Archive for scam

European Business Guide: Scam or not?

Is ‘European Business Guide’ a scam? You, the great Googling public will decide..

…meanwhile, here’s some information to help you.

Confidence inspiring. NOT.

‘European Business Guide’ sends out a pdf offering you ‘free updating’ of your entry in their online directory of European Businesses. The idea is to make you think that entry in their ‘directory’ is free, whereas the small print on the form states that entry actually costs 990 euros a year (min 3 years and automatically extended year on year) while ‘updating’ (once you’ve been entered) is – amusingly – ‘free’.

This is an old but surprisingly successful scam that’s based on a simple principle: people are needy and careless. They want something for nothing. They’ll sign the form without seeing the small print, believing that they’re getting something for free.  Then, if you bully people hard enough, a percentage of those people will pay you out of fear and/or shame.

Simples.

Anyway. Enough from me. Suffice to say there are many versions out there at the moment. Expo Guide, Word Business Directory, World Company Directory, World Business Register, European City Guide, Fairguide and many many more.

If you’ve started receiving demands because you filled in the form without reading the small print, then add your experience here by commenting. Search for my posts on ‘Expo Guide’ and read all the hundreds of comments there. Hopefully, they’re enough to reassure you not to pay.

International credit assessment agency / ICAA Cyprus

Have you received demands for money from International credit assessment agency / ICAA Cyprus on behalf of Expo Guide?

If so, you might like to read this thread first.

Don’t forget to read the 400+ comments too.  Hopefully you’ll be reassured that you’re the victim of a global scam. This means they can’t take you to court in any country because THEY are the ones who would be sent to prison :-)

Find out more about these scams from Richard Corbett MEP.

It also means that the ‘ICAA Ltd Cyprus’ acting on Expo Guide’s behalf to try to bully money out of you doesn’t actually exist.  Nor does ‘Fobble International’ or ‘Waldberg and Hirsch’ or any of the other names they pretend are debt collection agencies.]

Their ‘websites’ are simply fronts to make you think they are a real business and out to get you.  Don’t be fooled.

ICAA Ltd Cyprus: If you’ve received a demand from these people..

Is ICAA Ltd Cyprus demanding money from you on behalf of Expo Guide?

If so, you might like to read this thread first.

Don’t forget to read the 400+ comments too.  Hopefully you’ll be reassured that you’re the victim of a global scam. This means they can’t take you to court in any country because THEY are the ones who would be sent to prison :-)

It also means that the ‘ICAA Ltd Cyprus’ acting on Expo Guide’s behalf to try to bully money out of you doesn’t actually exist.  Nor does ‘Fobble International’ or any of the other names they pretend are debt collection agencies.

Their ‘website’ is simply a front to make you think they are a real business and out to get you.  Don’t be fooled.

So to beat them at their own game, I wrote this post to beat them to the top of Google for their own (fake) name. Lols.  See the results below.  Now, anyone receiving threats from them will go to Google, type in ‘ICAA Cyprus Ltd’ and find this post BEFORE they find their dummy website.

That, by the way, is how you use Google to get the truth in front of the lies.

Expo Guide scam: when I read this, I know I’m doing the right thing

Emails from Expo Guide victims like this one make it all worth while

Hi Sam,

Thank you so much for your phone call on Saturday, for your words of reassurance and for sending me the info on all those people who have been affected by this scam.  I shall certainly take your advice and ignore any follow up from them.

I have had this big black cloud hanging over me since receiving the demand from Expo-Guide on Wednesday.

My dinner party went well thanks to you and the removal of that cloud.

When you experience the worst that human kind can throw out it is good to know there are souls like yourself about who can redress the balance.

Kind Regards,
E

This is just one of many emails and kind comments people have written to thank me for posting on this subject and bringing together 200+ comments from victims of this scam – all highly visible on P1 of Google for a search on ‘Expo Guide’.  Their emails and comments reveal just how much stress and worry this nasty, global business directory scam continues to cause for decent, hard-working people.

Peter Popoff: online reputation disaster represents no hindrance to religious scammer

Peter Popoff exploits people’s greed, need and vulnerability for financial benefit according to Google results

I happen to agree with that view. So did the highly respected James Randi (who demonstrated Popoff’s wife feeding him ‘divine information’ via radio link in his live ‘ministries’) and so do most of the people writing about Peter Popoff online.

I came across Popoff last night, flipping channels after England’s depressing performance in their World Cup opener. Clare and I watched Popoff and his charming wife Liz promising ‘supernatural debt cancellation’ in return for nothing more than writing in to request their miracle water gift.

A gift which, of course, then turns into floods of direct mail with ever-increasing demands for money – ‘seed gifts’ – to help God to get started sorting out your debt problems.  According to Popoff, you can’t expect God to supernaturally cancel your debt unless you stump up something yourself first. It’s the religious version of the Nigerian funds transfer fee.

Despite having declared himself bankrupt following Randi’s high-profile debunking on American TV (easily available on YouTube) Peter Popoff today pulls in millions of dollars a year through his latest direct mail operation – and pays himself and all the members of his family millions in salaries too. First time round the target was believers with health problems.  Now, in the shadow of the credit crunch, it’s believers with debt problems.

For someone with a really bad online reputation, he’s doing far better than he should – and raises a question about how important online reputation is to a business.  The answer, of course (and Popoff will know this all too well) lies in the likelihood of his intended victims – sorry, ‘market’ – using Google to critically evaluate the things they’re presented with.

Judging by the audience profile at his ministry events shown on TV last night, I’d say that this likelihood was low, to say the least, reminding us that online reputation is only a meaningful concept to those who are already critical and use the web to do some form of due diligence before making decisions.

That greedy, insecure, grubby little people exploit other greedy, vulnerable and grubby people is absolutely no surprise to me. It’s everywhere – scratch the surface of everything British these days and you’ll find this sleaze. What does surprise me is that Peter Popoff can be still pushing this scam on TV and there’s not a watchdog or body that can – or will – stop it.

MacIntyre and Dodd Marketing, Peter Popoff.  Just two – but there are tens of thousands more and our culture gives them carte blanche to operate. Disgusting.

Action Fraud: The UK’s national fraud reporting centre

No wonder people get away with the business directory scams with a reporting system as bad as this

Each time I find a new ‘fraud helpline’ I’m disgusted to find there’s never any mention of any of the business directory scams that has cost these people so much in time and money.

What is it about our Government and police that makes them incapable of taking a stand against a crime that many of us online have been reporting for years – and which is still going strong? These people are still bullying hard cash out of people all over the world – cash happily banked by upstanding establishments like Barclays.

This evening, I found ‘Action Fraud‘  which calls itself the ‘UK’s national fraud reporting centre’. Now, I treat ALL such sites as inherently suspicious.  Why? Because there are plenty of scamming sites out there pretending to help – but just waiting to rip you off again with premium rate ‘help lines’.  Given that environement, Action Fraud doesn’t exactly reassure me on first impression.

I first had to Google ’0300′ call rates to make sure this site wasn’t also a scam. How many of you reading this know that ’0300′ isn’t some kind of premium rate?  Action Fraud could make this clear – it would go some way to reassuring people.  Then I tried to report the Expo Guide business directory scam using the online ‘Report a fraud’ tool.

I have to say, it was a complete waste of time.  By the second click, I got a ‘call the police now message’.  So I went back and avoided the answer that prompted that, in the hope of being able to report Expo Guide and the fact that I get people every day posting on this site about being ripped off.

Sorry to have to say this, Action Fraud, but it was a pointless exercise. You should try reporting Expo Guide, World Business Directory, European City Guide or any one of the numerous versions of this scam yourself using the ‘tool’.  Then you’ll see why those scammers are laughing their heads off, out there in sunny Cyprus (or wherever).

I guess that leaves the ’0300′ number.  I’ll let you know what I find out.

ADE651 Dowsing Bomb Detector – unbe-f****g-lievable

How can it be possible that Governments spend millions on the ADE651 – an empty plastic toy that doesn’t work?

I’ve just watched the Newsnight report exposing the ADE651 ‘bomb detector’ which has earned a British man £50m  in sales to the Iraqi Government. Experts took apart the device and revealed it as a ludicrous scam; an empty case with nothing in it that could possibly detect anything – let alone explosives.

It is unbelievable that this device has been sold in some 20 countries - making the ‘inventor’ something like £80 million.

Scams are everywhere and they seem to be on the increase.  But it almost beggars belief that the ADE651 could be developed, marketed, sold and exported without someone pointing out the bleedin’ obvious: that it’s nothing more than a toy gun that wouldn’t look out of place on a Scientology table in your local market.

Unbe-f****g-lievable.

Expo Guide and World Business Directory: Could Twitter kill off these nasty scams?

Could the wisdom of the business crowd decide the fate of Expo Guide and World Business Directory?

TwitterMonsterThe challenge

You’ve arrived here because of my Tweet about the Expo Guide and World Business Directory scams.  First of all, thanks for coming.  Second, I’d like to invite you to take part in an experiment.  Could Twitter kill these nasty scams stone dead?

Have a look at the evidence (below) and if you want to play a part in stopping these scammers, then please RT the Tweet that brought you here to people in your network and let’s see if we can help stop people getting ripped off.

The Scam

As some of you may already know the world of business is still being swept by a family of scams which deliberately set out to fool people into inadvertently signing expensive contracts they don’t want.  An early and well documented version of this is what’s known as the “Construct Data scam” originating from Austria.  The most recent variants of this scourge are European City Guide, Expo-Guide and World Business Directory.

How it works

  • You get a letter in the post (or email with pdf attachment) from the company.  It’s designed to make you think they’re offering you a free listing in their online directory.  It asks you to sign and stamp the form.  You do and send or email it back
  • Nothing happens for a while
  • A couple of months later you get a demand for something in the region of €3,000
  • Their demands direct you to the form where – for the first time – you notice to your horror the tiny, faint small-print saying “signing and stamping this form constitutes a contract for 3 years entry into our directory at c. €900 per year..”.
  • A couple of months later, you start getting various demands.  Eventually, you get formal letters from a debt collection agency.  Now you start to worry.  What if they take you to court?  What if your boss finds out?
  • You write back to the company saying it’s a rip-off and you don’t feel you should have to pay.  Eventually, they graciously agree to let you off with just one year’s fee out of three.  Maybe you pay up so you can put this whole traumatic episode behind you.

This scam has been running for years and shows no sign of stopping.  Why?  Because there will always be enough people out there who can be bullied or shamed into paying some – if not all – of this extortionate fee.

Governments seem to have little or no interest in stopping it.  Watchdogs aren’t particularly bothered.  It’s down to a few individuals like Jules Woodell to campaign against it – see http://stopecg.org/ and http://stopecg.blogspot.com/ for a thorough history of all the main mutations of this scam.  For my own posts on the subject (and to read more than 50 comments from victims) click here.  You’ll get some idea of the kind of worry and distress this scam causes.

This scam is real and current and it’s costing business people like you and me a lot of money, stress and worry.  This site gets 20+ new visitors every day searching for help on this issue – most of whom are new victims of the scam from all over the world.

Personal

For your information, I didn’t get stung personally by these scams (too long in the tooth!).  However, like millions of others, I regularly receive their scammy emails.  My motivation is to use the blog / Google platform to mess up their operation a bit and prevent others from being ripped off ;-)

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Conairn Product Inc wants YOUR domain name in China!!

Somebody email you from China about a version of your domain name about to be registered by Conairn Product Inc?

If you’ve arrived here after doing a search for Conairn Product Inc. it’s because (guess what) this post is the only mention on the entire, whole, complete worldwide intergalactic internet (including China) about Conairn Product Inc.  [ok, so now there's finally another one lols]

Wow. Are they behind the times! Only now buying a domain name?!

I better write back to ‘the department of registration service China’ quickly with all my personal and bank details in case there’s a couple of quid to be made!

[Warning: This post may contain traces of humour]