Category: Website Scam

The 5 Billionth Search Scam

This is a malware site waiting to infect your computer.

It advertises itself as an awards site and your first encounter with this is likely to when you are redirected to a site such as instantprizesnow.com and a screen filled with animated confetti, best wishes signs,  the banner SEARCH REWARDS will appear

It tries to make you believe that it is part of Google and you have won an award simply by conducting the 5 billionth search on Google or sometimes it’s the 9.68 billionth search or some other random number in the billions.

They you have to choose between 3 hidden prizes and much of the screen is made up of testimonials of people who have won similar rewards telling you how wonderful it is.

It’s all scam. Clicking on one of the prizes is likely to result in malware attempting to download onto your computer.

Just shut the page down if you see it or anything similar.

If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.

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Stupidest Spam of the Week Loner Businesses

The radio station receives hundreds of spam emails every week offering online services such as web site design, search engine optimisation (SEO), pay per click advertising etc.

Many are from small/medium businesses in this country, East Europe, Asia, America and almost everywhere else.  It’s a lucrative market that’s easy to enter.

Most of the spam messages are from individuals as this work only needs one person, but they almost always claim to be part of a large company.

Why?

  • Perhaps they think prospective customers will trust a company more than an independent worker
  • They want to ‘big up’ their role
  • Maybe they dream of being part of a business rather than alone
  • They are lying cheating scam artists (true for many)

Whatever the reason, it’s usually very obvious that they are lying.

One of today’s special spam messages is from Lindon Newton offering to build APPS for us, SEO, e-commerce development etc. – the usual stuff.

His email address is a Gmail account, so he doesn’t have a company – no company website or email address.

But he claims to work for a big business and is Head of Marketing.

Nope – he works alone and probably is Head of Marketing, but also

  • Head of Production
  • Head of Development
  • Finance Officer
  • Human Resources Boss
  • Head of Acquisitions
  • Head of Coffee Making, Toilet Cleaning, Chief Spam Writer and Sweeper Up.

No thanks – if someone lies in their Marketing to get business, then you cannot trust them.

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The Danger of Online Pharmacies

An increasing number of people buy their prescription medication on the Internet (with or without a prescription). Often this is because it can be cheaper but also at times because the person believes either they can get the medicine they want without a prescription or that it may be easier to convince someone online to give them what they want.

The big problem with online pharmacies is that many are unregistered and that means unregulated, so buying from them is potentially unsafe. The drugs they provide may be unsuitable for the patient or unsafe or be badly or unhygienically produced – you don’t know what you will get.

Medication should only be taken under the supervision of a healthcare professional as their guidance and knowledge of your state of health is crucial in ensuring you get the safest medications.

For prescription-only medicines, an online pharmacy must receive a legally valid prescription before dispensing the medication. This means you’ll either need a paper prescription or an electronic prescription via the Electronic Prescription Service from your GP.

Some sites do offer prescriber services, where provide a consultation with a medical practitioner who can write prescriptions.

It can be difficult to distinguish between registered online pharmacies and other commercial websites. The General Pharmaceutical Council operates an internet pharmacy logo scheme to identify legitimate online pharmacies and you should only buy from registered pharmacies. However, some illegal online pharmacies fake the logo so you have to check carefully.

Check if a website can legally sell medicines online

Search the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) register to check if a website is allowed to sell medicines.

You can search the register by the business:

https://medicine-seller-register.mhra.gov.uk/search-registry

If you have any experiences with online pharmacies do me know, by email.

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SEO Pay for Performance

“SEO” stands for Search Engine Optimisation. Anyone with a web site or blog is bombarded with emails from people offering search engine optimisation. This basically means making changes to a website so as to get more visitors from the search engines.

Much of search engine optimisation is quite straightforward  – make sure each page has a suitable heading that Google (and other search engines) can find easily, suitable keywords and phrases that people may use when searching, any pictures to have a description of what they are about, page names to be meaningful rather than numbers or acronyms etc.

The provision of search engine optimisation services is a huge industry and millions of people work from home either as independents or working for small companies offering these services. That’s all fine.

Some are good at the job but many are untrained and provide a poor service and many many scammers know this is an easy sell so offer such services, take the money and provide nothing.

One of the latest ways to sell SEO is to offer “pay by performance” meaning that the provider only gets paid when they achieve whatever targets were agreed e.g. to get your business to number one spot on Google searches for specified keywords.

This sounds ideal as in theory you’re not paying until they meet that goal.

But that’s not the case.

  1. There is usually a one-off setup fee (they may take the money and disappear)
  2. They need your bank details for their records (they can sell that information to other scammers)
  3. They need access to your website to make SEO improvements (they can then ransom the site and its contents to you or steal any financial information on the site or add their own adverts or malware to the site).

If you need web site design, SEO, help with social media advertising or any similar online services then research local businesses or independents offering what you want. Do not go with overseas people where you have no idea whether the business is real or scam or you could end up very dearly for that bad decision.

If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.

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Stupidest Spam of the Week Contact Forms

An email from Florene Marquis to the radio station claims to have been entered via the contact form on their website.

It is a sales pitch for a service whereby they can send spam messages via contact forms to lots of businesses. This is to ensure the messages are delivered rather than being blocked by spam filters.

Companies use contact forms on their websites instead of just putting an email address for two primary reasons

  1. They need more information about the ‘customer’ and their message than might be received in a normal email message
  2. To avoid the avalanche of spam and scam messages received whenever a well known business puts their email addresses on their website, in a form that can be found by email harvesting software (used by spammers and scammers)

So, telling us that her software circumvents businesses choice to avoid spam messages is very annoying and would never lead to any business from us and probably not from almost any genuine business.

However, the entire thing is just a scam looking for unscrupulous people as the message actually comes from a Gmail address and the reader is urged to reply to a different Gmail address not a business address.

Unfortunately there are people who spend their time trying to get around attempts by legitimate Internet users to block spam and scam emails.

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