones. It’s quite easy to print nice paper and send it around to people who would be giving their money.

  8. I HAVE HANDED OVER SOME OF MY HARD EARNED CASH TO IZG BUT I DO NOT FEEL CONFIDENTE THAT IT WILL RETURN.I AM NOW TRYING TO MAKE CONTACT TO SELL MY SHARES BUT HAVE NOT HAD ANY SUCCES SO FAR

  9. They will only contact you again when they think the time is right to get you to part with more money. Their chat is extremely persuasive but don’t get sucked in. I suspect you can write off your investment with them.

    Concerning Yves comments, I’m afraid the police were not particularly helpful. Whilst the sums involved are very significant to the individual, it seems that the police are reluctant to get involved due to the international scope of the operation. (Far too busy nicking speeding motorists, says my cynical side). I am aware of a couple of other victims in the UK but the policing problem here is that due to lack of resourses, they are reluctant to take something on unless it is in their area. Consequently you end up with several local police areas each dealing with a relatively small crime as opposed to one police area dealing with the whole issue.

  10. ****IMPORTANT INFORMATION-PLEASE READ****

    I am posting this message in my capacity as in-house legal counsel of the Zurich Financial Services Group (“Zurich”). Zurich is a leading insurance-based financial services provider worldwide with its registered head-office in Zurich, Switzerland. Zurich has built up a substantial goodwill and reputation in the ZURICH name in the insurance and financial services market in Europe and throughout the world.

    Please be informed that “Internationale Zurich Gruppe” (“IZG”) and “First Zurich Group” are in no way associated with Zurich. To our understanding, the above mentioned organizations are not authorized by the FSA (the UK Financial Services Authority) to provide financial services. In addition, the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority, Finansinspektionen, posted on its website the following warning regarding “Internationale Zurich Gruppe”: http://www.fi.se/Templates/Page____6469.aspx

    Zurich has informed the relevant authorities about their possibly illegal conduct. If you have been affected by activities of one of these organizations we recommend that you contact the Metropolitan Police at ‘fraud.alert@met.police.uk’, webpage http://www.met.police.uk/fraudalert/.

    Thank you.

    Konrad Meier
    Group Legal Department
    Zurich Financial Services
    Zurich, Switzerland

  11. I have been trading with IZG and have been dealing a very affable American fellow who I believe was on the brink of extracting a large sum of money from me when he made the fatal mistake of telling me that he was earning too much money and didn’t need my little bit of commission.

    His patter was similar to other rogues i.e. buy shares in a company below market value, i.e. Motorola at $17 when you know the correct price should be $25. Sell out, good profit, reinvest in a second trade i.e. Haliburton, then the cobra strikes – fangs blazing, fantastic opportunity, need to invest £200,000 for very large return immediately, please send telegraphic transfer and kiss your money goodbye.

  12. It looks like I have fallen for this. I was persuaded to invest in Griffin Mining, which I have every confidence in, and which has risen in share value since I parted with my money to IZG. I have all the paperwork IZG sent but no share certificate which was when I started to make further enquiries and found this site. Hope I am wrong but I have that sinking feeling.

  13. BE CAREFUL.IT LOOKS LIKE A BOILER ROOM SCAM.If I were you I would contact the FSA.WITHIN A FEW DAYS, YOU WOULD BE TOLD IF IT IS A SCAM

  14. I’ve just spent 30 minutes on the telephone with this company. Also, I recently got a call from Mid Atlantic Capital Associates trying to get me to invest in a company IPO. I looked up the company and it was true that they were about to float on the stock exchange but the share price was expected to be roughly 50% less than what Mid Atlantic Capital associates were trying to sell them to me for. The company offered to sell me shares directly through a brokerage at a price much lower.
    I’m pretty inexperienced with this type of thing, I have stocks and Shares but it’s pretty obvious what the price you are going to pay is going to be, but how does anyone know the IPO price is a fair and true price and reflects the position of the company when it’s being sold by these intermediaries. Also, there is no need whatsoever for a company like this not to be regulated so if they aren’t don’t use them.

  15. Jonny,

    You experience and you list most of the questions some wise investor should have in front of such a situation. It is true that a financial intermediary must be very trustful: You give your money, they have to provide trust.

    In a small company IPO there are many things that can go wrong, and it is not always because of the intermediary. But getting a direct contact with the company itself may be a good move.

    Just remember that in some scams, even the company is the victim. Bait-and-switch money scams will involve the shares of a small company whose stocks will be moved up and down along the “scam time schedule” and will probably leave the company as victim as the people thinking they were investing in it.

    All in all, I am fascinated that IZG is still operating under this name. They should already have moved to another name and another web site…

  16. Let me add -to be completely clear- that investing your money through a company which is already under investigation is probably worse than trying to have B.Maddoff as your finance advisor.

  17. I have just been contacted by zurich capital gruppe offering shares. is this the same as you have been righting about.

  18. Hallelugla, not just me then? glad to hear that the guy that called me,
    Donald Matthew-Richardson – Senior Consultant
    seems to be the man from IZG is a good salesperson but we seem to be 1 step infront.
    I wont be parting with my hard earned cash.

    Thank you all for the info

  19. Denis,
    I’d say that, if it is not the same company, they seem as reliable as IZG. Look at the following:

    • Zurich Capital Gruppe (ZCG) has no web site (today, no serious company would be in such a situation)
    • ZCG may be similar to more reliable companies, but it does not mean anything…
    • Why would you be confident enough to give ZCG some of your hard-earned money? Would you do this with the first guy you find outdoor? Banks fail, stock exchange markets may fall down, but crooks do not even try…

    But really, do you think that ZCG can be a sound financial institution when Google reports:

    No results found for "zurich capital gruppe".

    I would bet 100€ that this Zurich Capital Gruppe (ZCG) will soon be listed as dubious -at best- or under investigation.

  20. I had a phone call today from a salesman at Zurich Capital Gruppe. He was trying to get me interested in an IPO for BioDefense Corporation, which does have a website and makes a machine for neutralising bio hazards contained within mail. He claimed he could sell me shares in the company for $4.00 and that at the IPO in spring 2010 they would list at $12 to $15. I was very suspicious but kept him talking to find out more about what he was proposing.

  21. Interesting, isn’t it? This guy knows what will happen to a stock in 3 months. He has the right information for this and is more than willing to have you rake dollars in.

    Unfortunately, while BioDefense is a real company (and probably a victim), ZCG is nothing at all (except somebody willing to receive your money).

    That would make me quite suspicious. What do you think about it? It looks less interesting than casino or lottery: Like a bookie who is ready to run with your money before the race!

    Suggested reading to understand how companies like ZCG are working: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pump_and_dump (this scam even has a name).

  22. i invested within a company called zurich capital gruppe who showed me great returns on my money , so it luks 2 me da dis international zurich is a rip off ov da company which helped me

  23. Anyone looking for “zurich capital gruppe” on Google will immediately notice the following list of pages reported by the search engine (as of today).

    1. This web page
    2. The UK Stock Market and Finance regulation body listing the Zurich Capital Gruppe as part of their “Unauthorised overseas firms operating in the UK
    3. The Swedish Stock Market and Finance regulation body listing the Zurich Capital Gruppe as part of their “Investor alerts
    4. An Italian consumer association listing the Zurich Capital Gruppe as part of their “Notice to investors”

    Nothing else! Nobody ever had something positive (or merely something not negative) to say about Zurich Capital Gruppe!

    Mr Hampton,

    Zurich Capital Gruppe is obviously an internationally famous swindler. Either you are just a troll (a representant of ZCG trying to protect your crook’s interests) or you are a victim who should contact the local police/judicial authorities in order to have a little chance of tracking them.

    I do not believe that Zurich Capital Gruppe has refunded any significant part of your investment (they may routinely claim that you had great returns until you ask for drawing funds – If you give me 1€, I can easily claim that I invested it for you and it is now valued 1000€). If I’m wrong it will be easy to prove and ZCG will certainly use it to correct their bad reputation in front of such stable judicial authorities as the FSA and the Finansinspektionen.

  24. Mr Hampton, as you imply you did not draw money but just invested it. The worst is probably still to come. Assuming that BioDefense is 100% legit, please, check the suggested reading indicated above: Pump-and-Dump schemes are quite easy to implement making the company and the investors both victims of the same scam. Check the wikipedia page to understand its operation (before you draw your money all looks good; but then…)

    Anyway, an investor firm that is listed by national regulation bodies in the alert/notice/unauthorized lists is -once again- a major investor risk. Remember that when Madoff funds entered these lists, it was much too late.

    Again, I strongly suggest that you contact the local financial regulatory body in your country and try to clarify their status with people you should believe more than ZCG (and me).

  25. Hi i boutght shares at bio defense and recieve a share certificate , i called bio defense to make sure the certificate was good and they said yes. but guy name Donald A Jackson who sold me the shares , called me and ask me to slel my shares for $10.70 , he then got a broker to call me for my share certificate number and said the money would be in my account in a few days , it has been over a month and no money yuet or no call back , but i called bio defense and warn them so my shares are still intact. but these guys are scammers , Donald A Jackson is his name

  26. It’s been a long time I did not check the Google status about this “Internationale Zurich Gruppe”. I just did and I’m impressed by the number of horror stories you can read there (not counting my own web site of course).

  27. It seems these people have reached the middle east as well!! A guy called me from a company called Geminus partner and he offered me Biodefense shares for 5$. This company has a website and biodefense has a websire as well. Everything seemed so real. I even received a package through USP claimed to be from Biodefense..
    5000$ has gone from my account, one month now and no one is replying to my e-mails. Had to learn the hard way.
    My advice: if there is a profit out there, why should people that we dont know call us to take that money??they will take it and will not share it even with their wives..
    any way, take care guys from such calls, they seem very real…dont repeat my mistake.

  28. Guys Biodefense is a long running scam. Many boiler room scams have been selling Biodefense shares with promises it will go public ‘next month’ since a year ago. Remember that it is illegal for anyone to cold call you selling shares, there are no honest people selling shares over the phone. Everything you were told is a lie and you will never see a penny of your money again.

    Because you fell for this scam you are now on their ‘mugs list’ and you will be receiving many more calls. These callers may offer to buy your shares for an upfront fee or they may pretend to be federal agents investigating the matter. In every case when you are asked for money up front they will steal it and disappear, it is just an extension of the original scam.

    Some people have fallen for these secondary scams and have lost upwards of 100,000. The average loss to a boiler room scam is about 25,000.

  29. a word of warning to everybody. If you get contacted by anybody about Biodefence Corporation, which includes officials from the company, DO NOT TOUCH THEM WITH A BARGE POLE, AS THEY ARE ALL CROOKS!!!!!!!!!!!

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