Category: Website Scam

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:

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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Unwanted Comments to Your Website

If you have a website then you will receive endless spam emails, even if the means of contact on your website is through a contact form.

There are strong contact forms that block the spammers making entries, but otherwise they do get through.

The stupidity and pointlessness of so many of these messages is amazing but it is so easy to buy access to millions of email contact forms on websites for next to nothing and flood them with messages, that half the morons in the world seem to spend their time doing this.

If you have WordPress then you probably use Akismet or similar to block direct spam messages, but here are some recent examples of such unwanted comments sent by means of the website contact form.

  1. Kristina says she is looking for a guy for a relationship. Probably a link to an adult site or a scam.
  2. Bobby says that his friends and he are surprised to have found the articles here so welcome and will tell everyone he knows to read our site. There are no articles – just a stupid message.
  3. Lots of messages that appear to be in Russian
  4. Lots of people advertising Cialis for sale
  5. Someone selling Gmail accounts in bulk (for scammers)
  6. A criminal selling pre existing Twitter accounts in bulk
  7. Viagra adverts from an online pharmacy
  8. Someone asking for our advice on how to create a successful WordPress site, as they have just created an online business. This is fake of course – just a scammer wanting to know contact details for website owners, so she can sell that information.
  9. Adverts for currency trading. All scammers.
  10. Attractive young women looking to make contact. Nope – probably some ugly Russian bloke pretending to be hundreds of women as part of a con.

Do not trust emails, contact messages etc – always check before replying to ensure it is honest.

Do you have an opinion on this matter? Please comment in the box below.

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Has Your Website Been Copied

As many of us know, it can be quite a challenge to create a website with great content and attract the right users and customers.

Unfortunately, there are some people who want to take advantage of your hard work and simply copy it, although that is illegal of course as well as being immoral.

Some may copy some of your content or your design or even duplicate the entire web site.

In the case of small businesses, it can be easy for copycats to go unnoticed for months, or even years, until discovered, depending on your business type.

What Can You Do?

  1. Take Screenshots (the copycat may delete their web site at some point, and you need evidence of what they did.
  2. Take screenshots of your own work as proof in case you need to change anything.
  3. Complain to the web site’s owner and their hosting company if appropriate. It’s your choice whether or not to involve a solicitor at this point.

How to Check Domain Ownership

Website such as will show you the ownership details for any Internet domain name. However, when a domain name is registered the buyer can request an anonymous entry and the details are then kept secret by the registrar which is usually the company that hosts the website.

How to Find Copycat Web Sites

Google Alerts – This lets you monitor content around search queries you enter. If is there is a search that should lead only to your web site then you can be alerted if the result changes.

Copyscape – This lets you search for duplicate content on a specified URL. It’s free for single page checks but you have to pay for multiple checks.

There are other services on the Internet that can help you finding copycats, but often the copycats are professional criminals and they know how to make money from copying a web site then moving on quickly to the next one.

If you have any experiences with this issue of websites being copied,  do let me know, by email.

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