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How Someone Stole My Identity to Steal Camera Gear

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jamesmillerhead

It’s been a funny week. A couple of days ago, while I was sitting in the office reformatting my MacBook in sunny West Sussex, I was also sort of arrested in Islington, London.

Let me elaborate…

Two weeks ago, the kind people at Varavon (a company that makes video equipment) received an email from a person going by the name James Miller inquiring about getting equipment for review purposes to be shown on Philip Blooms’ website.

The email exchange is below for viewing, but first I’ll summarize them.

1.) James Miller contacts Charlie Shin from Varavon HQ in South Korea and tells how he wants to review or review to purchase film equipment, blog about it, and perhaps purchase the equipment.

2.) They come to agreement on the $1,999 Birdycam II with Charlie then contacting Samin Saadat of Camera Kings London, a dealer of Varavon products, to supply the product to James Miller.

bordu

3.) Samin, then dealing with James Miller, organises to get the Birdycam II shipped over from Varavon.

Sami thought he had better text James Miller using a number from my Vimeo page just to check. I received a txt message asking to call him in regards to the review I will be doing. Of course I texted back saying “What review?”, and with that it became clear what was happening.

What I learned was this other James Miller must have been looking at my tweets and Facebook page to gather information that seem to make it believable — including the fact that I was away shooting in Belgium last week. The impostor used the email address “[email protected],” which had fooled Varavon but not Samin.

By this time Samin was in contact with the Met Police and was soon in contact with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). The CID decided to plan a sting operation to catch the person coming into the store to pick up the equipment, so Camera King would have to play it out to not cause suspicion in order to catch the fraudster.

Not shown on the email string below is Samin and James discussing that he’s too busy to pickup from Camera Kings so he will send an Intern over with the documents needed.

The product arrived at Camera Kings on the September 2nd, and Samin contacted James for pickup by the intern. Sami received a call from my impostor saying his intern will be over at 5pm to pick up the kit. Having only 10 minutes to act, Sami immediately called the police, who arrived at the store with three police vans within minutes.

As planned, the supposed intern arrived at the store handed over documentation that showed a fake driving licence with my picture (shown below) and was handed over the equipment. At that point police arrested the person under fraud charges.

drivers


Here’s the email conversation:

보내는사람 : James Miller
받는사람 : [email protected]
보낸 날짜 : 2015-08-18 20:56:24
제목 : Review Item
Hi there, hope all is well.
I’m James Miller, a filmmaker from London, UK..
Ever since my colleague & friend Philip Bloom informed me about his decision to cease creating review videos he has thought it a good idea that I start and feature the outcomes on his site. I was reluctant at first but I have since hastily obliged.
I came to the attention of these one hand gimbals like the Pilotfly H1 + and the CAME single from a filmmaker friend who showed them to me along with a couple other competitors and said that there would be a surge of one hand gimbals very soon and that he was waiting to see how Varavon and DJI respond. After watching some review videos on these gimbals and footage I came to realise what all the hype was about.

So firstly, are you developing a one hand 3 axis gimbal? and if so I am very keen to receive a production model of it for review at the earliest possible time with a option to purchase after the review term.
I will endeavour to create an informative, in-depth & fair review of around 15-20 minutes that will feature your gimbal only and not any of the competitors.
The review will feature on Philip Blooms website & social media accounts, as well as mine and as a result will be picked up by a multitude of filmmaking publications.
I look forward to your reply.
Kind regards,
James Miller
UK// +44 7954512274
Vimeo Twitter Deluts

On Wednesday, 19 August 2015, 11:32, 신승욱 wrote:
Dear James Miller,
Good day!
I am Charlie Shin from Varavon HQ South Korea and I am in charge of overseas sales.
First of all, thank you so much for kind concern and propose for a review.
Regarding one hand gimbal, we’ve been trying to create one hand gimbal several times but unfortunately we don’t have one hand gimbal yet.
For this reason, it is hard to cooporate for one hand gimbals with you.
But I will try to find best way to cooporate if you intersted in any other Varavon products.
Please kindly visit our web site on www.varavon.com
For your information we have dealer in London near Arsenal stadium.
Once again, thank you so much for your kind concern.
Have a fantabulous day!
Kind regards,
Charlie Shin
Varavon South Korea (Headquarters)
Address: 32-3 Daepo ri, Yangchon-eup, Gimpo-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea (Zip: 415-823)
Tel: +82 70 8630 6230
Mobile: +82 10 4785 0417
Skype: charlie990417
www.varavon.com

보내는사람 : James Miller
받는사람 : 신승욱
보낸 날짜 : 2015-08-19 19:45:31
제목 : Re: Review Item
Hello Charlie,
Thanks for our quick reply.
No worries, perhaps we could do it for the Birdycam II as we plan on doing a two handed gimbal review series too, I already have a Ronin so this would be without an option to buy and I would return it to your London dealer. (Unless of course its better haha)
Let me know Charlie
Kindest regards
James Miller
UK// +44 7954512274
Vimeo Twitter Deluts

On Thursday, 20 August 2015, 1:14, 신승욱 wrote:
Dear Jame Miller,
Thank you for your prompt reply.
I really appreciate for your kind concern.
Yes I talked to Mr. Samin Saadat who shop manager of CameraKings(London dealer)
He will arrange for the Bridycam II review for you as well as you could visit CameraKings if you like.
Please kindly contact Mr. Samin Saadat and contact details as follow,
Mr. Samin Saadat (Creative Producer / Shop Manager)
Address: 23A Benwell Road, Unit B Islington London
Tel: 0207 700 6779
0203 318 2880
http://camerakings.co.uk/
Once again thank you very much for your kind concern and hope this cooperation will continue.
Please contact me if you have any question or comments.
With kind regards,
Charlie Shin
Varavon South Korea (Headquarters)
Address: 32-3 Daepo ri, Yangchon-eup, Gimpo-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea (Zip: 415-823)
Tel: +82 70 8630 6230
Mobile: +82 10 4785 0417
Skype: charlie990417
www.varavon.com

보내는사람 : James Miller
받는사람 : 신승욱
보낸 날짜 : 2015-08-21 15:25:11
제목 : Re: Re: Review Item
Hey Charlie,
Thanks very much for setting this up, I can’t wait to get my hands on it!
Would you happen to have an e-mail address for Samin Saadat?
Thank you
Kind Regards
James Miller
UK// +44 7954512274
Vimeo Twitter Deluts

On Friday, 21 August 2015, 9:12, 신승욱 wrote:
Dear James,
Morning!
Thanks for your email.
Of course, you can conatct Mr. Samin Saadat [email protected]
For your information, Varavon will particiapte IBC 2015 as exhibitor next month in Amsterdam.
Our booth number is 11.C11
I hope I will see you there if you visit IBC.
Once again, thanks for yor kind concern.
Have a fantabulous day!
Charlie Shin
Varavon South Korea (Headquarters)
Address: 32-3 Daepo ri, Yangchon-eup, Gimpo-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea (Zip: 415-823)
Tel: +82 70 8630 6230
Mobile: +82 10 4785 0417
Skype: charlie990417
www.varavon.com

보내는사람 : James Miller
받는사람 : 신승욱
보낸 날짜 : 2015-08-23 10:00:53
제목 : Re: Re: Re: Review Item
Hey Charlie,
Have you had a chance to speak to Samin about my situation at all?
Kindest regards,
James Miller
UK// +44 7954512274
Vimeo Twitter Deluts

On Friday, 28 August 2015, 7:17, 신승욱 wrote:
Hi Samin and James,
Morning gentlemen!
I am pleased to inform you that all new Birdycam II has been picked up by FedEx Korea this afternoon(28th-Aug.)
Tracking number is 6471 5037 6900
Dear James!
I am plesaed to inform you that I sent an one Zeus A7R2 Cage(which newly lauched few days ago) to your colleague Mr. Philip Bloom (team) in Florida USA today for review.
http://varavon.com/colle…/…/products/zeus-a7r2-standard-cage
Also, if you visit IBC 2015 next month in Amsterdam, please visit Varavon booth (No.: 11.C11) and I will be there!
Thanks for your kind cooperation both Samin and James.
Hope you will have fantabulous weekend : -)
Kind regards
Charlie Shin
Varavon South Korea (Headquarters)
Address: 32-3 Daepo ri, Yangchon-eup, Gimpo-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea (Zip: 415-823)
Tel: +82 70 8630 6230
Mobile: +82 10 4785 0417
Skype: charlie990417
www.varavon.com

From: James Miller
Subject: Re: Re: Review Item
Date: 28 August 2015 11:37:39 BST
To: 신승욱
Cc: ‘Samin’
Reply-To: James Miller
Hey guys,
Thanks Charlie, no problem and thanks again for facilitating this.
I’m in Belgium as of now and I’m trying to stay here long enough so I can hop to Amsterdam and make it look like I was just passing through smile emoticon I’ll be sure to come through and say “Hi” I didn’t at all know you make cages too.
Samin, I’ll complete the loan agreement when I find time this weekend, I’m looking at around a 3 weeks loan period, I’ll highlight the reasons for this in the document.
Have a lovely weekend guys!
Best,
James Miller
UK// +44 7954512274
Skype: jamesmillerdop
Vimeo Twitter Deluts


I would like to thank Samin Saadat of Camera Kings, London and Charlie Shin from Varavon for organizing and keeping the bait going to catch either this person acting solo or a couple of people who were trying their luck.

It does go to show you how easy it is to gather pieces of online information together to commit fraud.

If you have been contacted by me in the past or more recently requesting equipment for review and are suspicious please do let me know as I worry that if this person tried with Varavon, how many other companies has he tried with? Look out for the email he was going with: [email protected]


About the author: The real James Miller is a London-based filmmaker who specializes in documentary, corporate, music, and lens whacking. You can connect with him on Facebook, Flickr, Vimeo, and Twitter. This article was also published here.

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