Tag Archive: Third Party

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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Mona Vie Name in your URL

Hacker Attack?

digital attackThis article is a copy of one formally at this web address.  This is currently down and is repeated here in its entirety as a public service!  It’s suspected of being hacked, as described here on LazyManAndMoney.  This page will be removed if all is okay. (scheduled to release at midnight Friday 27/08/2010)

Mona Vie Name in your URL!

Mona Vie: Don’t use our name in your URL, unless you’re Wikipedia (and we’re doing the editing), By the author of Expert Fraud Investigation and Essentials of Corporate Fraud , Tracy Coenen

“No, MonaVie doesn’t endorse or approve me writing about them. In fact, they’ll probably get mad that I’m mentioning them. I don’t like MonaVie“.- Tracy Coenen

Earlier this week I wrote about the MonaVie lawyers going after bloggers who do unflattering critiques of the company. Their premise was silly: You can’t use our name in a URL. Here’s exactly what they said in their threatening letter to blogger “Lazy Man”:

“As a network marketing company MonaVie does not permit its name to be used in any URL or email address and the company must take necessary action to protect its intellectual property. It is not permitted for a third party vendor to use the MonaVie trade name in any form.”

So no use of their name in a URL, and no user of their name in any form? Gotcha.


Except it’s not so cut and dried. Lots of references to MonaVie in the titles of articles makes it so that their name is in the URL:

But the best example of a URL that includes “Mona Vie” and would therefore violate the bogus legal threats of the company comes from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MonaVie

It gets better, though. Not only does Wikipedia use the MonaVie name in a URL (horrors!)… people at MonaVie headquarters actually participate in editing the article about Mona Vie!!! A lot!!!


Here’s the link showing edits done by 65.44.117.2: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Contributions/65.44.117.2. You can see lots of edits to the MonaVie article.


And here’s the proof that the IP address doing these edits is owned by MonaVie:

http://centralops.net/co/DomainDossier.aspx?addr=65.44.117.2&dom_whois=true&dom_dns=true&traceroute=true&net_whois=true&svc_scan=true


For now, let’s ignore the fact that Wikipedia rules prohibit a company or its employees from editing articles about the company. That’s a conflict of interest (they obviously have an interest in slanting article material in a positive direction).


But I don’t care so much about that, however. What I care about is the fact that use of the MonaVie name in a URL seems to only be frowned upon when the URL is for an article with negative information and opinions. Have the lawyers gone after Inc.com for using their name in the URL? Or MarketWatch? Or Facebook?


Here’s the best part about the edits of the Mona Vie page on Wikipedia, though… This edit removed the company’s Income Disclosure Statement from the article. Interesting, isn’t it? Especially since the link is to a page on the official MonaVie website. How could they object to that? Easy. The MonaVie Income Disclosure Statement, if looked at carefully enough, is a damning piece of information. It proves that almost no one is making any money from the “wonderful opportunity” that Mona Vie is offering. Here’s an explanation of the statement, which clearly shows that 99% of MonaVie distributors are making $3.75 a week. What an opportunity.


So what is it, Mona Vie lawyers? Can we use your name in a URL or not? Or do your made up restrictions only apply to negative opinions?

This article was taken from the ” the Fraud Files blog” at www.sequenceinc.com

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ID Cards, Twitter, SAS, Terrorism and Security

Two news items today confirm the inadequacy of any security system made by man.  After all, once a secret is out, it’s no longer secret.

We have the simple human error of losing something combined with the natural inquisitiveness of human beings.  Both these absolute facts of life should drive a big hole through any plans for National ID Cards as a means of improving security!

What are they?  Oh yes!

SAS

Some servant of the State has (again!) lost a laptop.  This time it contain personal and operational details of the elite SAS, heroes of history, books and film, a force of last resort.  See Laptop with names of SAS men is missing: A laptop containing the names of SAS soldiers and their top-secret training exercises has gone missing, the Ministry of Defence has admitted.  This is pretty poor stuff but you know, who hasn’t lost something precious?  It’s easily done.  In this case, it’s the keys to the armoury, almost.

Twitter

17-year-old Mikeyy Mooney, a  computer programmer, almost brought down Twitter over Easter, the service Wildely beloved of Stephen Fry.  He said he did it out of boredom to send users to a website which he was trying to promote.  (See article here).

Mooney’s activities are not dissimilar to almost every website owner in the world.  We all want more hits! Ha Ha.  He had the skill and Twitter, in their openly-connected arrogance, left doors open so that anyone with that skill could walk right through.  It’s highly reminiscent of Microsoft.

Conclusion

You can’t make a totally secure communication system.  To pretend so and blame one’s failings on a third party is disingenuous.  The key word is communicate.  As soon as I speak, people hear my mind.  If I don’t speak, my secret is my own.  That’s the fundamental dichotomy.  It worked in the old days before computer, newspaper and print.  Before papyrus scrolls even.

So to trust our whole country’s security to ID Cards, bought in supermarkets (yes really!), a system that’s fallible, run by humans who are fallible, is (my word of the day) bollox.

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Google Kit, or Treasure Chest, the Plot Thickens?

Pre-Script

Comments are now closed on this posting as Google Treasure Chest is dead.
However, the problem has not gone away – the menace continues.

For further information, all chat on this and subsequent scams is now here:
Google Revolution, Different Name, Same Scam!
and here:
More on Google Profits and Pacific Webworks/

Introduction

@AmazonThis is a follow-up to help the poor folks suckered in by Google Treasure Chest etc as detailed here and here.  Hopefully, it shows how things move in this murky world and how really, it’s all connected!

From reading the various links I provided at google-treasure-chest-its-a-scam-and-a-half , I found that some ‘commenters’ were recommending a site called ‘Google Cash’ as being somewhat more trustworthy.  It was supposed to have a better service and openness.

Of course, since in most of the forums absolutely no-one uses their real name, how can you tell that a supposedly ‘good’ comment about a thing, is actually good, and not just one of the spammers making a plug?

Answer:  You can’t, not without some digging and inferential thought.

Changes

Anyway, some of the guys behind all this have been reading all the negative stuff about themselves and actually taken some if it on board!

Jason

Jason Smith

Jason Smith

Take this site, http://web.archive.org/web/20090803130316/http://www.google-kit.com:80/?, which un-nervingly pops up a depressingly familiar cheery face, with a sad introductory life story, a new car and a happy, smiley family.  In this case, he’s called ‘Jason Williams’ and the site is titled ‘Jason’s Road to Riches‘ …

David

[image gone now, Sep 2009]I decided to chop out some text, as before, whack it into Google and see what pops out…..  Wahay!  Currently there’s only one site with the search string as here:   “I ended up getting in touch with an old friend of mine from college named Sean who had been running his own work from home business for a few years“.  It’s called , titled ‘David’s Cash Blog‘  [n.b. both sites now defunct, Sep 2009]

Differences and Inferences

The only real difference between the two sites (I haven’t back-linked for SEO reasons), is that the first has listened to some of the adverse comment in the forums…  Here’s how.

  • People have said frequently that even though the sites are made with WordPress and appear to have ‘customer comments’, the reality is that these were always blocked.  Not so with the first site, Jason’s.  Comments are exposed and can be added to.  Of course, this is only a small touch, but it’s re-assuring to a visitor. ( Like this site, a WordPress admin can delete, edit and  invent any amount of comments to put the thing in a good light – I might do it – how can you tell?  A= you can’t.  It’s a trust thing… ).
  • Jason’s site actually has the disclaimer right at the bottom of the main page!  Gasp!  previously you’d only see this on the securecart page, before you click ‘pay now’ and if you checked right at the bottom.

For your interest, this is the current spiel with the new address (that part, the address changes, hasn’t changed, if you see what I mean!).  Read it very, very carefully if you intend to go for this rubbish.

GOOGLE™ is a trademark of Google Inc. GOOGLE™ does not endorse or sponsor this site and is no way affiliated with this site. * By submitting this form I authorize Google ATM (DRI*GoogleATM) to immediately charge my credit card $1.95 USD for the setup of the Google ATM Home Business Kit. I hereby request that Google ATM (DRI*GoogleATM) activate my account and authorize them to advance funds as indicated. Monthly Service fees will commence seven days from the date of this purchase, and will be billed monthly thereafter. After the seven day trial you will be billed Sixty nine dollars and ninety cents USD monthly for the continued access to the Google Money Making System. No refunds will be given for failure to use the requested and provided services. We reserve the right to transfer your billing to a third party Merchant of Record. This authority will remain in effect until revoked by me. You may cancel at anytime by writing to 4240 West Flamingo Rd. Suite #201, Las Vegas, NV 89103 or calling 1-800-497-4988 (International customers please call 1-866-321-2728). I agree that Google ATM (DRI*GoogleATM) shall be fully protected in honoring any electronic transfer or collection. Google ATM shall not be responsible for refunding any Account Set-Up fees. By submitting this information I am agreeing to the terms stated herein. Google ATM (DRI*GoogleATM) will not send notification, postal or electronic, when a billing occurs.

But it shows that they are listening;  making all the changes necessary to stay ahead.

Bad Connections Revealed

Both sites now have links to something called http://chrisc.com/about/, a business that’s claimed to be reputable by many people in the forums.  I’ve got a funny feeling about this one because of the long standing of the company and the various people who’ve published proper books on the subject.  It’s very easy to lump all these similar sounding names into one heap of turd.

My supposition is that the googlecash.com link is being inserted to add an air of credibility to the various scammy sites.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t help googlecash.com’s cause when their site looks like a soap powder advert and the scammers’  look smooth and professional….  What is one to think!

Link Checking

And what about the links to the articles for sale.  What are they like?

A.  Jason is flogging three links:

  • The ‘Google Home Business Kit‘ which points after some redirections to here again
  • The ‘Google Marketing Kit’ which unfortunately I can’t see as I’m in the UK

A.  David is also flogging three links:

  • The ‘Google Home Business Kit‘  again, which has the same visual webpage but located here
  • The ‘Google Marketing Kit’ which unfortunately I can’t see because my OpenDNS has blocked the ‘LynxTrack’ counter and I can’t be bothered to unblock it!

Both securecartcenter.com and eznetincome.com I mentioned disparagingly in an earlier posting!  Nuff said.

Grant Kit

This is the third link for both sites.  You’ll notice that ‘Grants’ figure several times in the list of images and folders served in my description here: drill-down-through-bsadnpanthersslcom.  It’s all part of the same sorry team.  However, I must have caught them off-guard as the links didn’t actually work!  Ha Ha.

Funnily enough, on Jason’s site, no commenter seemed to notice that!

Conclusion

The scammers are using familiar tactics and methods but are tweaking continuously to stay ahead of the game.

  • They do anything to look good.
  • They do anything to disguise the true cost of the ‘service’. e.g. immediate charge is stated as $1.95.  Subsequent is written as Sixty nine dollars and ninety cents USD monthly.  It’s psychological – you don’t see it!

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