Tag Archive: Phoenix

From Google Treasure Chest to Sun Tan Scam in Nevis on the BBC?

From Google Treasure Chest to Ubertan Sun Tan Scam in Nevis on the BBC?

A.  yes it’s true!

Ubertan On BBC

Ubertan On BBC

An article on the BBC website today highlighted the dangers of a tanning products called Ubertan.  On reading it, and following up with a simple Google search, the way it is portrayed in forums immediately set off warning bells because of its similarity to other scams I’ve seen.

Ubertan

Ubertan Search

Ubertan Search

A simple Google search showed that warnings about Ubertan have been going on for some time.  This website warned way back in April 2011 and here we have a Mens’s Health forum being shilled by Ubertanners with a post starting in Jan 2011…  The first even shows that the Ubertan website changed it’s copy when folks started complaining.

The Ubertan website is currently ‘live’ however, it is showing no content!  At all!  The Google cache is interesting though (more on that later)…

WHOIS Ubertan

Ubertan WHOIS

Ubertan WHOIS

Who is Ubertan indeed?  !!

WarningBell

Warning Bell

What we see is that “Manufacturers Direct” owns several domains and one Vernon Veira is the contact on the dual island nation of Kitts-Nevis.

10 Solomons Arcade
Charlestown,  00000
KN
+1.3057484919

This is when the warning bells started ringing….

Doing The Charlestown in Nevis

It’s two years ago that I started looking at the now seriously-discredited Google Treasure Chest scam (see http://strangelyperfect.tv/3099/google-treasure-chest-its-a-scam-and-a-half/).  the amount of information I had, meant I had to post over several different postings, and it was during these later investigations that a Post Office address (P.O. Box) came up on Nevis.  In Charlestown.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember exactly what address it was.  But it’s easily found here a comment from @NotKevin.  I think it’s the first time we saw the address, although it has since popped up many times when checking out folks that would be preferred to be known as “online marketeers” but we like to call scammers.  This is on the posting,

This is the address.

New Online Systems Ltd.
P.O. Box 642, Main Street
Charlestown, Nevis, West Indies

Google Cache

Ubertan Google Cache

Ubertan Google Cache

Ubertan may be silent, but the Google Cache is active and shows this address down at the bottom of the first cached page:

Ubertan.com +44 161 408 5816
Subertan Ltd 642 Main Street, Charlestown, Nevis

 

Uber morphs into Suber, and because the Post Office on Charlestown is one of the few buildings on Main  Street, Charlestown; a whole host of P.O. Boxes exist inside.

P.O. Box 642 means 642 Main Street!

Who are these people using 642?  I don’t know.

What I do know is that the domains listed by @NotKevin, although not exactly the same,  bear a shocking similarity to those domains used by people like Jesse Willms (say) before he decided to turn into a saint-like activist and Pacific WebWorks (say) before they got their pants sued off them.  This is what @NotKevin said:

That West Indies address is also linked with porn:
http://www.highdefriches.com/contact.php
http://www.eshspt.com/
(another Co Durham address on that one too!)
“health products”:
http://hiltonhg.com/
Colon cleansing:
http://www.colocleansemax.com/contact-us.php
Acai:
http://acaidetoxmaxx.com/
and Govt Grants:
http://www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/government-grants-avaliable-cd-c116063.html

Now compare and contrast those domains and businesses with the very large list to be found here on WebCops – the plethora of time-limited similarly-named domains means tracking them is an onerous task, well beyond my spare time.

However, yet again, we have seen the same address appear when dealing with dodgy ego-massaging products.

Phoenix-Like TryUbertan

Ubertan may be dead, but it doesn’t take long to find son-of-Ubertan when looking at the decidedly un-Caribbean telephone number for Ubertan.

+44 161 408 5816 is actually a Manchester, UK number!!

TryUbertan Contact Page

TryUbertan Contact Page

A quick search pulls out…..

Beginnings

Now I know they’re trying to hide!!!

TryUbertan.net on the T&C page now shows the address of Ubertan to be:

Ubertan Sunless Tanning System
c/o Toocoo Media Inc.
39555 Orchard Hill Place
Suite 600
Novi, Michigan
48375

Although it’s supposed to be available from ” high end salons in the U.K, France, Germany, Spain and North America” from their FAQ page, these stores will be doing so ILLEGALLY!  The UK government has officially banned it (as per the UK news item) and is EXPLICITLY ISSUING DANGER WARNINGS about its usage!

Still, TryUbertan (WHOIS is Pennsylvania USA) don’t care.  They’ll just grab the cash and morph into something else.

TooCoo Media CEO

TooCoo Media CEO

The decidedly minimalist website of Toocoo Media Inc, http://www.toocoomedia.com, throws up some interesting conundrums, if that really is their mailing address.  There are two LinkedIn links:

  • http://www.linkedin.com/company/toocoo-media-inc.
  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/jumanok

The latter is for the CEO, a Peter B. Lee whose 3 website links at the bottom of his profile point to the totally and bizarrely un-related websites of:

  • http://www.viafoura.com/
  • https://www.netiq.com/products/migrate/ which then redirects to novell.com as Novell has bought them out
  • http://www.oracle.com/index.html

Mr Lee, who claims to be Canadian from the LinkedIn profile, also has a poetry blog on blogger assuming the same quite distinct user name is being re-used, which is for invited guests only!!!  See The Poetry of Peter B. Lee with the url of http://jumanok.blogspot.com/  I’ve highlighted his key username as it matches the LinkedIn profile.  I don’t think that this Peter Lee (interestingly, a place name in County Durham of all places!) is the same who’s name is used in some recent versions of the classic 419 scam.  Try these examples for a start:

To add to the surreal mix that I’m uncovering, there are also two videos on YouTube uploaded by a “jumanok”!!  One of half a minute looks very much like Mr Lee, doing  some testing thing in Nov 2008 here:

This is a screenshot in case it’s pulled:

Jumanok YouTube

Jumanok YouTube

This is Jumanok from LinkedIn:

Jumanok LinkedIn LargePic

Jumanok LinkedIn LargePic

And here is “Crystal” telling us how her life state has improved after seeing something on OPRAH (down below she says) – except there’s nothing below!!  It appears to be a video plug for something intended to include Oprah in the spiel, except it never happened as there’s nowt to see.  This was uploaded in May, 2009.  The termination of Oprah-related plans may or may not have had something to do with the legal action, taken in May 2009, by Oprah, and reported here on her website;

http://www.oprah.com/health/The-Truth-About-Oprah-Dr-Oz-Acai-Resveratrol-and-Colon-Cleanse

Of course, Oprah sued and won damages against a host of scammers, one of which was Jesse Willms.

Conclusion

  • Time and again we come across scams that are based on a business with a very flakey base (here it’s a banned tanning product with government issued health warnings).  Usually, they are about improving one’s body or finances via unproven “new” medicines or foodstuffs, or get-rich-quick schemes.
  • Time and again we find a myriad of international contact phone numbers & addresses, for businesses that are very minor and specialist yet feel the need to spread themselves to the far corners of the globe.  Q. Why?  A.  Avoidance of easy scrutiny.
  • Time and again, we trace these businesses via LinkedIn (a bit like Jonathon Eborn, say) and other social networks high and wide.  They all start off appearing very legitimate.   As an aside, the Eborn results show a consulting website of http://www.jonathanebornconsulting.com/ and another of http://www.jonathandeborn.com/ which have both been hacked and defaced!  Made my day that!
  • Many businesses have a very public website, of minimalist design and content.  It’s very hard to discern exactly what they’re doing.  Compare these “online marketeers” to the website of Ford or Esso, say?  Now can you tell the difference?

Finally, (and very importantly for your health).  Don’t shove dodgy untested stuff of unknown provender up your nose.  Simple eh?

Related Posts:

Monavie, Gillmap, Idaho Falls, Google Treasure Chest and Oprah

Monavie, Gillmap, Idaho Falls, Google Treasure Chest and Oprah Winfrey

Introduction

Oprah Winfrey speaks at the Barack Obama rally at UCLA

Oprah Winfrey

Last June, a contributor to this website @Not Kevin made a telling entry here (http://strangelyperfect.tv/4308/google-revolution-different-name-same-scam/#comment-1589) that has direct prescient relevance to the court case in the USA that Oprah Winfrey has heaped onto a host of companies and individuals for using her name to promote their products. (see here and here for instance)

The original posting was part of my investigation into how the original Google Treasure Chest/Money Tree scam was morphing (and is still!), into various other scammy operations while continuing along the same murky path.  Paul at workathometruth.com shows that even though the scammers changed for a while after the Texas and Utah court cases started, they now seem to have reverted to type…

http://www.workathometruth.com/blog/2009/09/16/kevinsmoneytree-org-and-sandiego-tribune-news-com-review/

In my eyes, the stuff in his video is just as conning as it was a year ago and demonstrates the complete contempt that these people have for the law and the on-going charges against them!

Details of Oprah Case

A recent commenter (Matt Jezorek) said that their are six degrees of separation between these scams – but I begged to differ…  it’s about 2 IMHO!!!

Monavie Stuff

Monavie Stuff

Oprah, one of the world’s richest women, has taken umbrage at her name being used to promote all sorts of stuff; acai juice, teeth whiteners etc.  On August 18th this year (2009) she and her company filed charges against a host of these people.  Prominent among these was Monavie, the very same company that’s picking fault with Lazy Man!  (It’s been an observation of mine that criminals and borderline criminals shout loudest just before they cave in…).  The killer posting is here.

You can read the whole Oprah charge sheet here: http://www.marketwaveinc.com/oprah-vs-monavie.pdf

It’s quite a thing, with ~40 defendants named. To spread the word and put some load on my server, you can download it here, oprah-vs-monavie-etc.pdf, also!!  It’s a right riveting read I can tell you.

The point with @Not Kevin’s original research is that many addresses and company names listed as defendants to Oprah’s charges are in his original comment!!  So well done @Not Kevin!

Analysis

One that attracted my attention was Gillmap.  It’s such a daft name that it stands out!  Not Kevin and I have the County Durham address as:

Gillmap Limited
9 Broomhill
Stanley, DH9 8AZ
Durham

Oprah’s charge sheet (paragraph #15) shows the address as either:

Gillmap Limited aka Natures Perfection
600 SW Army Post Road,
Des Moines, Iowa 50321

or

Gillmap Limited aka Natures Perfection
4977 Fairview Avenue,
Boise, Idaho 83706

In Oprah’s paragraph #32 we find JDW Media from Idaho Falls which Not Kevin addressed perfectly.

There are also defendants from Henderson Nevada, Phoenix & Scottsdale Arizona, Florida, Ontario, Wilmington Delaware and elsewhere.  Many of these addresses and places have popped up in our research over the past half year.

Monavie comes in on paragraph #46 of Oprah’s charges.   In paragraph #51 we have some folks from honest Sandy, Utah.  Sandy in Utah is the hole that started my whole investigations running way back in April with, Google Treasure Chest – it’s a scam and a half! It turns out that Orem and Spanish Fork in Utah are also on Oprah’s list.  These towns along with Salt Lake City, Draper and Provo figure prominently in my research.

Robert G Allen

Robert G Allen

In paragraph #29 we see Rauscher Bekke aka ReVLife etc.  One of their addresses is

12399 Belcher Road South
Suite 140
Largo, FL 33773

..which appears as one of the spammers I wrote about with regard to chubby Robert Allen and the rest of the scum hanging round the Utah/Idaho border, here, http://strangelyperfect.tv/3533/robert-g-allen-grants-and-a-credit-card-slimeball/.  The other address appears in paragraph #18 as,

2375 East Camelback Rd.
5th Floor
Phoenix, AZ 85016  (different zip code though!)

Not Kevin also pulled out:

871 Coronado Center Drive,
Henderson, NV 89052

…”which appears in paragraph #17

Many individuals are named by Oprah.  However, her lawyers have had the same difficulty in unravelling the miasma of interlocking companies and sites involved.  In the court document they say they are currently after 500+ websites and their owners and will amend the document when they are traced.

That’s one seriously annoyed Oprah!

Conclusion

Don’t mess with Oprah.

A Flying Pig

A Flying Pig

That’s enough analysis.  I haven’t been through every address to see if we’ve picked them up previously.  But like I said at the beginning, I reckon there are only 2 degrees of separation between any of these scam-meisters.  I can’t wait until Oprah’s team hack through the other 500 sites…

Of course, the outcome of this court case and the others isn’t known yet.  All these companies could be like  goody-two-shoes and that we’ve all (including Oprah) got them totally wrong.

But I don’t think so.

Extra Information

On top of the Oprah case, the Texas case and the Utah case, last August also saw the Illinois AG file a similar case against acai snake oil purveyors.  See  http://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/pressroom/2009_08/20090819.html Links to complaints forms are provided on that page, if you think you’ve been swindled.  This is the charge sheet(pdf).

Related Posts:

Microsoft Performance in the Browser and Search Engine Wars

Introduction & History

Recently, Microsoft has reworked it’s search engine (MSN Live Search) and renamed it Bing.  This was followed even more recently, with a joint venture between itself and former search king Yahoo! into a hazily explained search and advertising combination.

Microsoft is well known for wheeling out the lawyers as backup to it’s long-running scheming that batters any competition into the ground.  I’m thinking particularly about the Netscape battle here…

Netscape, of course, although winning the final battle, lost the war and is no more.  But it’s technical expertise re-surfaced as the Phoenix browser, whose modern name is Firefox.

An advertising and search war has been extant ever since Google shot to prominence because it… er… gave better search results!  Microsoft has had umpteen attempts at catch up or smash down with the Google behemoth over the past decade.  None have had any real effect.  Likewise, Google has had umpteen attempts at rolling out profitable software to compete with Microsoft’s desktop dominance or Sun’s & HP’s mainframe business.  The only success is their own system of networked mini-computers using open-source software – so this doesn’t count!

Current Statistics

Below you’ll see the statistics globally, and also, as they hit this website, http://strangelyperfect.tv  This is for comparison.

Browsers

Global: (source: w3schools.com)
  • Firefox: 47.9%
  • IE (6 to 8): 39.4%
  • Chrome: 6.5%
  • Opera: 2.1%
StrangelyPerfect.TV (logs for August 2009 so far)
  • Firefox: 34.3%
  • IE (6 to 8): 49.7%
  • Chrome: 3.4%
  • Opera: 1.8%

Search Engine Usage

Global (source: hitslink.com)
  • Google: 78.45%
  • Yahoo!: 7.16%
  • Bing: 3.17%
StrangelyPerfect.TV (logs for August 2009 so far)
  • Google: 76.6%
  • Yahoo!: 4.2%
  • Bing: 15.4%

Conclusion

What’s clear is that the visitors to this website StrangelyPerfect.tv, have clearly different preferences to the global norm.  In fact (much to my chagrin it has to be said), there’s a clear tilt towards Microsoft products compared to global usage ratios.

  • Q.  Why?
  • A.  I don’t know!

Search

What I do know is that the Bing results following search queries that finish at this website are on a par with the Google ones!

From my analysis of my (admittedly small) sample of website hits, I can categorically say that’s there’s now no difference between Google & Bing for general searching.  I’ve proved this to myself with a few searches to corroborate this.

In this respect, Microsoft have done very well.   How they’ve done this, I don’t know.  But the similarities suggest similar logic at work on similar datasets.  Whether industrial espionage is the reason or the more likely cause of parallel evolution, only time will tell.

Browser

Microsoft’s browser has come on leaps and bounds since development stopped at IE5/6 after they’d crushed Netscape out of existence (why develop new software when there is no competition?).  Firefox has been the catalyst.  It’s security, stability and user-friendly features have pushed it’s share right up.  This forced Microsoft to react; first with the dreadfully slow IE7 and later with the much better IE8.

The in-built hysteresis of their desktop user base ensures that IE will be hard to beat.  For myself, Firefox is still streets ahead, primarily because of it’s interface – the key features are sized and placed proportionately to their importance on the screen.

It’s just, right; that’s all.

My gut feeling is that we’ve reached a balance point now that will remain for a couple of years at least.  Because the vast bulk of computer users are only just computer literate and ignorant of any alternatives,  I can’t see any browser pushing past the Microsoft desktop domination to enable the displacement of IE from the 50-50 mark.

Postscript

Weirdly, these are two battles of free against free.  Browsers are free to use – as is internet search.  It’s all about competing for advertising revenue in the end.

Related Posts:

My Move to Opera from Firefox

I don’t know what reasons are behind any of it, but it’s probably a combination of a corrupted Firefox profile and some weird goings on with my ISP, Pipex, (like here, say),but I’ve found that of the 3 main browsers, Opera works best with my websites. :-P

Despite all I’ve previously said about Firefox being a lean mean browsing machine and IE7 being a tad bloated, Firefox now holds the crown for creeping along, IMHO.

I’ve done comparative tests on my connection, twiddled themes and plugins, disabled and enabled Java etc, but overall, my viewing and maintenance of my personal web pages on my connection, hosted in the USA, is an order of magnitude better using Opera!

In fact I’ve had really poor loading and rendering from Firefox, which is most unusual.  IE7 has rendered some stuff poorly, especially some plugin graphics, but on the new theme, it works and loads fine.

And in the final analysis, that’s all I want, isn’t it?

And I find this sad actually as I’ve been a fan of Firefox since it was called Phoenix 0.5 …

Here are the versions currently in use on my PC today:

  • Firefox:  v 3.0.3  (Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-GB; rv:1.9.0.3) Gecko/2008092417 Firefox/3.0.3)
  • Opera: 9.61 (Windows NT 5.1; U; en-GB) Presto/2.1.1)
    Build 10463
    Platform Win32
    System Windows XP
    Sun Java Runtime Environment version 1.6
    XHTML+Voice Plug-in not loaded
  • Internet Explorer 7: v 7.0.5730.13 (128 bit cipher strength)

So I now recommend Opera.  Give it a go, here.  It has all the right-click functionality of Firefox, and more!

BTW, I think the new theme is so nifty, I’ve put it across a few sites, like the Crawling Chaos one here.  It has several configuration settings in-built to eliminate hand twiddling of the code and has in reality several large theme options only a click or tow away.

The one thing I’ve got to alter is add the “from date” to the copyright assertions.  It only shows the current year, which is irksome as most people have continuing operations over several years and it looks like copyright is being asserted only from the date shown.

Addendum, 31/10/2008:

Another thing I’ve changed is the “author/authors” bit of php.  It exposes the user logon name on mouse hover, which I consider a security issue.  I’ve changed it to show the “friendly display name”, which is “Strangely” in my case!  I’ve limited the display of other author info as well, because it’s the display of this kind of information that the spammers are after to further their SEO ranking and linking ends.

On a locked down site, this of course doesn’t matter, but for open commenting, it’s something that has to be properly managed.

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Mars Phoenix Promises Astonishing Hope for The Future of Mankind

How so?

As I write this post, a little spaceship is sat on Mars, basking in the relative warmth of the sun but still, in a very physically hostile place.

I am (slightly) older than the “space age”, which most people would say started with the Russian Sputnik launch in 1957, so I have grown up watching astonishing feats of bravery, skill and ingenuity, so much so, that like most other people, I’ve become blase about the whole thing.

It’s only the odd explosion that attracts the attention. For most people, the world of the internet is just click and browse and chat – the physics and technology that allows instantaneous communication around the globe is just hidden away – “oh! it’s another Intelsat launch – hmm”

However, two pictures from The Phoenix program showed and reminded me just how far we as a species have come and what we are capable of… It’s not the pictures from the surface of another heavenly body that I’m thinking about – we’ve had them since the sixties. They are old hat! ;-)

It's a Parachute!

It's a Parachute!

No, the first one is at the left.

Currently orbiting Mars is another spaceship, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. It took the picture of Phoenix dropping down to the Martian surface, suspended beneath it’s parachute. That single picture summarised, for me, just how good we’ve become.

Mars is millions of miles away, and yet we can take a picture from one craft, remotely, of another craft, miles away, in so much detail that we can actually see the parachute chords!

Remember, we didn’t remote control the craft – the radio waves take too long to reach Mars for direct radio control… We programmed the craft to do it!

On the Surface!

On the Surface!

The next picture is the craft on the Martian surface, viewed from the orbiting spacecraft. We can even see the solar panels unfurled!

Truly, if we as a species are capable of this, then we can do anything we put our minds to! I do not see the energy crisis as an insurmountable problem. Or global hunger. Or global conflicts. Or global warfare.

The problem is purely of people’s creation and the problem lies within our minds. If we decide it’s NOT a problem but is in fact a simple task that enables us all to keep living, then we can do these little tasks. We can see parachute chords on other worlds – we can surely keep the trees growing.

If we can’t do these tasks, then because Mars is a much less tectonically active place than the Earth, in a billion years the only evidence that humans existed on Earth won’t be on Earth, it’ll be on Mars!

md_646_1_

Phoenix descends past Martian Crater

The proof that Mars is tectonically inactive lies in this picture. The spaceship is floating down on it’s parachute in line of sight of a huge Martian crater.

Statistically, the inner worlds of Earth, Venus and Mars have been whacked by meteorites at the same rate. The only reason the Earth isn’t covered in meteorite scars is that crustal movements and weathering erode them away – quickly, (in geological time-speak). Craters like this have been made many times on Earth. We only see small remnants left now – until the next one arrives.

This picture also shows something of the immense time-spans that I’m talking about. This crater could be a billion years old!

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