Archive for scam warning

The Physicians Register: Scam or not? You decide….

Is the Physicians Register another misleading contract form scam?

As always, you the great Googling global public will decide.

Our aim is just to collect the experiences of ‘customers’ of this directory and let them speak for themselves. Why? to help you decide whether The Physicians Register is a scam or not.

The title ‘Physicians Register’ came to my attention the other day when a lady from a NHS PCT emailed me with some updates for her entry into some unspecified directory of GP surgeries. I emailed her back to first let her know that I don’t actually run such adirectory and second, ask whether or not she was expecting a ‘free’ listing in a directory such as TEMDI.

From her replies I learned that she had mailed back the form (“but I haven’t sent any money”) and was convinced that the reason she had emailed ME with amendments was because MY contact details “pop up on the Physicians Register website”.

As of today, I’ve not been able to find ‘The Physicians Register’ website – although it’s clear that the scam is at least on the radar of the Londonwide Local Medical Committees. Until this practice manager in question emails me back with the actual website she’s talking about, I’ll carry on trying to find out what she’s talking about. I suspect that, in fact, she’s fallen foul TEMDI – the ‘European Medical Directory’.

I also doubt that the people behind these directories (formerly ‘Novachannel AG’ and now ‘UNITED Directorios, Lda’) would put my contact details on their website since I’d do a pretty good job of dissuading any victim contacting me from paying them – lols. I think what’s happened is that this lady has searched ‘TEMDI’ and found my critical posts as no.2 in the search result (and the only entry to use the acronym TEMDI) and clicked on that, gone straight to my contact details.

It almost goes without saying that the most likely victims of this practice are those with the least online skills and the least ability to smell a very big, old hairy rat.

More to follow when we find out if ‘The Physicians Register’ is in fact TEMDI.

So.. if you’ve fallen foul of something called ‘The Physicians Register’ and found yourself on the receiving end of demands for nearly 3,000 euro – please use the comment function (below) to answer the following questions:

• Did you think you were getting a free listing?

• Do YOU think the Physicians Register is a scam?

UK Allocations Office: the latest ‘prize draw’ scam?

Is the UK Allocations Office ‘prize’ draw just another one of those nasty premium rate rip-offs?

** What’s changed, OFT, since the High Court ruled McIntyre and Dodd’s promotions to be ‘unlawful’ in early Feb? Why are these individuals still flooding the country with their scamming ‘prize promotions’?

“My elderly mother, who is housebound and has mental health problems, appears to have rung UK Allocations twice and now believes she has won a holiday. She is totally convinced by these scams and it’s very difficult to intercept them” – Liz, March 4th 2011

When is British law going to actually enforce this ruling to protect the old and the vulnerable, OFT? **

If you’ve got a UK Allocations Office letter through the post, then you might like to compare it to Community Awards Register and take a look at the people behind most of these – ahem – ‘promotions’. Let us know if you think they’re ‘related’ :-)

Erik Erikson and Gospel tv strikes gold

Erik Erikson, founder of Gospel TV uses the lure of gold to secure donations in a distinctly ungodly way

Gospel TV is not a good channel for me to watch.

A few weeks ago, I came across Peter Popoff ripping off the faithful with his ludicrous (but hugely lucrative) ‘Supernatural Debt Cancellation Miracle Water’ scam.  No, I’m not joking. Read that post and weep.

Last week, I came across Erik Erikson, founder of the Gospel Channel, talking to (surely be-wigged?) Welshman Robin Rees. They were talking about gold, not god. That struck me as odd – on a religious channel.

According to Erik, God told him to ask his viewers for donations for the Gospel TV channel. But not just a straightforward donation of the kind we’re familiar with. No, this was different. Special. Valuable. Different. According to Erik, this donation isn’t just a donation, it’s an investment.

If this was the Dragon’s Den, you’d see Deborah Meaden suddenly sit up and start paying attention. An investment? That sounds more promising. The numbers, Erik, what about the numbers?

‘Well, it works like this’ he’d say ‘you send us $1000 and we’ll keep half of it as a donation to Gospel TV and invest the other half in pure, 24 carat gold and send it to you’

WOW, you can hear the old folks thinking

‘Then over the years, that $500 worth of gold will be worth more than the original investment’

They then launch into a long and confused ramble about the massive rate of growth in the price of gold year on year.

A fellow outraged internet scam-baiter, who recorded, the show wrote to me afterwards to say:

Despite waffling, Erikson said that gold increased against the pound at 32% a year over the past ten years and at 45% over the last five which Rees described as ‘threefold’.  According to my reckoning if it increased at 45% a year over five years that amounts to an increased of 6.4 fold so he underestimated the increase that would have happened if Erikson’s statement was true; the ten year increase I estimate would have been 16.1.

After the strange statistics Erikson then went on to say that some people have said the increase will be even greater in future. He’s clearly using this as a selling point, all the while smiling benignly like a dodgy salesman.

You can almost see Deborah Meaden shaking her head and Duncan Bannatyne looking at the floor in disgust.

All that’s happening here is that Erik Erikson is using a shiny ‘gift’ (er… purchase) with the promise of a great future value as a crude device to lower the critical faculties of the gullible viewer so they’ll part with the money.

It would be laughable if it were not going on night after night – and lining the pockets of BSkyB in the process.

And as for Gospel TV – the new home of religious fraud Peter Popoff? A quick check this morning revealed that at least 6 of the channel’s listed celebrity preachers have scandalous past or present lives.  More to follow soon.

NB Notification Bureau

Is NB Notification Bureau telling you you’ve won something?

Don’t believe it.

You probably entered a free competition some time ago and gave your address.

The result is that a company called McIntyre and Dodd have sent you a letter telling you that you’ve definitely won a prize.

** WANT TO COMPLAIN ABOUT THESE PEOPLE?? Click HERE **

It will cost you about £15 to claim your prize, which, if you believe many of the people commenting here, is likely to be nothing. Those who did receive ‘prizes’ received things worth considerably less than they paid to, er… claim them.

So there I was in my local Police Station this morning, making a formal complaint against a threatening organisation (see this thread) when I came across the leaflet (above) in their information rack.

Had they ever heard of McIntyre and Dodd Marketing (part of a PLC valued at £13m)? No, of course they hadn’t.

And that’s why M&D are laughing all the way to the bank (with your money).

6 months after the Office of Fair Trading announced it was trying to take M&D to the High Court to put them out of this exploitative business, there isn’t the slightest sign of any progress.

Week after week, I watch the traffic surge on this site as another hundred thousand or so people receive their ‘prize claim’ letters through their doors and the more suspicious turn to Google to see what’s being talked about.

Those are the lucky ones: they get to keep their £15 for something more important.

Expo Guide scam: can we help people before they become victims?

It’s great to have helped so many people avoid paying these scammers – but can we help them avoid becoming victims in the first place?

Since I blogged about the big online directory scams (particularly Expo Guide and World Business Directory) a couple of years ago, I’ve had on average 100 visitors a day to these posts.

Every one of several hundreds of comments on these posts comes from someone who has fallen victim to these scams.  Thankfully, after reading other peoples’ comments, the majority of those take a stand and refuse to pay. It’s also clear that a number have already paid at least one ‘installment’ of around €1000 to these scammers.

It’s great that my posts are right at the top of Google for “Expo Guide”.  That makes it easy for people to find this information when the nasty shock arrives in the form of a phone call from Expo Guide’s ‘debt collection’ agency or a written demand. And it’s great to use this blog format to collect reassuring comments from other non-paying victims – all of which boost the visitors confidence to hold out.  This site and your comments must have saved people tens of thousands of pounds and immeasurable heartache and worry.

But here’s the question: given that not one single one of the dozen or so major Government backed fraud-prevention, consumer-protection agency sites has any information whatsoever on these scams, how can we raise awareness of this before people sign the form and get into trouble?

Another problem with these scams is that there are no figures of how many people in the UK have actually lost money to these scams, completed their fraudulent forms or simply received them.

So what do you think we can do to inform the average small business owner in the UK about these scams before they become a victim of one?

yatsy999 – your eBay ID is being misused

…in a phishing scam

** Hey, somebody who IS on eBay and is here because they received the phishing email, be a good netizen and contact yatsy999 on eBay and let him know, would ya? **

This neat little phishing attempt came through this morning. I picked it up on my iPhone – on which it appeared convincingly like something from eBay might look.

If I was a regular eBay user (I avoid it like the plague as it happens along with its unholy sibling, PayPal), I might be tempted to fall for this email. It’s cleverly designed to provoke you into thinking that someone out there thinks you haven’t paid for something. Someone is wrong!!  That’s a powerful psychological attractor. You go Google to check on yatsy999 and find he does in fact sell VW camper van parts on eBay.  But since you haven’t bought any camper van parts, he must be wrong – and that leaves you feeling both aggrieved and right.

“I’ll show him” you think.

And right there in the email is a nice big ‘Respond Now’ button to help you do just that.

Of course, if you click it, you’ll go through to a site that looks just like an eBay login page (although the URL is nothing like an eBay URL). Enter your details in that login page and you’d be handing your eBay login details over to the scammers.

Like a good cybercitizen I wanted to let yatsy999 know that his account is being used for a phishing scam. Only I couldn’t without logging into eBay.

All I could do is tweet and blog and hope he picks it up somewhere.

We are a Global Domain Name Registration Centre in Hong Kong

Typo – should read ‘Scam Centre in Hong Kong’

Like all scams, I suppose there are people who fall for this pile of old junk (pun, geddit?). If they didn’t, nobody would do it, right?

This scam reminds me of a caper I always wanted to pull. It goes like this.

You’re in the Lottery queue on a rollover Saturday night.  You watch the numbers the guy in front chooses carefully, then copy them. You: “Ere, mate. I’ve just chosen the same numbers as you.  That means we’ll split that £10m jackpot 50-50. Now, think carefully. That’s got to be worth giving me a tenner to NOT to choose them, wouldn’t you say…?”

Of course the reason I never tried that out in real life is because I’d probably get twatted – and I’d deserve it.  Online, you’re protected from any consequences by all that lovely distance and anonymity – which is, of course, exactly why it pays scammers to try anything and everything.

I do wish they’d avoid choosing names that sound like porn actresses, though. ‘Shawn Michaels’? Lols.

UNDP Jobs Opening: everything about it says ‘scam’

Don’t reply to email claiming to offer UN Jobs worldwide – no matter how much you want to make a difference

If your heart is breaking about Haiti, go make a real cash donation to a known, real-world charity via your bank or somewhere dependable.

If you’ve reached a point in your life where you want to make a difference in the world, go find a real-world aid agency and ask them how you could go about it.

The return address on this email offering ‘UNDP jobs’ is ‘unitednationdevelopprogr@hdrmut.net’.  A quick look at the domain associated with it takes us to an Arabic site.  By contrast, this is what the real UNDP site looks like.  Which one do you trust?

Anyway, my spam-assassin report says its spam.  So there. :-)

Avoid.

TEMDI – The European Medical Directory: scam or not? You decide

Is TEMDI another directory scam ripping people off with misleading forms or a reputable company?

** Welcome, visitors from Doctors.net.uk **

As usual, you decide.  And to help you, we’d like to build up a list of comments from anyone who feels they’ve been fooled into signing a ‘contract’ for services they don’t want by TEMDI – The European Medical Directory.  If you want to know more, then consult the ever-vigilant Jules Woodell on his site ‘www.stopecg.org’ where you can find full histories of this and many other scams, plus all kinds of other useful information.

My advice is the same as that for another version of this scam (the Expo Guide scam which is currently still very much out there judging from the ever-growing list of comment on this post): don’t pay and don’t even contact them.

Remember, paying once tells them you’re worth bullying for more.  Contacting them by phone tells them you’re afraid and worth bullying.  Responding to them at all ‘qualifies’ you for a step-up in harassment.

The people behind TEMDI – Novachannel AG – have a long and ugly track record of this kind of practice.  The form they use is very similar to those used in all the other directory scams and is carefully designed to make you think you’re signing for a free listing when in fact you’re signing for a 3 year contract at 950 Euros a year. Would they stand a chance in court?  No – but going to court isn’t (never has been) a part of their, ahem, business plan.  They make their money from frightening you into paying.  If a tiny percentage are scared enough to pay, then out of the millions of mail-outs they send every year, they’re making a pretty packet.

We look forward to hearing  your experiences of TEMDI – The European Medical Directory.  The more people report their experiences on sites like this, the harder it wll be for these directories to rip people off.

If you’re approached by an online business directory (of any kind) you should use my simple, common-sense test to find whether they’re worth the money.

You just need to ask two straightforward questions. This test works as well for legal businesses like TouchLocal as it does for scams.

Click the thumbnail (left) to zoom into the test

Smallbusinessdirectory.co.uk – scam or not? You decide…

I’d love to be able to tell you whether the spam I got today from ‘smallbusinesdirectory.co.uk’ comes from a scam..

…but unfortunately it appeared to be defunct by the time I got there.  Fast work, Tiscali!

By the way, if you are trying to set up a legitimate business in this current plague of worthless and outright scammy business directories, you really need to think hard about your approach.  Introducing yourself via spam isn’t a good start.  You’re going to have to go an extra mile to create confidence.  That’s quite a challenge.

And you’re going to need to use English properly.  And be sensible with your claims.

Ah well, I was kind of hoping for a home-grown business directory scammer to play with on this blog, but seems that I’ll have to wait :-(

Mind you, judging by the feedback coming in to this site, there are plenty of legal, ‘respectable’ online business directories it sounds like we ought to be looking into a bit deeper.

Any more you want to point me at?  Just leave a comment below.