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Recent Scams and Spams

The purpose of this page is to provide the most up-to-date information on new scams floating about the internet.

Expiring Domains

I know someone who makes a regular practice of buying domain names that no one is using, and then just sitting on them, doing nothing with them but hoping that someday someone will want to buy them, then he can charge an arm and a leg for them.

Personally, I think this is a despicable practice - he is trying to make money by providing no valuable service. No, wait - it's not just that he's not providing a valuable service - he's providing no service at all! What could make the practice more despicable? Well, any of the following...

  1. If he spammed people about the domain names he owned
  2. If he threatened to actually use the domain names to distract traffic from other people's websites (that would be like telling people that you're going to throw mud at them if they don't pay you for the mud they're holding)
  3. If he sent spam that suggested he had a clue about professionalism
  4. If he sent multiple copies of his spam, flooding my inbox with four emails about the same domain in less than four hours (yes, that would work out to one spam per hour!)

Of course, it's hard to imagine someone would actually do the things I've described above. But anyway, I thought you might be interested to see a piece of spam I got yesterday, and - speaking of nothing, I got four pieces of spam from this guy in less than four hours.

Recently, [some domain name] expired and we acquired it in a domain name auction. Since you own the [a similar domain name owned by me] version of this domain name we wanted to provide you with the opportunity to own the preferred [their domain] version. Our company specializes in recovering preferred expiring domains and either selling them to individuals such as yourself or building out our own web presence on those valuable domains.

[their domain] is a pretty darn good domain name and, the truth is, the [their domain] is a far stronger version of the name than then [my domain] is.

* [their domain] is much easier to remember

* [their domain] conveys Professionalism that [my domain] cannot match.

If you'd like to own [their domain], you can buy it now by covering our acquisition costs and a modest profit.

If you have any interest I encourage you to act quickly because this domain name will only be offered for sale for a limited time.

Click Here For Pricing On [their domain]

[their web link]

Please advise,

By the way, if you're wondering, I'm not buying [their domain]. Anyone who types in [their domain] while looking for [my domain] did so because they are already familiar with my site. And these guys definitely won't build a site that can fool people into thinking it's mine, so the people who type the domain name will quickly realize they've typed the wrong address.

Besides which, I don't play well with mud-wielders.

Suggestions Re: (More SEO Spam)

The number of spams I've received lately which have Suggestions Re: [My Domain Name] in the subject line, is quite atrocious. These are emails from "firms" which want to promote my website (for a fee, of course).

Are they legitimate? Good question. As I've said before, if they're so good at promotion, why in the world do they have to resort to spam to get business?

But let's take a look at two spams in particular. Here's the first:

Dear Website Owner,

If I could get you five times the RELEVANT traffic at a substantially reduced cost would you be interested? National Positions can place your website on top of the Natural Listings on Google, Yahoo and MSN. Our Search Engine Optimization team delivers more top rankings than anyone else and we can prove it. We do not use "link farms" or "black hat" methods that Google and the other search engines frown upon and can use to de-list or ban your site. The techniques are proprietary, involving some valuable closely held trade secrets. Our prices are less than half of what other companies charge.

I would be happy to send you a proposal using the top search phrases for your area of expertise. Please contact me at your convenience so I can start saving you some money.

Barry Brenner
Executive Vice President

National Positions
26500 W. Agoura Road
Suite 102-547
Calabasas, California 91302

Profitable Internet Marketing

Now, normally I don't bother posting names and addresses, but it's important in this case. Take note of the author of this spam: Barry Brenner. I find this very interesting because if I look at the "FROM" line of the email, it shows: Barry Burns. And the email address starts with owen.

Kind of suspicious, don't you think? But wait! It gets better! Here's the fifth email I received with that same subject line:

Dear Business Owner,

We are the recognized world leader in generating top rankings for our clients on the Internet. If you partner with us we will help you achieve your Internet marketing objectives and more by:

• Generating top organic rankings
• Custom solutions for your website
• Timely quantifiable metrics to evaluate your progress.
• Guaranteeing an ongoing maintenance program that will keep you positioned in the forefront of your industry on the Internet.

With your permission, I would like to send you a detailed proposal describing how we can assist your company in reaching your Internet sales goals.


NEWBURY PARK, CA 91320-3448 - USA

So what, you say? Indeed - so what! This one is from a different address in California, and it's from a different person (as evidenced by the fact that he spells Berry with an E instead of an A.

So I look at the email address and find that it's from: Barry.Burns2008@[a free email provider].

I don't think you need me to add two and two together on this one. My advice is: steer clear of any emails like this.

Phone Scams and Telemarketers

Normally I just post about email scams, but I thought it would be helpful to add a post that's slightly off the beaten track for this site: Watching Out For Devious Telemarketers and Phone Scams.

Phone scams are getting more and more common all the time, and the simplest way to deal with them is to assume that anyone you don't know who is calling you is a scammer.

"But isn't that extreme?" you might ask.

A bit extreme, perhaps, but not really. After all, it only takes one scam to ruin your financial stability.

Let's suppose someone calls from your phone company, or your cable company, or any other company you do business with. They might be calling because there is something wrong with your bill. For starters, ask them to provide some specific information from your bill which would prove they are actually in possession of your bill. If they refuse (which they may do for legal reasons), politely explain that you'll need to call them back. Then, when they offer to give you the number you can call, don't call that number. Instead, look up the number that's on your bill. That way you know you're getting the right people.

And anyone else who might be cold-calling you, assume that they are scamming you. Because 99% of the time they are. Want proof? Here's something fun to try.

When you get connected to an operator, ask the following sequence of questions:

1. What's your company name?
2. Do you have a website?
3. And what's the web address?
4. I notice this website doesn't list a physical mailing address or phone number. What's your company's mailing address?

What you will discover is that almost without fail, when you ask question #3, or question #4, the operator will say "Please hold", but in actuality, they will hang up on you.

Yes, that's right. 99% of the time, the operator hangs up on you rather than providing basic contact information for their company.

That should be all the proof you need. They want your credit card number, but they won't provide the most basic of contact information.

And by the way, if they do answer all the questions, that does not mean they are legitimate - they might not have provided you with accurate contact information. But when they do hang up, that's all the proof you need they're trying to scam you.

First Bank And Trust Scam

I wonder how many banks there are that have 'First Bank and Trust' in their name. In fact, you go to Google and run a search for that exact phrase, you get 55,000 web pages. Not bad.

So this scammer is not targeting one specific bank so much as a more generic name which may resonate with millions of banking customers. The downside, of course, is that they can't put any bank logo or other info in the email.

This is NOT from your bank, even if it is called "First Bank And Trust"! Don't go to the web page. Don't click the link.

Dear First Bank and Trust member,

We have recently noticed many attacks to our database and this requires us to rebuild our system integrity. We regulary screen our members account information to reduce fraud and ID-theft.
This security measure is intended to help protect our First Bank and Trust members and their accounts. We are sorry for any inconvenience. However, failure in updating your account records will result in suspension or limiting your account access.

Lindsay A. Alexander

President & CEO First Bank and Trust

NAVY Federal Credit Union Security Message

This scam is a bit different; instead of telling you outright that your account has been suspended, the email claims that you have a "new message" in your "inbox", and the title of the message is: "Subject: Navy Online Account Suspended"

However, you should be aware that the link they ask you to click does NOT take you to the Navy FCU website; it takes you to a site titled x-masmerrytimes.

I guarantee you won't have a Merry Christmas if you let these scammers get your Navy FCU login information!

Dear NAVY Federal Credit Union Member,

You have one new message at NAVY Federal Credit Union.

INBOX ( 1 )

From: NAVY Federal Credit Union Customer Service Date: 11/14/2007 Subject: Navy Online Account Suspended

In order to read this message please CLICK HERE

Thank You

Online Banking Mail Security Team

Copyright © 2007, NAVY Federal Credit Union. All rights reserved.

Link Exchange, Link Popularity and Page Rank

Every webmaster wants his or her website to have an excellent PR (Page Rank) and link popularity. But you need to be very careful about the methods you use to accomplish this. Here's an email I received recently...


I'm interested in trading links with your site Virtu-Software.Com.

So far, so good. Except, I know exactly where this email is going...

My site is www.edataindia.com has a PR “2” and climbing. We are growing Delhi based IT/BPO company which believes in delivering high quality and cost-effective data services. Our have a wide range of services to deliver. Our services range from

Data Entry Services in India, Data Processing Services in India, Data Conversion Services in India, Catalog Processing Services in India, OCR/Scanning Services in India and Web Designing Services in India.

You have a good site, which is why I'm interested.

What's wrong with this? What's wrong is this line here: "You have a good site, which is why I'm interested."

I've seen this line before. This is a form letter. The embarrassing thing is, the next line of the form letter has a silly grammatical error.

Please visit our site and you will notice that we have a very high quality offering. I also tired of spending a lot of money on PPC so we are working on our link exchange to move our site higher in the search engines.

I also tired????

You know what? If you're going to send out form letters, PROOF READ THEM FIRST.

What's really going on here? This poor company in India which is trying to improve their page rank has hired an outside contractor to help them out, never knowing that he's sending out the same form letter on behalf of all his clients. Two months ago I got an identical email (complete with the same grammatical error) for a company called ServerPoint.

Here's advice for you: don't hire someone to send out form emails on your behalf. Serious webmasters will see these emails on a regular basis, and we recognize that they are form letters. So of course we're going to ignore them. If you want to ask someone to do a link exchange, visit their site personally, and then write an email to them with enough detail to convince them that you actually visited their site.

That's the only way you're going to succeed.

And ditch the guy who writes form emails with grammar mistakes in them. None of us want to see that email again.

(And a PS for anyone from ServerPoint who might read this...were you aware that the guy you hired to send out form letters to webmasters ended his form letter with a self-promotional blurb? I wonder if you paid him for that, too?) *grin*

Online Store Scam

I decided it was time to write a "generic" post about all those businesses out there that are spamming people, telling you that you are guaranteed to make megabucks if you buy their online store.

Now, I need to caution you that not all companies which offer an online store/reseller program are frauds. For example, GoDaddy has a reseller program, and people really do make money from it. Amazon offers a fully stocked "a-store" to their associates, and people really do make money from that as well.

But just because GoDaddy and Amazon do it, doesn't mean that everyone who does it is legitimate.

Many of the scammers out there will offer you an "online store" knowing full well that you will never make any money from your store. Then why do they do it? Simple. They charge you a setup fee and a monthly maintenance fee for your website. Their money doesn't come from your sales - it comes from the fees you pay them directly. They don't care if you make money from the site or not!

What are some clues that you're dealing with a scam? Here are just a few:

  1. They sent you spam. That is the primary clue right there. If they are so desperate for business that they sent you spam, you know right off the bat that their income comes from you not from sales. Do not do business with anyone who spams you!
  2. They promise you that you're going to make money, and assure you that you won't even have to do any work. That is a flat-out lie. If it doesn't require work, they would have automated systems setting up these cookie-cutter sites without any human intervention. The statement "You're guaranteed to make money without any work" is equivalent to: "Thanks for giving us your money, sucker!"
  3. In addition to the promise that you'll make money without work, they charge a setup fee and a monthly maintenance fee. Some real programs do require a setup fee, but hardly any legitimate ones also have a monthly maintenance fee. Remember: they plan to take the lion's share of everything you sell, so if you're guaranteed to make money, WHY do they need to collect monthly fees from you?

If you decide you're going to get involved with one of these online reseller programs, just remember this: business on the internet is a lot of work. The only way to make money quick on the internet is to scam people. So anyone who tells you that you can make money quick on the internet has just announced to you that they are scamming people. Why would you do business with them?

Money Back Guarantee!

I received a piece of spam yesterday which began with this amusing statement:

A Money Back Guarantee on the Internet? Noboby Offers That, Do They?

Well, apparently our friend Martin is a Noboby, because he does offer a money back guarantee for his business proposition.

He writes:

A Money Back Guarantee on the Internet? Noboby Offers That, Do They?

Actually, yes ... I do.


Easy ... when you work with me, failure is not an option.

I will mentor, teach and train you until you learn exactly how to unlock the power of the internet so that you, too, can experience it's awesome and immediate income generating potential, just like I have.

Aside from the fact that he can't spell "nobody", and the fact that he doesn't know when not to put an apostrophe in the word "its", there are a variety of reasons not to trust this piece of spam.

Take a look at this quote:

If you’re like I was earlier this year, you're looking for an online business that puts thousands in your bank every week, has a fast and exponential return on your investment, and is something that works with your lifestyle, not the other way around.

Now compare it to this one later in the spam...

A Great Team ensures your success with our years and years of business success

Well, which is it, Martin? You started being successful this year? Or you have years and years of business success?

But that's not the real reason to be leary of this. Here's the real reason:


I advertise your business websites to my highly responsive, 3 million strong, double opt-in business opportunity seekers every week until you get your money back. Additionally, I or my professional staff call and close visitors to your websites. This Advertising and Closing Service continues until you get your money back from our placement of new members on your team.

Did you catch that? his money back guarantee is not a money back guarantee at all! Read it again! He ABSOLUTELY does NOT offer to give you your money back! He simply says that he'll keep spamming people about your website until you DO get your money back!

So not only do you lose your money, you make everyone mad at YOU for flooding their spamboxes.

I wouldn't buy into this. I don't recommend that you do either.

In fact, if I had my way, the only people who got involved in this business would be...


Martin Line's Mea Culpa

I have no pity for spammers who lie to me. Here's a piece of spam from someone named Martin Line, who apologizes because in the spam he sent yesterday, he accidentally put the wrong web link. Then he says that he's sending this email "only to the 4,388 people who opened yesterday's e-mail".

You've got to ask yourself "How would he know who opened his email?" And the answer is, he doesn't.

It's possible to embed a picture in your email, so whenever someone opens the email, it generates a hit on your website, and you can use that to track who read your email. But there are two problems with this....
  1. His original email was plain text, which means he couldn't embed an image
  2. Even if he had, I have Microsoft Outlook set to block such images

Oh, and maybe he meant to say that he sent this only to the ones who clicked his link in the first email. If he did mean that, he's still lying, since I certainly did not click any of his links.

Why does a spammer tell these kinds of lies? Simple. It's a way of getting the foot in the door. It's a way of fooling you into thinking that you were interested in what he had to offer.

But what you've got to ask yourself is, Why would I get involved with someone who is so DESPERATE for my business that he'd LIE to get it?

Hi, everyone!

I can't believe I have to say this ... it's so embarrassing ... but apparently I screwed up the link in yesterday's e-mail somehow and none of you who who clicked through the WebEx link were able to register for this Thursday's Real Estate Lead Generation Webinar that my friend, Bob Cefail of In Touch Media Group, is hosting.

I'm sending this note right now only to the 4,388 people who opened yesterday's e-mail regarding this exciting Real Estate event. I wanted to apologize for the broken link and any frustration or inconvenience it may have caused and, of course, to offer them another chance to enroll ... at absolutely no cost ... for this incredibly informative webinar hosted by one of the true masters in creating massive, targeted traffic through internet marketing, Bob Cefail.

To enroll for the event, click here and then click again on the "Enroll" button inside:

The event password is: searchpro

The event number is: 719 090 463

One more thing: there's a small chance that some of you will actually get a second e-mail from me this morning that is simply a corrected version of the one that caught your attention yesterday. In an effort to keep you from having to open back to back e-mails from me today, I've copied the original message and pasted it just under the line below. This way you can do a quick re-read and get excited about taking part in this super important event. And, as ever ... if you'd no longer prefer to recieive e-mails from me for any reason, please, just click the unsubscribe button at the bottom of this e-mail and I'll remove you from my Opt-In Contacts immediately.

S&TBank business express Scam

Looks like an email from the S&T bank, but is not! Do not be fooled by this.

Dear S&T bank account holder,

As part of our security measures, we regularly screen activity in the S&T bank system. We recently contacted you after noticing an issue on your account. We requested information from you for the following reason: Our system detected unauthorized use of a bank account linked to S&T bank accounts.

Case ID Number: ST-3454603-vs651878

This is a reminder to log in to S&T bank as soon as possible.

Be sure to log in securely by hyperlink below. Once you log in, you will be provided with steps to confirm your account access. We appreciate your understanding as we work to ensure account safety.

Login by clicking here: We thank you for your prompt attention to this matter. Please understand that this is a security measure intended to help protect you and your account. We apologize for any inconvenience.

S&T bank Account Review Department

S&T bank Email ID: ST816-294