Featured Posts

Wtach out fo the things.. Things to Every new day brings its delivery of electronic mails. Much people are undergoing an increase of the messages that contain the content that seems to be......

Avoid Fake Check ScamsHere are five things you should know to avoid fake check scams....

Monday, September 17, 2012

Beware of SEO Scammers

Any honest SEO will tell you that, unfortunately, this business seems to attract more than its fair share of scam artists. What makes it worse is the number of people who claim to be SEOs and think they know what they're doing, but discover they don't the next time Google runs an update. Sometimes, we read about a particularly egregious scammer, and feel a need to spread the word.

The latest scammer worthy of note may not have hit the newspapers with the force that JC Penney's mistake did early last year, but it seems to have caused a lot more pain on a personal level for those who were taken in. The short version of this story, like Penney's, is all about link building, with one big difference: the guy collecting the money for the service never came through – and he mostly didn't give refunds to angry customers, either.

The story came up for discussion on our SEO Chat forums. Understand, though, that the scammer himself DIDN'T appear on our forums. As one of our fearless moderators notes, “He would never get away with that BS here.” The dodgy character showed up on a completely different forum (which shall remain nameless) as a new member. He offered a link building service that, as described and for the amount of money being asked, was “too good to be true” to anyone who knows anything about SEO.

I won't link to the thread on the other forum here, or use that business's name (or the name of the scammer's business). I will only say that the other forum has been established long enough to really make you wonder how this could have happened; one would think there were enough experienced people around as members there to read the red flags a lot sooner. (Buyer beware!).
The scammer's offer on the other forum kicks off a 17-page thread that starts June 10 – when the scammer himself had just joined the forum the previous month. The scammer asks for half the money in advance, the remaining half when the work is done, and promises top results for keywords in Google. The price quoted for the work is under $150 – ridiculously low for this kind of service, especially since he's claiming to be totally white hat and promising results within four to eight weeks. Besides, nobody can guarantee their clients the top spot in Google.

Nevertheless, the scammer gets some interest and sign-ups. By the third page of the thread, some are asking for proof of the scammer's work and want to know what kind of link building he does. He apparently sends proof in private messages, and addresses other questions. By page seven, though, there are signs of discontent. We're now up to July 4, and one of his earliest customers is asking if their report has been sent out yet. The scammer reminds users to be patient; reports are monthly, and it hasn't quite been a month yet.

The scammer's customers are definitely starting to get restless. Several note that they haven't seen any movement or results for their websites, and are wondering if anyone else has. Yet some are still buying the package he's offering. On page nine, just a day or two later, with lots of people asking for a report, the scammer seems to have gone silent, at least temporarily.
By this time, almost everyone is noticing little or no movement on the keywords for which they signed up – and what little movement they do see could be due to efforts other than the scammer's. An example post: “Now, only 2 of my 20 keywords are in the top 1000 (not 100, 1000). Meanwhile, keywords that I have been working on myself have made good moves into the top 100 in the same period of time (similar competitiveness too).”
So the scammer begins his stalling and delaying tactics, trying to avoid sending out any reports. On page ten of the thread, one of the posters notes that he did research on the company before signing up, and found a YouTube testimonial for the services. He was reassured – until he found the person who did the testimonial on Fiverr. Fiverr, in case you aren't familiar with it, is an Israeli-based company that offers an online marketplace where users can sell their services for $5, sometimes with add-ons. Often, the service involves producing a short video and sending it to the buyer. The Fiverr gig for the person who gave the scammer a YouTube testimonial was...doing a video testimonial. Yeah, that's at least a little suspicious.

Next, one forum poster notes that the scammer hasn't even optimized his own website to appear in the top 10 pages of Google for the keyword “SEO.” The forum's members are starting to notice other discrepancies between the scammer's claims and what they've been able to find out about him publicly, as well – such as his claim of 10 years of SEO experience, and the fact that his business website was registered in May of 2012 (coincidentally, the same month he registered as a member for that forum). Still, the scammer manages to explain these discrepancies away.

By page 11 – July 23 – forum members are asking for refunds. In fact, some members have been asking for refunds for a week and haven't gotten them yet. Also, another fake testimonial from a different Fiverr user got posted and identified.

By page 12 – July 28 -- the scammer is starting to send a few refunds here and there. Some of them are in the form of echecks that supposedly take three to five days to clear. On this page, one of the forum members notes his experience with echecks: “an echeck refund is used as a refund because there is no money in a seller's PayPal account (been withdrawn), or it's used to buy time.” And in fact, echecks are not clearing in this situation.
By the bottom of this page, forum members are starting to hunt down information about the scammer and noting discrepancies in his PayPal account and his Whois for his business website. By August 1 (page 13), it's become obvious to everyone that this was a scam. One poster reports that the scammer has even taken down his own website, and his e-mail doesn't work anymore. By the bottom of page 13, someone has found a post related to the scammer on another forum; apparently, he's been conning people since 2009 at least.

But wait, it gets better. By August 2, someone turns up an article about the scammer pleading guilty to four counts of extortion and receiving a suspended sentence. And eventually, it appears that he returns to the forum – under a different name, with a different offer.

What can you learn from this? Thoroughly investigate any claims or offers. Don't just listen to testimonials; get references. Be very suspicious if and when the information you're getting doesn't hold together. And for any deal, not just SEO, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is just that. Good luck!

Source: http://www.seochat.com

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Top 3 Scams you need to be aware of

Considering the extensive use of the Internet and how the Internet community is being troubled by online scams, it is only prudent that we take closer look at the most vicious scams to put a lid on them. Each of these scams operates differently and has different motives making it difficult to wipe them out completely, but better information about them can help you prevent them from penetrating your space.
1.    Nigerian 419:
It is a perennial number one dubious for duping people into believing that they will get a share of money that scammers claim is trapped in some country. They may contact you through emails and ask for money and bank account details to transfer the money. If you get deceived, they will rip off your money and then disappear.

2.    PayPal:
In the urgency to do away with an unessential item, people fall for this scam. The buyer usually is a scammer who not only shows keen interest on the item, but is willing to pay more than the asking price. He is mostly from a foreign country and may hold a fake PayPal account or not at all, which for the seller’s distress comes to light only after the item has been delivered.
3.    Free Trial:
Free trial version of a product to save money? Think again, because this scam ensures you end up paying much more than even the full version of the product. The scam begins with users not cancelling the trial version as cancellation notice is mentioned in an obscure fashion to avoid their notice. They are then billed on a monthly cycle. There is also the danger that they may misuse your banking information you shared with them.

Friday, January 13, 2012

TIPS : Protect Yourself from Cyber Frauds

Tips you can use to avoid becoming a victim of cyber fraud:
  • Do not respond to unsolicited (spam) e-mail.
  • Do not click on links contained within an unsolicited e-mail.
  • Be cautious of e-mail claiming to contain pictures in attached files, as the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders. Scan the attachments for viruses if possible.
  • Avoid filling out forms contained in e-mail messages that ask for personal information.
  • Always compare the link in the e-mail with the link to which you are directed and determine if they match and will lead you to a legitimate site.
  • Log directly onto the official website for the business identified in the e-mail, instead of “linking” to it from an unsolicited e-mail. If the e-mail appears to be from your bank, credit card issuer, or other company you deal with frequently, your statements or official correspondence from the business will provide the proper contact information.
  • Contact the actual business that supposedly sent the e-mail to verify if the e-mail is genuine.
  • If you are asked to act quickly, or there is an emergency, it may be a scam. Fraudsters create a sense of urgency to get you to act quickly.
  • Verify any requests for personal information from any business or financial institution by contacting them using the main contact information.
  • Remember if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

E-Mails Containing Malware Sent to Businesses Concerning Their Online Job Postings

Recent FBI analysis reveals that cyber criminals engaging in ACH/wire transfer fraud have targeted businesses by responding via e-mail to employment opportunities posted online.

Recently, more than $150,000 was stolen from a U.S. business via unauthorized wire transfer as a result of an e-mail the business received that contained malware. The malware was embedded in an e-mail response to a job posting the business placed on an employment website and allowed the attacker to obtain the online banking credentials of the person who was authorized to conduct financial transactions within the company. The malicious actor changed the account settings to allow the sending of wire transfers, one to the Ukraine and two to domestic accounts. The malware was identified as a Bredolab variant, svrwsc.exe. This malware was connected to the ZeuS/Zbot Trojan, which is commonly used by cyber criminals to defraud U.S. businesses.

The FBI recommends that potential employers remain vigilant in opening the e-mails of prospective employees. Running a virus scan prior to opening any e-mail attachments may provide an added layer of security against this type of attack. The FBI also recommends that businesses use separate computer systems to conduct financial transactions.

For more information on this type of fraud and prevention tips, please refer to previous public service announcements at the links below:

    * http://www.ic3.gov/media/2010/CorporateAccountTakeOver.pdf
    * http://www.ic3.gov/media/2010/WorkAtHome.pdf
    * http://www.ic3.gov/media/2009/091103.aspx

Anyone who believes they have been a target this type of attack should immediately contact their financial institutions and local FBI office and promptly report it to the IC3’s website at www.ic3.gov. The IC3’s complaint database links complaints together to refer them to the appropriate law enforcement agency for case consideration. The IC3 also uses complaint information to identify emerging trends and patterns.

Source : http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety

Sunday, December 25, 2011

iYogi - Scammers now devising iYogi Scam to get access to your personal data: Beware

From booking airline tickets to doing research, from academics to music, you name it, and the Internet is the go-to source for everything. The beauty of the Internet is that you get access to a vast pool of resources which the pre-Internet generation might never have even dreamed of. However, the downside of an all-powerful and omnipresent Internet is that it is now playing into the hands of unscrupulous elements who device malicious scams to dupe you, a prime example being the iYogi scam.

If you are yet to come across the iYogi scam, don’t get misled by the mention of iyogi in the scam. For, it is the scammers exploiting the name of the company to fulfill their perverse needs without the consent and knowledge of the company. Also, iYogi is just one of the many establishments exploited by these scammers; you must by now be familiar with the charity scam where the perpetrators impersonate themselves as some reputed charity organizations and solicit money and other help. One reason why scams like the iYogi scam flourishes is that users sometimes don’t bother to do the background check of the organization mentioned in the e-mail, especially when it bears all the designs of a well-established company. The iYogi scam has been thriving on the ignorance of users and if you are well informed you can avoid it. Let me share my mother-in-law’s horrible encounter with these scammers.

My mother-in-law is a retired school teacher, and is very active on the Internet. For her, the Internet means the world and something that keeps her going. An active member of many online forums like forums for the elderly people, for animal rights, human rights violation and a couple others, she also has a close group of friends that she communicates on the Internet. So, if the Internet is down even for a day, it is enough to make her go crazy. It so happened that this guy, calling himself a technician, and representing himself as a representative of iyogi, one day called my mother-in-law and started claiming that her system is infected and that if it is not fixed immediately, it will be permanently damaged. It was sufficient to make her panic. Seizing the opportunity, the guy said that he can fix the problem but that he needs to have remote access to the system. And for that he needs her to go to a certain site and download and install specific software on the system. By this time, the guy was having a firm hold over her senses and convinced her to do as he wanted. Actually, she had no prior experience of such a situation and since the guy was also claiming to be a representative of iyogi, she thought that there were few reasons to suspect his bona fides. But, after the remote connection was established, and the technicians worked on her system, she had a lot of heart burn and tragedy. Many files on her system were missing and the computer became almost inoperable. Even some of her profiles were compromised. For, as we found out later, the guy was not associated with iYogi and remote tech support was the last thing on his mind. It was a case of iyogi scam, which is increasingly targeting unsuspecting and elderly people.

When we approached iYogi, they categorically denied having anything to do with the iyogi scam saying that they follow strict moral and ethical policies. We too found no evidence to prove otherwise. They though showed genuine concern that malicious elements are using the company’s name to harass and rip off people. Making it clear that they don’t make cold calls, it has urged people not to entertain remote tech support from people identifying themselves as iyogi technicians until and unless their credentials are verified.

In fact, to raise awareness among Internet users about the perils of Internet scams and to provide users tips on how to avoid these scams, iyogi has been publishing iYogi scam alerts and iYogi fraud alerts for quite some time now. You can get to know a great deal about the latest and most malicious scams out there like online software scam, iyogi scam, online video scam, online dating scams, and inheritance scams through these alerts. It can be a good way to understanding the modus operandi of the scammers that will help users like you and I stand in good stead.

If you have any questions or doubts about the services offered by iyogi or about the iYogi scam, sharing them on the iYogi complaints form (the company has its own complaints form) would be a good idea.  This way you can seek a direct clarification from the company regarding any activity that you feel suspicious about and that involves the company’s name.

Dos and don’ts when an imposter lends at your door representing himself as an iYogi technician:

  • Before going too far into the discussion, figure out who you are dealing with. Don’t hesitate to ask as many questions you want to be sure. 
  • Don’t let him control the conversation. It is the most conducive scenario for him to manipulate you. If he is too smart for you, take help of a responsible and intelligent friend. 
  • Where did he find your number and how did he know that there is problem with your system? Let him explain.
  • Study his offer, whether he is offering too much for too little. If yes, it is sure sign of danger. Immediately shut shop!
  • If he is asking you to download programs from unheard of sites, or sites that are not dependable. Stop. First check his bona fides.

Remember, the premise ‘Prevention is better than cure’ equally applies to iYogi scam!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Top Five Online Scams

Here's a list of the Top 5 scams and schemes you're most likely to find on internet.

1. Auction Fraud
The setup: Online auction fraud accounts for three-quarters of all complaints registered with the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (formerly the Internet Fraud Complaint Center). There are many types of eBay chicanery, but the most common one is where you send in your money and get nothing but grief in return.

2. Phishing Scams
The setup: You receive an e-mail that looks like it came from your bank, warning you about identity theft and asking that you log in and verify your account information. The message says that if you don't take action immediately, your account will be terminated.

The risk: Your account information will be sold to criminals, who'll use it to ruin your credit and drain your account. According to Gartner, phishing scammers took consumers (and their banks, who had to cover the charges) for $1.2 billion in 2003.

3. Nigerian 419 Letter
The setup: You receive an e-mail, usually written in screaming capital letters that starts out like this:

4. Postal Forwarding/Reshipping Scam
The setup: You answer an online ad looking for a "correspondence manager." An offshore corporation that lacks a U.S. address or bank account needs someone to take goods sent to their address and reship them overseas. You may also be asked to accept wire transfers into your bank account, then transfer the money to your new boss's account. In each case, you collect a percentage of the goods or amount transferred.

5. "Congratulations, You've Won an Xbox (IPod, plasma TV, etc.)"
The setup: You get an e-mail telling you that you've won something cool--usually the hot gadget du jour, such as an Xbox or an IPod. All you need to do is visit a Web site and provide your debit card number and PIN to cover "shipping and handling" costs.

Source: pcworld.com

Facebook: Win free iPad Promotion Scam

If you received any email saying that you have won an iPad from a "hotmail" account, it is a scam. Also note that scammers may fake any email account, including name@facebook.com, or something similar.

All the names used in the email are FAKE; Here is an example for the same:

On Thu, Oct 15, 2011 at 8:33 AM, James **** <palm****@hotmail.com> wrote:

Hello Friend,

My name is James ****, Chief technology officer of Facebook. We have recently partnered up with the apple company for a one-time promotional event today; we are giving away complimentary Apple iPads to randomly selected individuals who have been fortunate to be chosen as one of our newest winners for today. We randomly selected users from our systems database and you have matched with our latest drawing.

 We have partnered up with Apple Inc to advertise their hottest product yet, the Apple iPad. Once again, we are running this promotion for one-day only. All you need to do is CLICK HERE to go to our web site made for this promotion and key in your email to receive yours for free. Simply make sure you enter your email so we can locate our records to ensure that we have reserved one for you. That is it!

Congrats on winning a free Apple iPad2. In case you have any question or concerns, feel free to e-mail me back. However, you should claim your free iPad 1st to ensure one will be set-aside for you before the deadline ends. We do understand that you may possibly not receive this email until after the deadline, but, we suggest you check out the website and enter your email to see if we still have yours on hold, which we often-times do because others have not claimed theirs in time.

CTO, Facebook