Archive | Scammers

DON’T PAY OUT INSTANT COMMISSIONS to affiliates!

By Channel R [CC-BY-SA-3.0

By Channel R [CC-BY-SA-3.0

A few months back, I decided to try out the “Instant Commission” affiliate platforms for selling my product and for getting affiliates to promote them. As soon as I listed, the affiliate requests started rolling in. I approved them for Instant Commissions, in spite of warnings on the site to only approve affiliates that you know. I mean heck … I didn’t know more than 2 or 3 of them at best so it sort of defeated the purpose to deny everyone else.

That turned out to be a big and costly mistake. These platforms are full of “affiliates” who steal credit cards, sign up to promote your product, and then make a bunch of purchases of your product with stolen credit cards. They are instantly paid the commissions and they instantly empty out their Paypal accounts. Within a month, the real owners of the stolen credit cards see this charge on their credit cards and file a Paypal dispute for unauthorized purchase. I got six of them within days of each other.

It took me awhile to figure out what was going on, but I soon realized what had happened. Not only did I have to refund all those unauthorized purchases and get charged an additional $25 per purchase for the chargeback, but I also paid the criminal affiliate and the funds were no longer in their Paypal account to recover.

This isn’t an isolated incident. The Warrior Forum is full of stories like this. Let this be a warning. If you decide to use these platforms, please put all affiliates that you don’t actually know and trust on delayed payments and don’t pay them for 60 days until the period of time for disputes is over. Once they see they’re on delayed payments, they probably won’t carry out their scam on you, as they wouldn’t get paid if they did.

I hope this helps to keep this from happening to others. It wasn’t fun and it was costly and it puts your Paypal account at risk to have that many chargebacks come in.

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Flippa Due Diligence Could Save You Thousands

If you’re thinking about buying a site on Flippa, you must … must …. I repeat, must do due diligence. This Flippa scam I’ve seen so many times it isn’t funny. The seller will buy some cheap crap blog from Tradebit for less than $5 and put it on a $10 domain and then list it on Flippa. This is allowed because the seller isn’t claiming that it is unique content or design, but it is a scam none-the-less.

Here’s an example. The listing below is a Flippa listing with a BIN of ONLY $1,500.

Flippa scam

Here is the same blog on Tradebit for $3.97.

Flippa Scam

Obviously, with no income and no traffic, it’s not likely that they’ll get $1,500 for it, but it’s not worth more than $15, which is what you can get it for through Tradebit and a domain registrar. Now look at the sellers profile on Flippa. Look at their listings closely. This person sells the same sites over and over again only with different domain names. Here’s another listing with that same blog.

This seller loads these listings up with all kinds of “bonuses” which should justify the high cost of these duplicate sites, but I highly doubt that there is any real value in those bonuses. The listings of this seller reads like the script for a sleezy used car salesman.

Be sure to check out the sellers profiles before you buy and look for duplicate listings. Also do a Google search and see if you can find a Tradebit blog that is the same, as this is a very common Flippa scam.

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Fake PageRank Scams: Buyer Beware

fake pagerank

PageRank: Wikipedia: Principles of PageRank

A PageRank results from a mathematical algorithm based on the graph, the webgraph, created by all World Wide Web pages as nodes and hyperlinks as edges, taking into consideration authority hubs such as cnn.com or usa.gov. The rank value indicates an importance of a particular page. A hyperlink to a page counts as a vote of support. The PageRank of a page is defined recursively and depends on the number and PageRank metric of all pages that link to it (“incoming links”). A page that is linked to by many pages with high PageRank receives a high rank itself. If there are no links to a web page there is no support for that page.

There are a lot of forums and domain selling sites that are offering high PageRank domains for sale, but are they really high PageRank? There is a loophole in Google’s algorithm that scammers can game to make it appear that any domain has a high PageRank. These scammers simply redirect the domain with a 301 redirect to a high PageRank site and the redirected domain will pick up PageRank of the site that it is redirected to. There are numerous ways to do this. Some use cloaking to redirect it only when a Googlebot visits the site and some simply use a 301 redirect.

They then remove the redirect just prior to putting it up for sale. The unsuspecting buyer purchases a domain that he thinks has high PageRank and will give him a boost in the serps. The scammer could also be faking the PageRank in order to sell links on “high PageRank” sites.

Digitial Point forums has a domain selling section of their marketplace with quite a few “high PageRank” domains for sale. Take for example, this one: betsafesverige.com on this page http://forums.digitalpoint.com/showthread.php?t=2375739. I ran this one through a rank checker at http://www.rankchecker.com. See in the screenshot below that it says the PageRank is valid. However, there are ZERO backlinks to the site in any of the search engines, the Alexa rating is very high, it’s not listed in DMOZ, and it has only one parked page listed in Google. The person who buys this domain will have a ZERO PageRank on their hands by the next time Google’s PageRank changes.

PageRank

Here’s another interesting Digital Point forums scammer selling a fake PageRank domain, http://www.coolestaudiobooks.com/ at this listing: http://forums.digitalpoint.com/showthread.php?t=2373472. Take a look at the blog below with one post, Hello World.

fake pagerank

This little gem allegedly has a PageRank 6. All that and ZERO backlinks anywhere, one Hello World post, Alexa rating through the roof, not listed in DMOZ or Yahoo. It’s not rocket science. If this site is really a PageRank 6, then PageRank is truly meaningless. Checked it at a PageRank Checker here, and you can see it says the PageRank is valid. Another interesting thing about this domain, when you search for the domain in Google using site:coolestaudiobooks.com, and then click on the Cache, you get a 404 Not Found error. Previously, one way to tell if a domain had fake PageRank was to check the Google cache and the cache would be the real site with the PageRank that the domain had been redirected to. That can’t be relied on as a way to check for fake PageRank, since this one has no cache and the one above this one is showing the correct domain in the cache. I can only assume that these scammers have found a way to get around the Google cache thing.

Fake PageRank

There are a ton more for sale on Digital Point that are highly suspicious. Exercise extreme caution when buying a domain from there with PageRank or anywhere else for that matter. Before I was aware of the fake PageRank scams out there, I bought one on Flippa that was fake and the PageRank rapidly disappeared after I bought the domain.

Before buying a domain that allegedly has PageRank, check it here and use whatever your favorite tools are to check for backlinks. If, like the site above, it has one Hello World post in a blog, and no backlinks, I would advise you not to buy that domain. If it has just one parked page and no backlinks, same thing. PageRank is assigned to pages, not domains and if that domain has no real pages (just a parked page or Hello World post), common sense will tell you that the PageRank is fake.

How Important is PageRank?

PageRank played a much larger role when Google was first launched than it does today. When Google was launched, there were just a few dozen ranking factors that were considered in Google’s algorithm, so each one carried more weight than they do today. Today there are over 200 ranking factors considered when ranking websites, so each ranking factors carries a lot less weight than they did previously.

Posted in Domain Flipping, ScammersComments Off

Flippa Scams

InvestBeacon banned

I recently wrote about a Flippa seller, InvestBeacon, here. This guy, whose first real name is Antoniya, and profile on Flippa is InvestBeacon, creates nothing (except Flippa listings) with sites he rips off from other people. He buys sites for $17 that have NO RESELL RIGHTS (personal rights only) and after he has acquired 25-40 of these, he creates Flippa listings to sell them in bulk.

Not only does InvestBeacon sell sites he has no right to sell, he sells the same sites over and over and over again. In his listings, he claims that each listing is an EXCLUSIVE network of blogs. Of course, nothing is further from the truth. Not only do they belong to someone else to sell and have been sold legitimately on the Warrior Forum, but he sells the same ones continuously.

In this post, I point to one such auction but he listed another auction here. I reported this auction to Flippa and they suspended this seller. I was relieved that InvestBeacon was not going to get away with selling other people’s blogs one more time. SuiteJ and Mark (new owner of Niche Blogging Treasure) also contacted Flippa regarding this auction.

After being suspended, I get this pitiful email from InvestBeacon:

from [Offline] InvestBeacon investbeacon@gmail.com

to Suzanne Bucciarelli

date Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 3:09 AM

subject I’m really sorry for selling your websites

mailed-by gmail.com

signed-by gmail.com

Suzanne,

I would like to declare that I will not be selling any of your websites at http://nichebloggingtreasure.com/ or SuiteJ’s blogs ever again on flipppa or any other website. I deeply repent for even trying to sell these sites at the first place. I can only ask you to put this behind us and try to forgive me. I’m only left with the following – good luck with your future work and you won’t be hearing from me about any of this again, I promise.

Regards,

Antoniya

Sounds like this scammer is turning over a new leaf, right? Don’t believe it for a minute. 1/2 hour later, I get another email from him, saying that now that he is a reformed scammer, would I put in a good word to Flippa so he can get his account back. Needless to say, I did not put in that word for him. I have been dealing with this Flippa scammer for a long time.

The truly shocking thing is … that soon afterwards, Flippa UNSUSPENDED him and allowed his auction here to continue and complete successfully, even though the two owners of those sites reported it and so did I.

But wait … it gets even better. While he was suspended, it appears (to me and a lot of other people, at least ((but not to Flippa))), that he created another account under the name of finestcreativity, this time selling Verena’s blogs from the Warrior Forum. These blogs are also created and sold by Verena with personal rights only. There were two brand new, active listings selling blogs he had no right to sell.

So I sat up until 1am and drafted up a DMCA notice to send to Verena and instructions for her on how to send it to Flippa:

_________________________________

Verena (YOUR FULL NAME)

YOUR ADDRESS

YOUR EMAIL

YOUR PHONE

Subject: Notice of Copyright Infringement

The Flippa seller known as InvestBeacon and finestcreativity are selling blogs from me that he purchased from me with no resale rights. The blogs available on The Warrior Forum sold under my name, Verena come with personal rights only. InvestBeacon was suspended for this before, but it is apparent that he has been reinstated and has resumed selling blogs that he has no rights to sell. In addition, he now has the second account to sell stolen blogs from, as InvestBeacon and finestcreativity are one and the same person.

The copyrighted works at issue are from listing for finestcreativity:

https://flippa.com/2639764-25-exclusive-autoblogs-network-of-money-makers-beautiful-design-instant-profit

COPYRIGHTED WORKS THAT HE IS SELLING FROM THE ABOVE LISTING:

ORIGINAL COPYRIGHTED BLOG: http://www.warriorforum.com/complete-web-sites-sale/335795-only-25-gorgeous-learn-guitar-niche-blog-comes-e-book-sales-page-ready.html

ON FLIPPA LISTING: http://guitarcoaches.net/

ORIGINAL COPYRIGHTED BLOG: http://www.warriorforum.com/complete-web-sites-sale/396034-only-25-gorgeous-day-trading-niche-blog-another-premium-blog-package-verena.html

ON FLIPPA LISTING: http://tradingmanual.org/

ORIGINAL COPYRIGHTED BLOG: http://www.warriorforum.com/complete-web-sites-sale/352660-only-25-gorgeous-hybrid-car-niche-blog-another-premium-blog-package-verena.html

ON FLIPPA LISTING: http://drivinghybrids.org/

ORIGINAL COPYRIGHTED BLOG: http://www.warriorforum.com/complete-web-sites-sale/357634-only-25-gorgeous-bodybuilding-niche-blog-another-premium-blog-package-verena.html

ON FLIPPA LISTING: http://bodycourse.net/

ORIGINAL COPYRIGHTED BLOG: http://www.warriorforum.com/complete-web-sites-sale/352927-only-25-gorgeous-cruise-vacation-niche-blog-another-premium-blog-package-verena.html

ON FLIPPA LISTING: http://specialcruises.net/

ORIGINAL COPYRIGHTED BLOG: http://www.warriorforum.com/complete-web-sites-sale/351650-only-25-gorgeous-satellite-tv-niche-blog-another-premium-blog-package-verena.html

ON FLIPPA LISTING: http://satellitereport.org/

ORIGINAL COPYRIGHTED BLOG: http://www.warriorforum.com/complete-web-sites-sale/349619-only-25-gorgeous-solar-energy-niche-blog-another-premium-blog-package-verena.html

ON FLIPPA LISTING: http://solarenergyreports.net/

You can reach me at (YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS) for further information or clarification. My phone number is phone number here and my mailing address is address here.

The email address of the website owner, who has reprinted our content illegally, is their email address is investbeacon@gmail.com.

I have a good faith belief that use of the copyrighted materials described above as allegedly infringing is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.

I swear, under penalty of perjury, that the information in this notification is accurate and that I am the copyright owner or am authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

YOUR NAME HERE

DATE HERE

_____________________________________

Got a message from Verena that she did indeed send it, but by then, finestcreativity had been suspended. See a pattern here? How long before finestcreativity is magically UNSUSPENDED and allowed to continue defrauding customers on Flippa once again?

I got an email from Flippa stating that they could find no fraudulent link between InvestBeacon and finestcreativity.

Really?

Let’s see. Both from Bulgaria with verified Bulgarian telephone numbers. Both with identical titles in their listings. Take a look at the images below. In the first one, you can see he tried to hide his identity by claiming that he is from the US. But his mobile phone is from Bulgaria and you can’t hide that. The second are the listings. Identical, aren’t they?

flippa scams

flippa scams

Do these listings look identical to you or not. They sure look like the same person created them to me.

OTHER FLIPPA SCAMS

The sad truth is that a lot of scammers sell on Flippa and it is a minefield to try to buy a site from Flippa without getting ripped off. Take for example the rash of “Traffic” selling websites. There are sellers that sell the same traffic selling and other websites over and over again. For a real eye opener, check the same Flippa Leaderboard for all duplicate sites being sold on Flippa. A few of those are actually different sites … just listed with the same titles like the first listing there, but many are just clone websites being sold over and over again.

Buy from Flippa with extreme caution. Use Google to Google the title of listings and the Flippa Leaderboard to check for duplicates also. Of course, duplicates are not the only Flippa scams going. There are plenty of sites with fake income screenshots and sites that buy fake traffic to inflate their traffic numbers (I got one of those gems awhile back). It requires some real due diligence to buy from Flippa without getting ripped off.

UPDATE: The seller InvestBeacon had a lot of communication with Flippa and promised never to sell sites that he did not have the right to sell any longer. But this long time Bulgarian scammer couldn’t and had no intentions of keeping that promise. He opened a new account, FinestBusiness, and listed another person’s blogs from the Warrior Forum that had personal rights only. Someone pointed me to the auction, and I located the original source of the blogs and reported the auction. I had proof that this account was also InvestBeacon. In addition to InvestBeacon account, this scammer Antoniya, whose real name is actually Ivan Kolev, has operated under all of these previously banned Flippa accounts that I know about:
vanko007a
kolevgroup
creativity
finestcreativity
FinestBusiness

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Flippa Scammer InvestBeacon

Some of you know that I created and owned NicheBloggingTreasure.com. I sold the site to a very nice guy named Mark. He has sole ownership and is the only person who has the rights to sell NicheBloggingTreasure.com blogs.

Well, there’s this Flippa Seller, InvestBeacon (Flippa profile here: https://flippa.com/users/427164) that is re-selling sites he purchased from NicheBloggingTreasure.com and some from SuiteJ, all purchased with private rights only … NOT RESELL RIGHTS.

Not only is he reselling blogs that he has no right to resell, he is calling them EXCLUSIVE in his listings. Of course, there’s NOTHING exclusive since he is reselling them over and over and over again on Flippa and on Ebay.

The new owner of NicheBloggingTreasure.com, SuiteJ, and myself have reported this auction and it is still running, with some poor sucker who will inevitably win the auction of stolen blogs. Below is the email I sent to Flippa.

InvestBeacon is his profile on Flippa, Ebay and the Warrior Forum
investbeacon@gmail.com is his email in Paypal
From Bulgaria

From: Username: sbucciarel
Reported Auction: http://flippa.com/auctions/2629073

Customer’s message follows:
—————————
I am very surprised this auction is still running and you have not banned this scammer. He is reselling blogs that he purchased with NO RESELL RIGHTS from Mark Alves of Niche Blogging Treasure and from Suite J. Not only is he a thief, but he is claiming in his sales copy “A Network Of 40 EXCLUSIVE AUTOBLOGS”. There is nothing EXCLUSIVE about blogs that he stole from someone else and is reselling over and over and over again on Flippa. Look at his profile and see the EXCLUSIVE blogs he resells over and over.

The poor buyers who end up shelling out dough to this scammer run the risk of getting their sites taken down with DMCAs.

I am the former owner of Niche Blogging Treasure and I sold the exclusive rights to the blogs that he is reselling to Mark Alves. Only he has the rights to resell them.

Specifically, the sites that he is reselling on this auction that he has no resell rights to are below and they can all be seen on NicheBloggingTreasure.com with NO RESELL RIGHTS specifically stated:

SAVE MONEY

http://MoneyBootcamp.org

PREGNANCY HEALTH

http://HealthyPregnancies.net

TRAFFIC MACHINE

http://TrafficBomb.org

BABY NUTRITION

http://BabyNourish.net

WEDDING PLANNING

http://WeddingAdvisory.net

TWITTER MARKETING

http://TweetRevenue.org

POKER GUIDE

http://CoachPoker.net

PPC MARKETING

http://PPCBomber.net

PUPPY CARE

http://PuppyCaring.net

TEETH WHITENING

http://SmilingTeeth.net

SKIN CARE

http://SkinCareBliss.net

BLOGGING MOMS

http://BloggingMommies.net

BABY SHOWER

http://BabyShowering.net

ECO WEDDING

http://EcoBride.net

GARDEN VEGETABLES

http://GardeningCourse.org

IDENTITY THEFT

http://IdentityReport.net

BREAD MAKING

http://BakingBreads.net

YOGA GUIDE

http://YogaAdvisor.org

ECO FAMILY

http://EcoFamilyFun.net

NICHE MARKETING

http://NichePower.net

FLOWER GARDENS

http://LushGarden.org

FITNESS GUIDE

http://AdrenalinePump.net

DIET TIPS

http://DietExpertise.net

GADGETS & TECHNOLOGY

http://NerdReviews.org

BLOGGING DADS

http://BloggingDads.net

STRESS RELIEF

http://StressHealing.org

CAR CARE

http://CatCaring.net

VAPING GUIDE

http://VapingGuide.net

Suzanne

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