scam

Is it just me…?

…or is everyone else tired of all the ‘get rich quick’ nonsense scattered about the Internet nowadays?

As anyone who has visited this site, or who knows me will be aware, we run this site mostly for fun (you can visit Gandy-Draper if you want to see the more commercial face of our Lanzarote web design services). So, here’s something put here purely for my own, and maybe your, amusement.

I guess with to much time on my hands the other day (it was my birthday coming the day after, so I was winding down a bit) I decided to have a little play and threw together this little number. When you spend as much time as I do working on and trawling around the Internet you can’t help but stumble on sites – no matter how much you try to avoid them – all promising to make you rich with absolutely no effort whatsoever on your part. This could be described as my reaction.

Click here to see the site (but not if you might be offended by bad language).

TVI Express, is it a scam?

The simple answer if you do a bit off digging is yes!

I sometimes use this site as a way to alert the readers of scams. Having stumbled on a business card promoting the TVI scheme in Playa Blanca here in Lanzarote very recently and having previously been asked by a friend to check out its credibility this seemed as good a place as any to put this. I won’t embarrass anyone with the name on the card – they’ve just got sucked into a pyramid scam and have lost $275-

What claims do they make?

  • they claim it’s a legitimate travel business
  • that you can make $10,000 a week from recruiting others

What is it in reality?

It’s a classic pyramid sales scam, (A pyramid scheme is a non-sustainable business model that involves the exchange of money primarily for enrolling other people into the scheme, without any product or service being delivered. Pyramid schemes are a form of fraud – Wikipedia)

If  you’re the person who’s name is on the card (nobody I know), I’m very sorry you got ripped off.

Anyone else, please be on your guard. I know times are hard for many here on our little island, as they are elsewhere, it’s a perfect time for the unscrupulous to prey on hopes and dreams. Make no doubt these people will take your last penny off you.  Don’t buy dreams – if it looks to good to be true, it probably is. We all know that – but sometimes even good people get caught out when times are tough.

Phishing scam in Spain

This is one that people could easily fall for… (especially ex-pats not confident with their Spanish language skills).

Things to look out for are:

Your own name or email address not being in the “To” section
Hovering your cursor over the link (don’t click it) bringing up a suspicious looking address that doesn’t match the site it is supposed to – the thing to look out for is the last description before the domain extension – e.g .com)

Phishing scam

If you receive anything like this, just delete and forward it as spam to your Internet Service Provider, and also consider forwarding it to the company who the thieves are masquerading as. If you are concerned that perhaps you are missing something from your bank, then phone your own branch.

NEVER log in using your bank details, email or password to a website from a direct link in an email. Reputable companies who you know will only ask you to log in through their main website and not via an email such as this.

Click on the screen grab to see the email content.

Internet Thieves….

Dollar smileyIt never ceases to amaze us how many people get sucked into the American style Internet scams. There are so many of these shady ‘companies’ it beggars belief. If it wasn’t for knowing these things exist BECAUSE they would be really rather comical.

We can only assume that there are always vulnerable, willing newbies, still with notions (based on articles they have read about the Silicon Valley success stories of the past) that the Internet has made many millionaires in the heady .com boom. It still does. But nowadays it takes imagination and originality to really come up with something new and lucrative.

We stumbled across this one last night and haven’t laughing since, it’s called Smart Money Websites. It’s hilarious, and in the usual style of these thing full of absurd claims and ludicrous ‘I love’ you testimonials like this…

“I absolutely LOVE Smart Money Websites. For the first time in my life I’ve been able to do my own websites, squeeze pages, record audio, split test, Oh my gosh it’s all so easy….”

This ‘business’ was started by a “Wayne van Dyke” who claims to be a venture capitalist, supposedly involved with highly profitable technology start ups.

Problems…

1. A search on Wayne van Dyke leads only to stories about Dick van Dyke thus burying him if it is his real identity in Google (we suspect so you don’t find the truth!).

2. If he’s so damned smart why doesn’t he name his past successes.

In the usual hard sell direct marketing style, the text of this ‘site’ if you can call it that, has lots of repetition, lots of numbers ($50,000 is the favourite), and lots of buttons to suck you into the $1 trail.

So, what are they selling. Well, that’s our point, it’s not really clear. It’s either an MLM (Multi Level Marketing) sell this same business onto others idea, or they are selling pre-build affiliate marketing site. But lets be honest, who cares what they are selling. it’s the way they are selling it that is just plain wrong. They prey on the ill informed.

Here’s some numbers for you – apparently in their view this is the yearly cost of a website.

How to make your first $50K (home study course) – $297
(Reality: Chances are completely worthless if their site is anything to go by!)

Hosting – $240
(Reality: $83.40 if you use someone like Hostmonster)

Site Builder – $250
(Reality: FREE, assuming they mean a basic site building package as is often bundled with hosting accounts, but they are not clear)

Email Autoresponder – $200
(Reality: FREE with any sensible hosting plan)

Split Testing – $249
(Reality: FREE, but, creating similar gateway pages runs the risk of getting you banned from Google, and is no substitute for a little common sense)

Squeeze Page Generator – $480
(Reality: FREE, but, again considered as spam by search engines)

Ad-Tracking – $199
(Reality: FREE)

Webstats – $348
(Reality: FREE with any hosting plan, or you can use a service like StatCounter)

Audio – $348
(Reality: FREE, they simply don’t know what they are talking about)

Dashboard – $1200
(Reality : FREE, probably little more than a host’s control panel or a well designed Admin panel within a custom site which would have been purchased with the build)

Webmaster @$50/hr. x 400 hrs – $20,000
(This is our favourite, the sites we build for people don’t often take more than a few hours – if any – to look after. If you look at our client list you’ll see that if that this was the case we’d be semi-retired now! Yes, it does cost to build a quality site, but a good web design company should be delivering you, at this level, a site you can completely manage and maintain yourself)

Here’s the good news, you only get to pay them $647 a year for all this! The only thing missing from this to truly convince us that this was a scam was a photo of the founder on a Hawaiian beach with a cocktail in hand just to show how they are enjoying spending your money. As the old saying goes, “if it sounds to good to be true – it probably is”.

We did send them a polite (okay, polite is stretching the truth a bit) email to ask what they were ACTUALLY selling, but needless to say have not as yet got a response…