Have you seen the latest onslaught of marketing for these work at home success stories? Hi – my name is Scott and I am originally from <your area> and I recently lost my job. Want to make $5,000 a month just by placing a few Google ads? Here’s a picture of my check. Here’s my wife with me on our honeymoon after I was able to happily support our family again and now a success story. Too good to be true? Absolutely! Hopefully this fascinating exposee of fraudulent marketing practices will save your money or help you recover funds you’ve lost as a victim to this latest scam where Scott, Josh or Adam make cash and your bank account empties.Lately I’ve been inundated by popup ads from “joshmadecash.com” and “scottsmoneyblog.com”, where Josh Parker or Scott Hunter (the name changes but the picture always stays the same) tells me he’s originally from my area and then spins his tall tale. As many of you know, I run a large legal advice forum at TheLaw.com where I am asked numerous questions about Internet law and fraud.
Knowing a good deal about “geotargeting” – determining the location of where your Internet connection is located geographically – made me believe that this claim was fraudulent and designed to make me feel a connection to a “too good to be true” scam artist. The “code” for the web page that Mr. Hunter operates substitutes the local city where you are situated so he always appears to have grown up in your neighborhood:
Note how there is a script called “geoip.js” which is exactly what I’m talking about. It takes the “IP address” or numerical address of the computer that you are connected from and converts it into a geographical city name. If you go to maxmind.com, they state that they are “an industry-leading provider of geolocation and online fraud detection tools.” Pretty slick. But let’s move on because the worst is yet to come.
Scott doesn’t tell you what he did to make all the money that allowed him to take so many fancy trips but, if you look closely – and I mean very closely – you’ll realize something is very wrong from the start! The first picture of Scott allegedly holding his check for $5,0000 , is dated October 25, 2008 and is from Citibank Europe Plc. So why is Scott from New York, NY getting Google checks from a PLC – an abbreviation for a company located outside the United States? But it gets more amusing. If you go further down the page, you’ll see another check for $5,300.04 dated January 25, 2008. Perhaps Scott can explain to me why his income went down 10 months later? Pretty subtle!
Click on any of the checks or the links and you’ll be delivered to a landing page on “yoursearchprofits.com” and has several different splash screens, ostensibly for different companies that offer “Internet marketing services” at a very high monthly price. I was sadly amused by them, complete with “trust seal” of approval, secure order assurances, and several news graphics (CBS, NBC, CNN, USA Today) – with a disclaimer in small print in the footer stating that these companies “don’t endorse these products.” I’m sure they must have used a top law firm to ensure the validity disclaimer! Another landing page disclaims in its footer that “Google does not sponsor, endorse, and is no way affiliated with Google Pay Day!™ or this promotion.” I’m sure that’s true although Josh or Scott, in the audio on his site, specifically denounces the stock market and says that you should trust a company like Google to make money!
To begin, you need to just enter your name and email address – which will surely be sold to send more marketing spam than you could possibly imagine as I’ll explain shortly. You are then led to a second page where, if you don’t quickly choose to pay $1.14 shipping and handling for this special offer, you’ll be greeted by live or probably automated operators. There are several of them with different names. Where could the possibility of live operators be located? Perhaps in a call center like… the Philippines?
If you ask, the operator will simply enter a phrase “why are you changing the subject? As a reader pointed out, this reminds me of an old artificial intelligence attempt called “Eliza X” written for the Macintosh. The responses are far too quick to be typed live and I didn’t spend enough time there to determine whether a real operator exists – probably not.
As more fully described below, following your risk-free 7-day trial, you’ll be charged the monthly subscription fee of $73.83. You’ll have 7 days from your initial signup date to access and use the Google Revolution member website without charge. Your free trial provides instant online access to the foreclosed property feed and the information & training available at the Google Revolution site, and does not require the free kit being shipped to you – your free trial begins immediately. If you’re not satisfied for any reason, and cancel within the initial 7-day trial period, you will not be charged $73.83 for your first month’s membership. After your initial 7-day risk-free trial, your subscription will automatically renew approximately every 30 days from the date you signed up (see MEMBERSHIP TERM AND RENEWAL, below). You can cancel any time after the 7-day risk-free trial period, in which case you won’t be refunded that month’s subscription charge, but you will have member access through the end of the month, and you will not be billed again.
By submitting your e-mail address at the Website or the website of one of our marketing partners, and/or obtaining services from us, you agree to receive e-mail or telephone calls, SMS text message,or other marketing from us and/or our third-party advertisers notwithstanding a prior decision, made by you, to opt out of this or any other of our or a third party affiliate of ours program, pursuant to the CAN-SPAM Act, you are agreeing to opt back in and to receive marketing materials until you decide to opt-out. In addition, you agree that such act constitutes a purchase, an inquiry and/or an application for purposes of the Amended Telemarketing Sales Rule, 16 CFR §310 et seq. (the “ATSR”).
I don’t know what is contained within the “kit” to make money by posting Google links. Some comments I’ve read elsewhere claim that the “package” never arrives. My guess? You recieve a series of resources where you can put up your own site, just like Josh and Scott, and claim you made cash by simply putting up a web site with affiliate links to “Internet marketing programs” that contain high autorenewal charges. Other scams just like this one, perhaps people who bought this “fast money at home” system? Take a look at www.marysblogmoney.com, www.stevesblogmoney.com, www.craigsblogmoney.com, www.scottsblogmoney.com and the list goes on. Hopefully this article will help you be able to better identify Internet fraud which will undoubtedly become more prevalent during this difficult economic time.