Tag Archive: SSL

Fabian Tactics of Google Work At Home Scam Legal Team

Pacific Webworks / Quad Try and Dodge the Issue

Oh What a Tangled Web We Weave...

Oh What a Tangled Web We Weave...

Back in 2009 I stumbled upon a negative option scam for which those involved were sued by Google (and folded with an out-of-court settlement) and were prosecuted by Uncle Sam, losing again.  Initially, I was completely unaware of the depths of deception to which these people would stoop, but then I rapidly discovered the nightmare web that they’d constructed and how difficult it was for ordinary people, duped by slick honest-looking promises, to un-pick themselves from it.

Not only that, I quickly realised that PWW weren’t the only spawn of the devil and that others, like Jesse Willms, were up to very similar tricks.  See:

Methods

The above list of links more-or-less shows how we found out the Pacific Webworks (PWW) story.  They’re by no means the only set of devils in the world trying to scam people, but they’re the one’s I stumbled upon first.  That’s all.

Their business was to set up website templates that their “customers” could use to extract money from their customers by use of the negative option scam.  In effect, they were selling the tools to steal to people, who then had the option of calling it a day or selling the tools to steal on themselves, thus stealing.

To promote it they used mass advertising through paid ads on Google (using the Google and others’ trademarks to make it appear that these offers were endorsed by those referenced), through Quad, which they owned, and fake news or personal information websites (flogs) loaded with follow up ads.  The promotions could be their own, but for the most part it was all done by “affiliates” (their customers) that all took varying degrees of commission for follow-through clicks.

The advertising was managed by Bloosky Interactive that also operated through 3rd parties unsolicited email adverts, spam to you and me.

Underlying it all was the credit card processing business which they also owned (Intellipay) usually through the securecart domain.

All parties involved, except the final folk who didn’t really understand how bent this whole operation was, fully understood the nature of this business.  How could they not? – when they were selling “services” for $1.95 for which they’d get $30 commission!!!

Turn of the Screw

In another twist of deviousness, PWW (run by Bell, Bell, Larsen & Larsen at the time) set up The Quad Group (geddit?) to avoid creditors.  This is how they themselves described it:

In June 2009 we experienced limited merchant account processing capabilities which created a situation where we could not satisfy payables to marketing partners. To generate needed cash in the 2009 second quarter we sold a portion of our hosting portfolio that was in excess of merchant account limitations to The Quad Group, LLC, a related party (the “Quad Group”) for $157,786. Quad Group is owned and managed by current directors, officers and an employee of Pacific WebWorks. We may periodically be required to enter into sale transactions with Quad Group to properly manage our merchant account processing requirements.

Neat huh?

Cuts and Thrusts

So that’s about it, as I currently understand it.  PWW’s managers/owners had customers on two levels, that is;

  1. The direct affiliates and associated advertisers who were enticed into the operation or migrated from other similar schemes via the lure of easy money.  These people used the templates to lure others with promises of easy money, paid as commission for attracting others to run the same schemes.  The schemes didn’t sell anything – except the scheme!  A true pyramid scam!
  2. Duped suckers.  These, numerically the vast majority, soon realised after one or two mysterious withdrawals from their account of amounts around the $79 mark, that it was a scam.

The thrust of the plan was the hope that most people wouldn’t do anything, wouldn’t investigate much and wouldn’t associate with other suckers through embarrassment or whatever, just writing off the episode as one of life’s bad judgements.  Thus PWW would make say, $200 from which all the ads and affiliates would get their cut.

Just Desserts

Statue of Justice

Statue of Justice

Unfortunately for PWW, it didn’t work out quite like that.  Sure they made pots of money for a few years, but they upset too many people and eventually, through the power of communication via the very internet which was their arena,  news of what they were doing became so much that first Google, then Uncle Sam had to act.

Black September

But still the shit kept coming their way.  Just as I’d predicted in my postings (see list above), karma would get them.  On 19 September 2011 this year a class action was brought against the three main bodies behind the scam – Booth Ford v PWW et al – Barbara Ford is to be commended for her patience.  It was 2009 when she first filed for a class action!

In it, we see just how badly PWW have been acting for years.  Section 11, for me, sums it up perfectly!

Booth Ford v PWW et al Section 11

Booth Ford v PWW et al Section 11

So there we have it!  Now where’s the problem?

Rip-off Too Big!!

On 1 December 2011, Quad (who are actually essentially the same people as PWW with an almost similar board make-up – in fact the Google settlement made it plain that wives of the directors had been roped in as well), filed to be removed from the Class Action because they might have ripped off too much from people!  eh??  See QUAD_GROUP_NOTICE_OF_REMOVAL

The essence of their legal Fabian tactic (as I see it) is that:

  1. They scammed people from all over, not just Illinois, so it’s not a valid class action.
  2. They scammed people so much (by over $5m they say), that it’s the wrong court in which they should be tried, so ditch your claim against us!
  3. They scammed people by so much that the class action lawyer’s fees alone will be $9m so same reasoning as point 2!
Quad Group Sums

Quad Group Sums

Their sums in the above court removal document are in this screenshot.  There are others as well.  Of course, Quad (PWW with a different hat on remember) aren’t admitting any liability at all with this, so my use of the words scamming bastards reflects my personal opinions, not a statement of fact.  These opinions are based on the facts that:

  1. Pacific Webworks acquiesced to all of Google’s demands when sued for illegal trademark usage.
  2. Eborn and others lost their case when sued by the Texas AG when using PWW’s templates*, finance processing and networks to scam folks for millions of dollars.
  3. PWW lost their case when sued by Uncle Sam.
  4. PWW admitted filing untrue SEC accounts and changed accountants twice because of this.
  5. One of the accountants was directly related to a PWW director.

It’s noteworthy that the sum of $43m is derived from one “illegal” charge of ~$80 plus one subsequent charge of ~$25 multiplied across the claimed customer count of ~455,000 persons – because I have evidence from people who’ve contacted this site and others that some people had up to half a dozen illegal account withdrawals before they could put on a stop, which implies that the allegedly scammed amount could be much, much higher.

It’s also noteworthy that Quad’s own suppositional sums show high value amounts from this “business” yet for all this time, no dividends were paid and the only way investors in the company could make money was through share price changes.  If you tie this information to the incorrect accounting and familial accountant/director relationships, plus the fact that PWW is largely the same people as Quad, then collusion looks highly likely over this time period and the SEC will quite possibly be knocking following the conclusion to this class action.

With regard to the SEC, the same SEC filing that revealed Quad’s dubious formation also reveals that;

Our client base includes approximately 30,000 active customer accounts. We rely on the efforts of our internal marketing staff and on third party resellers, including our wholly-owned reseller, TradeWorks Marketing, to add accounts to our customer base. – see SEC Link

Well they can’t both be right, can they, Quad?  Is it 455,892 customers in your sums or is it 30,000 in the SEC filing?

Linkages

Copious links are included in the articles referenced by the site references at the beginning of this article so I haven’t had time to re-reference all the above statements.  But they’re there should you wish to look.

I certainly hope that the Fabian tactics don’t work and that people see them for what they are.

Notes & Addendum

*     Eborn et al used website designs very similar to those provided by PWW.   Whether they were exactly the same is a moot point in my view, because like a burglar who learns to house-break from another burglar, the crow-bar used will not be exactly the same crow bar, but it’s the idea of using a crowbar that’s important to the final act of theft.  In other words templates, like crowbars, are just tools.  Eborn’s websites were almost carbon-copies of those from PWW using all the Visual “tools”, the money processing and the affiliate networks that they “employed”.   Many sites (I had a huge list of them and copied images directly from the site before they locked it down) were partly or wholly hosted on pantherssl.com  via Bloosky.  These co-incidences didn’t happen by chance and show intelligent design behind their purpose.  (Thanks Paul!)

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Foetus Products Shop Made Simple

Foetus Products Shop Open

Foetus Products

Foetus Products

In preparation for our next release, Spookhouse, I’ve set up a proper shop to sell it!  Our intention is to sell everything ourselves via this sole outlet. (Click image for the UK shopping site.)

The announcement is on the Crawling Chaos website here.

Kicking off the shop I’ve reworked (…er…shouldn’t that be ‘am in the process of re-working?…) all tracks from the two previous CD issues.  Finally I’ve had a decent handle of the articles…

Some have been substantially changed which may upset the purists, my current modus operandi being to imagine myself back then using the current software and equipment I now have at my disposal, then to change the existing 2-track recordings to best fit this basic idea.  After all, they’re already in the digital domain – so I may as well try and make them something like how I/we wanted originally, but was thwarted by technology.

In tandem with this, I’ve whipped out some jam and hidden parts in tribute especially to Paul, Jeff & Garry, because this was the core of many creations that appear on those two releases and turned them into something dark and tragic, as that’s how I currently feel about their absence from the planet.

As Steve Jobs once said,

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

Close observers will spot the “new” tracks.  They are there to highlight our jollity, our bleakness, the tiny hidden gems of deftness in improvisational Jeff’s playing and Paul’s lyricism, the randomness of Gazza and the end that must come to us all.

All this stuff is competitively priced compared to the muffled output from the usual on-line stores.

Spookhouse

The Spookhouse design is currently being set.  Downloads from the CD will be available following the CD release.

Other Items

These will be released, mainly as download, for other artists wanting to contribute to to the Foetus Products collective sound resource.  This isn’t a joke.  We really mean it folks!

Technical

I’ve set it up using open-source software on the foetusproducts.co.uk domain.  All links are secure where they need to be using a SSL Certificate I bought from GoDaddy.com, as they were had a special offer going…!  It’s security level is the highest you can get (it uses a 2048 bit key), which means folks should have no qualms about their bank getting raided or whatever if they buy from us.

Users will have a choice of two financial transaction processors – PayPal and Google Checkout for which I’ve set up merchant accounts.  They’re ubiquitous and most people are familiar with their operation nowadays.  I thought about using Amazon, but they don’t currently process for digital items.

The reason that we’ve gone this route harks back to our (i.e. Crawling Chaos’s) independence of spirit – and because our returns will be on par to going the iTunes route, say, for distribution.  We lose about 10% commission in the transaction process compared to a lot more through online download stores.

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Jesse Willms Banned by Judge from Negative Option Selling – Assets Frozen!

Latest News from Tuesday, Seattle

Jesse Willms Banned by Judge from Negative Option Selling – Assets Frozen!

Frozen Assets

Frozen Assets

CBC (with whom Willms has already had a tussle) in Canada are already broadcasting that local high-school athlete drop-out turned internet businessman of dubious repute, the self-styled and self-publicising entrepreneur & charitable Jesse Willms, has had some shackles applied to his business by the order, by a Seattle court, to freeze his assets (in case they’re needed to payout to his alleged victims and fines) and also to not use the negative option gambit in any of his websites.

See the CBC report (and wonderful video) here:

U.S. judge freezes assets of Alberta internet salesman

CBC report on the FTC lawyer Robert Schroeder saying,

The judge also froze the assets of Willms and his companies

I'm not a Flim-flam guy!

I'm not a Flim-flam guy!

This could be the main reason why CBC say that all his websites (that they know of, at least) are down and that his phone is dead.   I’ve checked and the dismal self-publicity blogs are still running, which they would be I suppose, as they’re not selling anything except the idea that Willms is a “good guy”.  The judge is Marsha J. Pechman, Federal Judge out of the Western District Court of Seattle according to the post I’ve linked to.  It finishes with the words:

While Jesse Willms has not responded much to these accusations, he has hired many firms to engage in a positive PR and SEO campaign and consistently sends out news releases claiming that he has been assisting charities with financial donations. Additionally, there are at least a dozen “blogs” setup by Mr. Willms to counteract the negative press with positive SERPS.

This is exactly what this website and many others have been saying for over a year now!  “Performance Marketing Insider” also states that:

Currently, according to news reports, there is a both a consumer and criminal investigation against Mr. Willms in Canada.

Well this is good! And only fair – fair to the thousands and thousands of people that feel duped by Willms’ activities.  Roll on next year – Willms is scheduled for trial in the U.S. in July 2012.  Should be sooner.

According to the CBC report, we see another aspect of Willms’ doings whereby he very rarely admits to any mistakes or wrong-doings.  It’s always someone else’s fault, in his world.  CBC say;

Willms has blamed unscrupulous business associates who he claims defrauded him by stealing credit card numbers in order to generate commissions with bogus sales.

I say,

What?  All of them?  All $457 million dollars worth?

Pull the other one!

Willms’ local paper, the Edmonton Journal, also reports on the asset-freezing story here.  They don’t say anything new – but it’s nice to keep the locals informed, don’t you think?

All those local charities that Willms has been plugging his exploits with over the past year must surely be examining their credibility in the eyes of their donating public.  This connection (and to fair, the charges are not proven yet) to Willms is starting to look very bad for them, people have long memories and mud does stick.  Ask any politician!

Surely?

Jesse Willms and Nolan Paquet

Jesse Willms (r), in the source of the famous grinning shot.

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Virtual Box Running 32 bit Win7 inside 64 bit Win7

Introduction

These shots are primarily for the benefit of my friend.

Virtual Box

Sun’s (now Oracle’s) VirtualBox application allows computer users to run a variety of Operating Systems (OS) on virtually any computer operating system.  This is the VirtualBox homepage.

For example:

  • Windows XP on Mac
  • Solaris on Windows XP
  • Windows 7 32-bit on Windows 7 64-bit

This latter example is actually the system that I use to connect to my remote work computing system.  (We use a Citrix client which will not upgrade to 64 bit, hence the necessity of running the Citrix program in a 32-bit environment)

The two shots below show Task Manger’s “performance” tab in the two systems.  I’m showing this to demonstrate that upping the memory to 12Gb has left Windows the opportunity of using as much memory as it feels, and by not using the pagefile (much, if at all) it’s very fluid in operation now.

This screenshot shows Task Manager in the host Win7-64 system with its 12Gb of memory and four processor cores.

Win64 Processes

Win64 Processes

This screenshot shows Task Manager in the virtual Win7-32 system running inside a VirtualBox image with the 4Gb of memory and four virtual processor cores that I allocated to it.

Win32 Processes

Win32 Processes

This screenshot below shows the view across all three screens that I use.

Windows 7 across 3 screens

Windows 7 across 3 screens

In the shot you’ll see that I’ve set the VirtualBox image to run full screen on the right-hand monitor.  I’ve chosen a different background to emphasise this.

A notable feature of VirtualBox is that I have set the mouse cursor to float seamlessly between the two environments.

Previously, I’ve tried installs of several Linux flavours into their own virtual image areas.  These are all removed now, but previously I had several running concurrently – I wish I’d taken a screenshot at that time.  To demonstrate the capabilities of VirtualBox, I once had running concurrently these various operating systems inside my Win7 64-bit host:

  • Windows 7-32 bit
  • Windows XP version one
  • Windows XP version two
  • Ubuntu 10.1
  • Mandriva 10
  • Suse 11
  • Fedora

To enable this all to run in only 4Gb of memory I assigned about 300Mb to each image.  They all worked “out of the box”!

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Windows Defrag to News 9 Today Browser Scam

Free Windows Defragmenter Search

Take this for a scam and a half way of fixing the Google search results!

Defrag Search Results

Defrag Search Results

Today I was looking for an old defrag program, but couldn’t remember the name – so I went to Google.  That’s the screenshot on the right.

The second result looked promising.  After all, the text says,

Anyone know what is currently the best defragmenter for Windows 7 x64 64 bit, and why? Does it have any problems?

News 9 Today  (news9today.org)

News9 Today

News9 Today

Unfortunately, tehparadox.com is not all it seems.  The page actually referenced is http://tehparadox.com/forum/f85/best-defragmenter-windows-7-x64-452359/, which looks kosher enough, but it has nothing at all to do with disc defragmenters, and everything to do with get rich quick schemes!! (That is a screenshot on the left).

It’s like all the other fake news sites that we’ve seen recently, except in this case, the whole meta data of the website is built to deceive the search engines!

For instance, the title stays in the browser tabs, saying,

“Best defragmenter for Windows 7 x64 64 bit?”

The whole html source code is here.  You’ll see that the meta data bit reads:

name=”keywords” content=”Best,defragmenter,Windows,7,x64,64,bit, Best defragmenter for Windows 7 x64 64 bit?, downloads,free,resources,online,sharing,community,movies,games,720p,1080p,anime,applications,music,tv shows,e-books,comic books,discussions,warez,dvdr,rapidshare,megaupload,netload,hotfile,fileserve,filesonic”

name=”description” content=”Anyone know what is currently the best defragmenter for Windows 7 x64 64 bit, and why? Does it have any problems? Or should I just use the default one that comes with Windows 7? Thanks.”

Where Does it Point?

The links all go to

https://ssl.clickbank.net/order/restricted.html?errCode=accntstate&cbhopvendor=homejonlin

which then redirects to

http://www.home-online-jobs.org/check-positions-available/?hop=maspromo

WHOIS www.home-online-jobs.org

Well, they’re hidden of course.  You should know what I think of businesses that choose to be anonymous, but to repeat, I think they’re shite.  See ‘http://whois.domaintools.com/home-online-jobs.org for their “details”.

Noticeably, they have very peculiar name servers:

Name Server:NS1.MYHOMEWEALTHSYSTEM.COM

Name Server:NS2.MYHOMEWEALTHSYSTEM.COM

MYHOMEWEALTHSYSTEM.COM

This bunch of jokers are also hidden, see ‘http://whois.domaintools.com/myhomewealthsystem.com but they Do have an actual web page promoting much the same stuff.  This has been seriously debunked by Paul at WorkAtHomeTruth here back in March 2010.  He has more red flags than the semaphore kid going on it.

The Biggest Killer Laugh of All

News9TodaySmallPrint

News9 Today Small Print

MyHomeWealthSystem at least has a web page.

Now go back to the top and examine News9Today.  Down at the bottom of their small print, they say:

Copyright 2010 © News9Today.org All Rights Reserved.

Hmm?  A website URL.  I wonder what it looks like?

Well actually, if you can recall the CNN logos at the top of the page, like so (directly from their server):

Tehparadox

As seen on CNN? Ha Ha!

After getting the link to the header image above which is sourced from http://www.news9today.org/home-job-news/index_files/features16.jpg, I back-spaced to go back to the News9 Today page – and ended up on the tehparadox page here:  http://tehparadox.com/forum/f85/best-defragmenter-windows-7-x64-452359/

You see in the screenshot that the top advert is a “Google Is Hiring” scam advert?  Where does it go?

A. Well http://www.news9today.org/home-online-job-positions/?tid=hojab6 of course!

Conclusion

Somehow the browser has been redirected from the Google search page to the header advert from the tehparadox website.  This could be SQL injection or a bug in their server or my browser setup.

Whatever, this really stinks, and it’s a new thing to be wary about.

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