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Podcast with Tony Sales: Organized Retail Crime, Retail Fraud, Conoavirus Scams, Ransomware, Identity Fraud & Cyber Security

For the episode audio, please check out our podcast page. 

Terry Tateossian (00:42):

I am excited to introduce our guest today Tony Sales. Tony is currently the director of strategic development for we find fraud. Tony is known as a reformed fraudster and one of very few people to have ever worked at the summits of both organized crime fraud and loss prevention. He specializes in fraud prevention, social engineering, organized crime, data security, physical security hacking, and cyber crime and crime intelligence. Tony Sales also walked away with 30 million pounds using half personal data, and now spends his time helping organizations test dairy commerce systems, their security systems, their cybersecurity protocol. And so on. He’s known as Britain’s greatest fraudster by the British media and has the unique skillset that is extremely valuable to any major organization looking to prevent fraud and other cyber crime. When most kids are testing out their first jobs as dog sitting or babysitting. Tony’s first encounter with cyber crime was at the age of 13.

Terry Tateossian (01:58):

And he’s going to tell us a bit more about his story on this episode, but he tested out different credit card scams at the age of as early as 13, and eventually, he spent some time behind bars. You reformed. He turned his life around and now spends his time advising organizations on cybersecurity. Tony, welcome.

Tony Sales (02:21):

Hello Terry. Thanks for having me.

Terry Tateossian (02:23):

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me today. I am super excited to dive into your fascinating story during this unprecedented time of increased crime rates. COVID-19 lockdowns social unrest in the United States, and I hear it spilling over into London and into England as a whole and into Italy. And probably as we speak right now in many other countries, if there ever was a time to increase our awareness of cyber security and organized crime, it is now. So we really appreciate you taking the time to share your knowledge and experience with our audience today. So I wanted to start off with just chatting a bit about your background and how did you find cybersecurity or how did cybersecurity find you?

Tony Sales (03:22):

And actually I come out of prison and in prison, artists decided that I was going to get involved in a loss prevention asset protection. As I know it now, I mean, I didn’t even know the names of what it was called back then. And I got out and just kind of hit Google and was just literally tapping away retail fraud, retail, crime banking crime. And I started to notice that there was lots of different forums and events that took place that I was really kind of unaware of before, you know, as a fraudster, you kind of never looked behind you or what’s coming. You’re just going forward. You’re never looking at what’s behind you to take you away. And I reached out to a conference. I was really lucky. Really. I actually went to a meeting and met some guys from vice who asked me if I wanted to make a documentary.

Tony Sales (04:17):

And so I agreed eventually to make a documentary called how to get away with stealing that documentary went viral. I then approached this company to book them and sent them a short video of the staff on how to get away with stealing. And the guy rung me back within 20 minutes and was like, wow, we’d really like you to speak. So I’d never, never done anything like getting, I didn’t know how I was going to get into that world, obviously new art, a good skillset to use, but I didn’t know how, how, or who to get to. So I went along to this conference and I just kind of poured my heart out on stage. And just the audience was stunned. I remember looking there thinking I’m must be really bad. Yeah. and walked off stage. And then I was mobbed for like three hours and stood during a Q and a for three hours who, and someone was standing in the background that was really commercially astute understood how the market worked.

Tony Sales (05:22):

And yeah, he approached me and said, did I want to do some would I do some stuff with them? And I was like, yeah, definitely.  I’d definitely be interested. They said that they could pitch my services out to retailers who were interested in penetration testing. Wasn’t a thing. Then it was digitally, but physically people were just kind of doing walk rounds and stuff, but not mixing the two. So I kind of come along and mixed both the data world with the digital world and the physical and kind of said, look, I’m just going to steal all your data because that’s the most valuable asset that you have. And once I’ve done that, my name started to get bigger and, you know, I would go and do bigger and bolder fittings, just try, you know, I just came out with just things the way to ask the criminal, see things very differently because it’s when you grow up in something, your mindsets at the end of every different place. So that becomes very valuable. Right. So rightly said too many companies.

Terry Tateossian (06:25):

So let’s talk about that. So how, how would you describe what your childhood was like growing up?

Tony Sales (06:33):

And I had a good childhood in fairness. I mean, you know, but it’s what people are. I know that there’s worse, people than me that, you know, bad stuff happened to other people as well. So at two days old, my mum gave me a way to my grandmother. She was 17. My mum, when she had me, she’s a young girl still. And I suppose that creates a lot of mommy issues as, as a Mao needing that love and bond and that stuff, you know, my dad had left and didn’t have a mum or dad. I’ve got my Nan and granddad that are both a male, you know, the dead now God bless them, but there are amazing people that just took me on as their own. I grew up with my Nan, but you know, the clothes that they would buy me would be kind of the older, I would be the kid that would be dressed into pimp souls that were, you know, 99 Pence. And, you know, they didn’t really have much money. My Nan really, I mean, I never had McDonald’s until I was 16.

Tony Sales (07:36):

Yeah. It’s a good thing. Yeah, definitely. And my name was always, you know, good home cooked food loads of vegetables and all of that kind of staff. But as a kid, when you’re mixing with other kids that have all the nice trainers, the Nike’s, the Adidas that all the bits that they’ve got, I wanted that. Yeah. I kind of wanted that. You see other boys go in with girls and asking the girls out, you know, like kind of all those big movies that you’ve seen in the States right. Of the problems. And, you know, I want to be that kid that could ask a girl out and she’d, she’d want to go out with me, but of course I asked to go out to go out with me and she just looked me up and down and was kind of like go away you little tramp.

Tony Sales (08:22):

And that causes a whole load of different stuff to happen. Now. I mean, previously before that I was my uncle, my mom’s brother also lived with my Nan. And so I felt that I had an older brother, but you know, he was probably a bit jealous of me in certain places may be a, as an adult. Now I can reflect on that and look back at that as something that definitely molded me into becoming a criminal, because I was always a person that they would put up to do stuff. So you know, for when I was seven years old, I get lowered into a pub from the hatch on the roof of the pub with a piece of rope with my uncle and his crew who tell me to open the door. And of course, when I opened the door, they walked the pub.

Tony Sales (09:11):

That is my, my, you know, there’s many, many other things that have happened in between there to me go in. And, and that moment, that apifany moment that makes me go right. How do I steal money? I was being led down a path already on it. It’s a real funny one. Nature nurture is a real, you know, I’ve learned to understand so much about trauma and, you know, I had sexual abuse as a child. There’s, there’s lots of stuff that goes on that creates. It’s just something we’ve been asking as humans that, you know, it would take me a lot of years to get over that. But there is people always say to me, yeah, I really try and think like a fruit star and my instant reaction is always, I’m really sorry to hear that. And people always look at me a bit astounded, like what’s he talking about?

Tony Sales (09:59):

But I know the pain and suffering that I went for as a child. Yeah. That you can’t just be a criminal. It’s not something you can just be if you decent, hardworking, honest parents. Yeah. Don’t bring their children up to be criminals. Yeah. It’s not a choice. And I think that that’s history shows us that we can look at every single murder case ever. Yeah. That’s just trauma. Yeah. There’s, there’s not a psychologist or psychiatrist on the planet. That’s going to tell us any different all the times we look at crime from that type of angle, you know, of demons, bad punish put away, or I mean, you guys in the States are amazing at looking at it in a different way here in the UK. We’re still stuck in the ancient times. It seems of where we just lock everyone up and far away the key because they’re intrinsically bad. You know, if I would have been gotten it at a young age. Yeah. Some of the stuff that I could have talked to financial institutions around the world would have been mass. I would have been seen as a financial genius, probably because of some of the stuff that we could have created. But we wouldn’t have had the experience of being able to do that if I hadn’t been through the crime part of it. So it’s kind of always that kind of plow, if that makes sense. I can see not in a way that,

Terry Tateossian (11:21):

I mean, understanding the financial systems and the financial backbone, and then also the aspect of social engineering of how you actually get around certain barriers that are created by institutions at, at such a young age. Personally. I think that that is absolutely a brilliant type of mind can do that. You know, in which direction you take it in depends on your experience and depends on what limitations do you feel that have been put in front of you? So I, I feel that if, if that option was even there, I mean back then that job didn’t even exist when, when you already knew how to do that right. Place to go.

Tony Sales (12:13):

Yeah, exactly. Right. And that, you know, where do you kind of go for that? You don’t, it’s a really strange one, you know, because you kind of, you filled it. I always felt that I was different than I saw the world in a different way. Right. From a very young age, I would ask questions. Yeah. I mean, seven years old, again, my grandmother takes me to Morocco and I actually got to swim in the King’s pool because I was asking so many questions, the King of Morocco, I overheard me asking them about the swimming pool. Cause I I’m a swim like a fish. Right. I should have definitely been a professional swimmer. And because I was so obsessed with the Walmart, he allowed me to go to the pool and that’s all questions it’s all about. And even now I always questioned everything, whether that be the law, whether that be what’s happening around COVID, whether that be just walking down the road, our question, absolutely. Everything. It’s always been a massive part of who I am.

Terry Tateossian (13:10):

Curiosity. Yeah. So tell, tell, tell us a bit about some of the first like the beginning of some of the things that you were involved in, what types of opportunities were there that you were able to kind of manipulate

Tony Sales (13:27):

So many, you know, latter 13, it starts with going door to door and sponsorship forms. Right. But what I’m learning at that time is how to obtain data, how to obtain personal information. Right? So if you go to someone’s door, you need their name, address, and how much they’re going to sponsor you for. Right. So, you know, kind of in today’s GDPR terms, you’d kind of be one piece of information away from acting to be on the ICO register as someone who obtains data you know, back then, people didn’t understand what they was. But you know, I very quickly grew that into opening up video in a member of the old VHS videos that we all used to use every you know, all the time VHS video accounts. Yeah. In fake names that we’d found from people that we’d got on the sponsorship forms like there’s so Mick and it just moves.

Tony Sales (14:30):

And then I figured out how to, so again, you know, back then that was rich video which were in the early days of videos before blockbuster took them all over. We figured out that if you pressed F nine F 10 return return on the computer, it would wipe off the video. So we would steal the videos from the Dropbox. Yeah. That everyone puts the lazy videos in where the dominant guy in the shop would steal the videos out of there. Cause the flap was quite open, go in the store, go to the computer, could cause a distraction with the member of staff and just lean over scan the video F nine F 10 return return. And that was the video back in the company, as far as they were concerned. But you know, those videos back then we had a guy that would buy every single video I’ve got for 20 quid.

Tony Sales (15:17):

You could Nick at least 10 videos today. Now you into 200 quid as a 14, 15 year old boy. And there’s four of us doing it. Yeah. Lie dead. It’s just how you make money. And then you move on to the next segment. And then because you’re doing little bits and pieces, you’ve got a little bit of money. We’re dressing different. Now I’ve combined my clothes. I could, you know, I spent 125 pound on a chippy jacket. Yeah. Just, it was reversible because I was like, yes. Oh wow. I’ve kind of finally made it. And I bought myself a peat, a pair of pink Nike. Yeah. When they first come out with the little air bubble in them. Yeah. the pink ones, they were pink and blue. They were amazing. And I put myself a pair of CRX, Reeboks in pink as well. I must’ve had a past election with pink.

Tony Sales (16:04):

And you dress, but you start to feel bad or you start to people start to look at you differently. And that then really kind of helped my move up within the criminal world. So then at 15 I meet a guy who’s into credit cards. He shows, you know, me and my friends had to clone credit cards. We was buying them just to use, to get them on just with the magnetic strip on the back. Yeah. Just with the track to information. And in the UK, you used to get like our Argus, premier points cards of our God is a store here, like a retailer store where you would save these points up just like green shield stamps. Yeah. And then you would buy some cups or you could buy some plates or wherever it is. We figured out that that magnetic strip would hold the credit card information on the back as well.

Tony Sales (16:54):

Yeah. So we would go around and get people that we knew in store. So we’d find people that worked in petrol gavage is in little restaurant in all different types of places that were taking the magnetic swipes back then. And we would just use them, you know, we would go and swipe through and say that, you know, swipe through 400 quick, give us 50 quid back. You know, the person in the shop gets bought a hundred pound ticket in of which they can get 50 quick back for cause the money’s gone into their bank. Yeah. So it’s all, it just all plays on the internal staff and then upscaling, you start to get greedy. You start to like all businesses. Yeah. You start to become entrepreneurial and think, how can I maximize more of that data? How can I achieve more of that? They are Wells.

Tony Sales (17:43):

Can I do with the day are so and what else can I do with the people that aren’t paying money to every week? And then I kind of came up with an idea where we could put them in shops. We could get these little grabbers. So you could get like a little grabber that you could just place in your hand. And if you then came to me and I’m working in a shop, you give me your card, you swipe your card through my grabber  that just takes an imprint, a digital print of your card that can hold up to free files and numbers. Yeah. So now the waitress can have that in our pocket. You pay in a restaurant you’re quite swiped, you know, and by the time I’ve kind of come to the end of that, either 300 people working in restaurants throughout South East cause it was massively scalable and you start to learn about plastic and about how to punch credit cards and how to buy blank, faces, how to print blank, faces how to corrupt people in places where blank faces that made you learn so much stuff and money takes you to the next level.

Tony Sales (18:54):

Every single time, the more money you got for some reason, people take you more seriously. You’re not a time waster. You know, I was making a lot of money back then. And so I was able to move up the ranks quite quickly.

Terry Tateossian (19:07):

And then how, what were some of the next things that happen after that? So you were scaling and growing and it was becoming a business basically.

Tony Sales (19:19):

Yeah, it was the credit card companies were getting smart as well. Right. So, you know, they, that we, we knew that they could get so back then, right. Let’s say I’ve got, I’ve cloned five cards from one restaurant, right. Two of those cards then go and get used in a number of restaurant. Yeah. Every number that I’ve gotten out of a restaurant from there on out, it’s going to get referred because the credit card company kind of played the variables out. Yeah. And I knew that no, there must be larger. Just refer that. And then back then the phone would bring on the PDQ terminals and whoever was working in the shop would pick it up and say, is the customer there? Can you hand them the phone and confirm them? The details were right. We all remember that stuff happening. So as that’s evolving in the background, you’ve got interest free credits cards, all coming up in the background, the rise of the subprime market and the whole greed of the market to make everyone get financed, to becoming debt to the system, to my hands.

Tony Sales (20:27):

There was big giants back then GE capital that would just on onboard in a heartbeat. Yeah. That would just take every bit of business that they can. And you could hit them, you know, four or five times with the same profile before they actually realized they were being hit because the paperwork trail was so slow to get to them. So people’s information. People didn’t realize you could use that in that way. Then they didn’t realize that people would go in store and impersonate people. Yeah. Identity theft is still not a thing. Mobily. There’s no charge anywhere for identity theft. As one thing, they charge you is different parts of it. Right? So I mean, you guys have it more right than anyone because it’s a federal offense. And the sentencing is a lot higher because of the understanding of what can actually happen. But once you get into a place where we was at, you know, I was going out every week by at least four or 500 driving licenses, four or 500 utility bills.

Tony Sales (21:30):

I had a whole factory, but I employed people at work there and make those documents for me. No, like we would, we would add a whole fleet of bands and cars that would go out and pick all the goods up to bring it all back. Because if you’re going to be involved in organized retail crime, you don’t want to get caught. You know, that the links, the last thing you want to do is get called. But the more time that you have, the more complacent you become, the more laps you become with the stuff that you’re doing. And you just think you’re never going to get cold. And of course that’s where the cops when, right. Because they know time is going to come and buy us all in the bum. At some point, when you’re looking over your shoulder every single day, a week, two week, three weeks, weeks turned into months, months, turn into years

Tony Sales (22:22):

And he’s still in the same position, you know, Slack. And then you have to find other means the money that I’ve made, the money that I’ve accumulated on that using to stay safe, to stay not, no, my wife was pregnant when I went on the run. So I had three boys up until that point. I knew my wife was going to have a girl. I didn’t want to miss the bonding period with my daughter. I was willing to sacrifice a bit more prison time for that. And I did, I’ve got three extra months. I finally cooked for that. I’m glad I thought, I’m glad I went on the run and didn’t miss the bonding period with my daughter. However, I definitely wished I would have gone to prison and not gone on the run and changed my life around from that point onwards because I probably wouldn’t have been as damaged as what I am now, emotionally that six years really took a strain on me and my family of course,

Terry Tateossian (23:19):

Six years as a, as a long time. I mean, you know, I couldn’t imagine, but I would assume there, there would be a lot of psychological and mental stress. You know, just constantly being under some type of pressure.

Terry Tateossian (23:38):

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Tony Sales (24:30):

So what happened at the end of the six years? I assume the investigator called me. Yeah, well, I’ve gone to ’em, I’d actually gone to see one of my friends. And we was meeting in a petrol garage in Essex and I kind of, I drove down there and I got, I had a pair of shorts on, it was a hot summer’s day, a pair of shorts, flip flops. I’ve gone into the Petro gavage. And as I walked in and there was two police officers sitting down having their lunch and I could just feel them looking at me, you know, I could just feel it. I went outside and then I went to get back in my car. And literally as I turned around and opened the door to get in the car, they were walking over to me and they were like, can we have a word please, sir.

Tony Sales (25:18):

So I gave them the name that I’d been using for quite a while that I’ve given before previously, when I’ve been stopped by police, that was clean. And as soon as I gave that name, they slapped the handcuffs on me. And it was kind of lot instantly. I felt tired. I felt like it’s over, but now I’m going to go back to the police station at this point. And they’ll know that, you know, once they put the live scan fingerprint on me, they’re going to get me to get to know who I am and it’s all over. So I sat down on the curb and the police officer actually said to me, are you all right? Is everything okay? And I said, yeah, you’ll see when we get back to the station. And he said, I can already see, I could see relief coming off your face.

Tony Sales (26:06):

Something’s not right. And he was right, but you know, I didn’t get remanded in custody obviously, and get taken back to the courthouse where I’d gone on the run for where I got, I hadn’t realized the last day of the trial. So we, my codefendant went on the run, who they are, but number one in the trial. And he got caught before me. So one of the other guys that was in the trial with us had got cancer and started the judge set a precedent him by giving him 18 months probation. Yeah. So which meant that they could only sense sentence me to a maximum of 15 months. So when I went to the call, I kind of just was honest with the judge and he gave me 12 months, you know, I just said to him exactly what I said to you about my daughter and just said, look, I’m not lying about it.

Tony Sales (27:05):

And my watch is sitting over there. My daughter’s there. I lie. That’s the truth of it. Like, that’s how it was. Yeah. and they accepted that. And I suppose that where I’ve been on the run for all that time, I’m now going to prison now in prison. Yeah. I want to change my life around. I want to kind of, I don’t, where am I going to go? I’m coming out of jail with, you know, I’m coming into jail with, I’ve kind of spent nearly all the money we’ve been trying out and doing live in this big lifestyle line to my wife all that time. And then they come to visit me. My wife didn’t talk to me for three months cause she didn’t know she would run herself. So after the cook case, she didn’t come to see me. And then she came on the visit and she, as she walked onto the visit, she’s holding my son’s hand, who’s crying. And it’s to that point, I realized, wow, look, I’m doing, what’s happened to me, to him. I’ll give you the trauma that I’ve got and that’s not fair. Like how do I break that circle? So I went back to the wing and kind of at that point I knew right now I’m going to get into loss prevention and then that’s how it will happen. So we didn’t go down too well on the wing actually,

Terry Tateossian (28:27):

It’s, it’s an absolutely fascinating story. I mean, the experiences that you’ve had, I think ultimately as difficult as they have been, have brought you to a place where you know, you’re using a very unique skill set that you have to still do that the talent you’re still utilizing the talent that you have just in a different way. And it’s so interesting how life works. Sometimes it has these twists and turns and you end up right where your, your should have been the whole time. Except that back then there were, you know, such such a career did not exist. Cause we were just at the beginning of all of these systems being built and created and you know, kind of brings me to today. So, so what do you do today?

Tony Sales (29:19):

So I kind of still get to do what I used to do only now that I’m a bit of a better businessman, I would hope now. And I, I, you know, we, we do a lot of penetration testing. We do a lot of physical penetration testing. We explain vulnerabilities in systems, we break into banks, we break into retailers. We, you know, we get to do all of that kind of crime staff, but this time we record everything we do, we write in depth report about everything. And you know, my business partners. So my, my business partner is the ex head of fraud and counter terrorism for new Scotland yard. He was, you know, he’s massively influential within the, within those markets. And one of my other business partners is a 22 year old, super hacker who himself was in a little bit of trouble when he was a young kid.

Tony Sales (30:21):

He’s still a young kid, but an amazing young kid. And so we have a real good dynamic team that teach companies how to stay safe in a, in a pragmatic way that, you know, every single test is different every single time. You know, for instance, I, so one time I was employed to stay Laurie, right? Not everything’s digital, right. We still have to get goods around the country. We still have to move stuff everywhere that normally takes place in Laurie’s. So the, the LP team had actually been looking to steal their own Lori and tried it on numerous different occasions. Within 24 hours, I stole three. Cause I worked out that, you know, the guy was taking the keys home in his bag, tell him to stole a bag of keys, copied the keys, put the keys back and then allowed them to fill up all three lorries and then just drove off the full court with the lorries while the, while the drivers went to get their paperwork.

Tony Sales (31:31):

And it was that simple you know, those criminal insights onboarding at the moment in COVID right? So if you’re a bank home, yeah, it’s a massive floor within 20. So on day one of lockdown, we was actually on day one of a pen test. And on that day we found a floor in the back end of a bank that would have allowed us to open bank accounts will digitally, which means that if you get into terrorist financing and stuff, you know, bank accounts are worth absolute fortunes because they are accounts that would have allowed us to send huge amounts of money, keep an eye on if anyone’s flagging those accounts you know, to a criminal terrorist, malicious network, those things are extremely valuable. And of course can be massively damaging, damaging for the reputation of many banks or whoever it is. It’s done that. And they also get fined massive amounts of money. Those are some of my next questions.

Terry Tateossian (32:40):

So based on what’s happening today in, in this environment that we’re in between the lockdowns taking place in New Jersey, where I’m at, we’ve been unlocked down, I think four of us three months now they’re just starting to open up businesses. I think they’re saying June 15th, but you know, who knows at the same time you have all of this social unrest and riots taking place. So, you know, businesses are not just under attack through cyber pathways, but also through physical vandalism and physical break-ins right now, what would you say is your perspective on what can companies do to either proactively anticipate where they could potentially be hit through cyber or through as I call it the, the last mile problem, which is what you just described with the keys and, and, and the driver, what are some ways that they can test themselves or just pay attention?

Tony Sales (33:42):

Just, you know, like I find a lot of companies are really good at processes, right? But the processes don’t get carried out in the right places where they need to be carried out. No, it’s a great process is made in ivory towers that don’t actually play out in the places where they’re needed can create massive problems. So for instance, most people don’t realize that their reception is probably the most vulnerable point and they should because they have a guard at reception. Yeah. Well that all plays into a criminal’s hands because I’m going to look at the guard and find what’s the vulnerability with the God, you know, we all see it in the Hollywood films of stuff that happens. Yeah. So within minutes I’m able to find out where they live, what they do, what time they come in, how do I store them from getting in?

Tony Sales (34:29):

How can I make their day bad? How can I divert their attention throughout their day for that one moment in time that I’m going to create the master moment. Right. And it’s all about any, any big scam, any big bank robbery, any break into the store, unless it’s mob mentality. The mentality is just kind of really difficult to stop because rushing stores is just, you know, we we’ve seen it for many years. It’s something that you can’t compete against just because there’s so many people rushing in, you know, on those occasions, it’s shut us down time and you have to just accept the losses. And that then plays back into the greed of the retailer or the greed of the company that may want to open their doors right in COVID right now. I mean, all the buildings are empty and, and what happens is people think, Oh, well, there’s police out there watching the riots and the pig criminals won’t be able to move about.

Tony Sales (35:24):

Well, of course they can, the criminals are smart. All those letters that everyone gets to move, as would you think the criminals haven’t got them? Of course they got them on day one. Yeah. Because they need to move their drugs. They need to move. Or cause then their line’s going to stop earning money. Yeah. They can’t follow their staff. They don’t have those options. Yeah. They can’t do that. So they have to continue making money. But now if I’m out and I’ve got an NHS ID, a health care workers ID, if I’ve got a ladder allows me to be a critical worker. I’m a journalist, wherever that may be companies send those letters out. Un-Encrypted free, open source out to everywhere. Some companies even put them on their websites for their staff to download. Right. Well, if you think criminals, aren’t looking at that, then you’ve got to be mad.

Tony Sales (36:14):

And that, that is a perfect example of decent, hard working on is people making decisions at times when you don’t need decent, hardworking on these people to make decisions. You know, it goes back to that same stuff that I said to you about childhood. You know, someone sitting there can’t understand, everyone thinks why does someone go and Rob a stalk? Why do they hit the Footlockers to Nick the trainers? Because they can’t afford the trainers. You know? And if they’ve got an opportunity to get loads of them, criminal gangs will jump onto that because train is so like hotcakes on the black market is everyone now? No tags, no, no digital trace, no, none of that stuff, all of that stuff then become sellable. Yeah. In the last riots in the UK, lots of criminals got arrested because they stole blackberries. Well, criminals learned from them.

Tony Sales (37:00):

This takes some time to do that anymore. They still do stuff that they know they can sell on. That’s not going to get reported back to them, or there’s so much a bit globally to no one’s ever going to see that they see that could come from a stolen bit. And that’s how the criminal world always evolved and stays ahead. You know, they learn from what happens. Whereas the law enforcement and the companies have to learn multiple times. You know, most companies won’t even see a breach till it’s already happened. You know that today, the most important part of any company, whether you sell trainers beer yeah. Or whatever else is your client database, because that’s how you sell trainers. Right? Instagram, Facebook, the internet is, is alive. We’ve loads of different stores, all selling everyone’s different products, right. Criminals worked out a way, how to circumvent the security processes that are put in there to stop that from happening to stop all of the damage.

Tony Sales (37:59):

Every time that someone comes up with something, verify yeah. Two factor ID, you know, free factor authentications like SIM swap. Yeah. All of this stuff, no matter all the time, you’re putting your security in someone else’s hands you’ve lost. There’s no way. Yeah. So that’s like me saying, Terry, could you please come around and just sort out a security on my front door. Right. You know, nothing about where I live, the area that I live in, who’s the people to watch and for the area, what, what way is the best way into my building? The best person for did for me to do that is me. Right. Or someone that burgles my buildings, someone that understands how to get into the building that I work in or live in. Yeah. And we see a lot of these parameters that get set across the internet. So some huge companies out there, right.

Tony Sales (38:50):

That, that sell into companies. Right. So for instance, you drive a torsion data cache, right. One MasterCard, one visa, right. And they sell companies, they sell the service that will allow a company to have what they call white or blacklist. I believe they’re changing those names now. Yeah. I know most list, you have people that have been good or bad email addresses. You have credit card numbers that may be good or bad. You have address information that may be good or bad. All of that stuff is a buildup of open source information and information gathered from the clients that visa or whoever else may add. But if I come along and just play for the same tone as what that day is supposed to, and just play with the same pattern is what that date is supposed to add. How does anyone know if in a breach let’s say tomorrow, we hit a company and stole all of their credit card information. That’s new credit card information. That, that system can’t then pick up all right. Easyjet for 9 million the other day. Yeah. 9 million pieces of information. Yeah. I still think that people don’t really understand data today. I still think, you know, the way that you and I are talking right now, right. Is that I know your name and your full name because it’s on there. I know what you do for a living. I’ve got your phone number and now I have clinical pieces of information to socially engineer you.

Tony Sales (40:26):

So that’s kind of all you need. And it’s always going to be a battle. No, that criminals would always find another way round stuff to find stuff. And I try and make people understand the data that they are. And we are all a piece of, they are, every single piece of us should be kept private as much as you possibly can. Yeah. And we give it away.

Terry Tateossian (40:53):

Have you have you started looking into blockchain type of technology for identity theft or identity protection and how, how do you see that playing into the future?

Tony Sales (41:08):

It just depends on how it all comes back. You know? I’ve had, I get approached by a lot of these guys that are involved in blockchain. There’s sometimes they’re, they’re shaking their head with things that I’m saying. Yeah. But blockchain was created by the criminal market, so, okay. So that means it’s quite secure. You’re adapting it because it’s quite secure. Right. but the problem is that it relies upon people, right. So we’re back to the chicken and egg scenario. So how’d, you know, where the people in that chain of trusted how’d, you know, a genius hasn’t mapped out who’s within that chain. Yeah. Hotline. There’s so much still questions that people don’t ask because now blockchain is being made by decent, hardworking, honest people. Yeah. They don’t involve people, which was my point with the lists setting those parameters. Yeah. I should always include people that have been down that road because if someone works in a company and they’re setting a parameter for what their fraud controls look like, yes.

Tony Sales (42:07):

They may be the greatest loss prevention officer on the planet. Yeah. But what they can’t Purdue do is predict, had to do a crime. They might not have had to default their own business in certain ways, but the criminals don’t look for them ways. And they’re the ones that you blocked. They’re the ones that get round the systems that you put in place. So we need to be smarter with the people that we employ and giving some people an opportunity to actually do stuff like that. You know, there’s many reformed people out there that, that kind of do these things, you know? And I think that those people should be given opportunities. Definitely.

Terry Tateossian (42:45):

That’s a very interesting point. Because I, I have this discussion a lot when it comes specifically for machine learning algorithms or artificial intelligence algorithms that are being created right now where some of the issues that are being brought up is that the pattern of thought is not diverse enough where the algorithm is created based on the architect and the coder and the developer and

Tony Sales (43:20):

Chaos theory. Right. So I have conversations with Oxford university, with Cambridge university and with MIT. Right. And they all try to get to that exact dataset of how to spy it, to figure it out. Yeah. But you program human nature. Yeah. And if we’re going to learn AI, cause that’s the next, that’s the Holy grail. That’s where we all want to go. Yeah. But once we program it, so it learns in that way, you know, opening up another massive can of worms. So I think you can get close to it. I think there’s definitely, we’ve actually been creating something. What we call, we find frauds dark mouth. So that’s a total understanding of, you know, just like how these guys supply the information in the same way we can do that exactly the same, but lay it on top of their systems. Yeah. And then filter the information through us. And our result will be because it’s in the way that we think about things in a bit different, but still wearing, we can’t program chaos theory. We can just program how we think, but the data sets that you need to get that don’t exist. So you’re kind of in, you know, you’re grabbing data sets from places that we know are better to grab data sets from than the average person that may go and get them there. And that’s key to it all.

Terry Tateossian (44:42):

So what is one place that you feel is almost impossible to break into?

Tony Sales (44:51):

Nothing is impossible to break into the time. Yeah. We’ll gladly break into them at any point they want.

Terry Tateossian (45:03):

Right. It’s so is it just a matter of time? Is it a matter of resources, a matter of pressure? Is it you know, do you prefer brute force over? You know, let’s say for example, a really, I mean, anybody with $5 can launch a dos attack against an organization. In one minute, I can do it. If I want to. What is when some of the more prevalent ways that people try to attack part of our business are these D dos attack, brute force attacks that we see, are they premeditated towards a specific company or store or a business? Or are they just happening randomly across the board? You know, what is the pattern?

Tony Sales (45:51):

Yeah. So it’s randomly across the board, right? So at the moment you’ve got loads, everyone’s locked up. Even the hackers are locked up, so they’ve got more time to do more stuff. Right. So the more time that they’ve got the more things they’re going to do, hence EasyJet, this is just a stop, right? There’s not a single computer on the planet serving a prison sentence. Not one.

Terry Tateossian (46:15):

Yeah. That’s a very good quote. Wow. Yes. That’s true.

Tony Sales (46:23):

So that tells you everything you need to know. It’s a human yeah. Computers don’t commit crime. People do. That’s our motto. We fight Fraud. Right. So it’s always going to be a human. The weakness is always going to be a human. Yeah. The vulnerability only exists because of a human. So only a human confined it and repair it or exploited it. Yeah. The difference between criminals and loss prevention, asset protection, whatever it is, we call it nowadays is that at five 30, everyone knocks off and goes home foods. Don’t go home at five 30. They’re there for three o’clock in the morning, four o’clock in the morning had an hour sleep back up it because for them, they don’t get paid unless they succeed in the job. And then once you get to being paid, why would you not? It was so easy. Why wouldn’t I do it again?

Tony Sales (47:15):

You know? And nowadays ransomware, you know, look what happened in Baltimore. You know, I’ve been predicting that for years. Yeah. I said, once these things start really like, cause that’s what I would do. I would shut off the city. Yeah. And I’m going to say, Terry, you can’t go onto Facebook until you pay me a hundred dollars. Yeah. You cannot go on internet until you pay me a hundred dollars. Now, what are you going to do? You’re going to go to the police or you gonna pay me a hundred dollars. Right. Right. So for a week, a day, yeah. A month you might think about it, but you’re still not on the internet. So I’m going to email you again. Are you ready to pay me now? Right now, put that up across millions of people. Right? 17 million people live in London and I could take the whole of London in less than an hour.

Terry Tateossian (48:01):

I mean, it’s, it’s incredible just seeing what’s going on in the world and how truly vulnerable we are and how dependent we are on wifi, on internet, on being connected to whatever networks we’re on, on our devices and on everything. You know, everything that we need in order to survive is some type of a computer that can be shut off.

Tony Sales (48:29):

You know, there’s 22 billion devices on the planet, right. That means, you know, wow. Most people have got free devices in each household,

Terry Tateossian (48:42):

Right? Yeah. That’s, that’s about accurate,

Tony Sales (48:45):

Right. Free, different ways to get to you free different ways to target each individual that doesn’t really understand that, Oh look, they didn’t even encrypt their home wifi. They didn’t change the password from when they first joined the internet. Yeah. Laws. We’ve been a weakness that is just there. And we socially engineered the weld. It was worst thing we could have ever have done. Yeah. To believe a hat is something that place that takes place digitally. Yeah.

Terry Tateossian (49:23):

From my perspective is all of the voice devices that are right now, they’re just growing at mass scale. Right. So you have personally in my own house, I have an, I think I have two Alexis, a Google mini and some other device floating around. I’m sure that my, my children use, but those things themselves, I think are there, they’re opening up households in more ways than we could possibly imagine from, you know, listening to our information, to accessing the data, you know, that they never delete apparently to getting access to all of our counts. Like the Alexa has full access into your Amazon account and all of your other devices. I mean, it’s just on believable, the way that we are completely vulnerable and just living our lives, you know, inside out where everybody can see everything, but we don’t know that.

Tony Sales (50:25):

But then Boyce goes, then, then the bank go right. The banks center. Okay. So let’s put voice recognition in. So now if you’ve got all those devices, right, I’m talking to you for a mic that’s plugged in to my computer that transmits my voice to you in the States and lets you hear me how I’m talking. Do people really understand what a hacker or Cracker is? Did he do that? You know, we might be able to buy ion canons for a fiber, right. And, and divert them and take companies down. But the real ones are the ones that see the numbers, the zeros and ones that can change it that see the flaws in the code that can recreate the code that links perfectly in the band to believe you, to be whoever I am. Right.

Terry Tateossian (51:14):

Right. So you can recreate a person’s voice if you were so inclined,

Tony Sales (51:19):

Deep fakes happen every day now. Right. That it’s going to get much worse, but worried about it. It’s been a really good show here in the UK called the capture. Right. Which kind of, you know, it’s a real demonization of where folks face recognition and video footage, deep faking to really go. But the reality of it is, you know, there’s some really good deep fakes out there and it won’t be long. You know, what, what banks now to open up a bank to create a video that I put my little face in and say, hi, this is Tony sours. And my code number is right.

Terry Tateossian (51:50):

Oh no,

Tony Sales (51:54):

Because we’re so reliant on tech. Yeah. Within the whole industry, we forget about that human element within it. You know, if we were all smarter, we wouldn’t get caught out like that. If we were all, if we all understood the pet, the perils of all of it, whether that be from, you know, I’m pretty sure that most people who understand stuff could write an algorithm that would capture every single credit card picture that’s ever been taken and shared across Facebook. Right. So let’s get some videos of Terry let’s get some videos of Tony and that the voice had what changed the beats, the words T V editors are amazing people. Yeah. There’s so much stuff that you can start to do that if you are a criminal network, why wouldn’t you do that with your resources, especially when you’ve got, you know hackers, a a not very violent people. They’re computed people organized crime comes in and comes in violently, which obviously makes people, you know, we live in, in a real short fish moment. I don’t know if you’ve seen that film, but we’ve definitely, definitely get in very close to when stuff like that it’s going to happen.

Terry Tateossian (53:04):

Unbelievable. It makes you run for the Hills and get off the grid as quickly as possible. But tell me, this has been an absolutely fascinating conversation. I feel super lucky to have had your time today to finish things off, what would be the top four things that you would like our audience to take away from this episode?

Tony Sales (53:31):

So never share your information. Yeah. Unless it’s absolutely imperative or you’ve initiated the call. Yeah. So if you are bringing in your bank yeah. Then you should give them your information. Yeah. But if they’re calling you right out of the blue, you’ve not been in touch with them. They’re trying to put you in fear or just stand back for a moment and just think about stuff. And if you’re unsure or someone may know just to check on stuff. Yeah. Google use it. It’s all there for you to use. No bank is ever going to make you feel in a position to make a decision right now. Yeah. They do good business banks, not that business share, and that would be bad practice for them. So that’s always a good, good one and the same goes for business. Right. So if you feel, you know, we have on many occasions rung up and claimed to be from it departments and socially engineered our way through making the internal member of staff make decisions internally for us.

Tony Sales (54:34):

Always check, put the phone down, have a little call, go and check with your managers, your line managers that I T managers that you know, that you you’ve had relationships with. Yeah. Go and do that stuff. Never put your passwords by the side of your computer to number one. Yeah. Like a lot of people, we do a lot of 10. Right. I get into a building. I don’t even need to bring in the hack team because the passwords are all by the side of the computer. I don’t even need the boys to come into crack everything. Yeah. I can just do it. And I’m in yeah. The times I see that kind of stuff. Yeah. And just training, always keep your staff up to date. Even us as individuals, make sure we’re aware of the latest stuff that’s going on. You know, anyone can be a victim if people are interested in broad and they want to understand it, go on and find out as much as you possibly can, like understand what social engineering is, understand this people will ring you up and try and steal your information. You know, whether you’re business or a person now, always my top points. What I like to give to people.

Terry Tateossian (55:40):

Thank you so much. So if anybody wants to reach out to Tony for either help with breaking into their own systems or Tony, you mentioned you have a book coming out.

Tony Sales (55:51):

Yeah. So, so the book should be out in December and we’re kind of nearly, I think we’re three quarters of a way through now. So that’s pretty amazing. So, so yes, we have a big publisher. It’ll be in bookstores all over the place. Please go in and ask for it. If you’re in America, that’d be amazing. So, so yeah, that’s coming out in December

Terry Tateossian (56:15):

And if you ever want me to reach out to you, it would be wefightfraud.org, correct? 

Tony Sales (56:20):

Yes, That’s  wefightfraud.org. And you’ll just look around the website, you’ll see the contact page, come through to one of the guys there and shop. We’ll be glad to have a conversation, but we only want to have conversations with people that really want to be broken and want to understand the processes that they have. Everything we touch. We break.

Terry Tateossian (56:41):

I liked that. No, I liked that a lot. So yeah. So thank you Tony so much. I really appreciate it. I think that it’s, it’s absolutely fascinating and, and you’re, you’re brilliant and, and what you do and how you think. So we really appreciate it.

Tony Sales (57:02):

Wonderful. It’s been a pleasure. Thank you. I look forward to seeing it. Thanks very much.

Terry Tateossian (57:08):

If you enjoy this topic, make sure to tune in next week for our chat with Theresa Payton, she is the former white house CIO, the CEO of foreign Allis solutions and the author of the book manipulated. We discuss tactics on fighting cyber terrorism, fake news, the manipulation and misinformation campaigns, mass mind control and election fraud. You don’t want to miss it. The production of the amplified podcast has been brought to you by Socialfix Media. Socialfix is a transformational growth hacker agency focused on emerging technology platforms, video and podcasts, production, content marketing, and overall startup strategy. Socialfix has helped over 300 clients generate millions of dollars in revenue fund raising and a profit. If you’d like help launching or growing your business, visit socialfix.com. If you like our discussions and we’d like to support our efforts, be sure to subscribe on Patreon, Spotify, iTunes, Google play, or YouTube. If you have an idea about a topic or know someone who would be a great guest, reach out on our website, amplified podcast.com.