A Hard Lesson In Scams.
Last Update: Jan 18, 2016
Within the past week, I learned the hard way how fast and semi-efficient some scams are. Usually, when I get emails or read FB posts/Twitter/etc., I will read over for layout or landing page setup...thinkgs of this nature. Rarely do I ever 'sign up' for most of the things I see. Most of what I come across is easily spotted spam/scam.
While going through posts in Facebook, I noticed something from one of the people here; reference was made to a 'place' and sounded intriguing. This was entirely my fault, because I falsely took an inferred recommendation by a fellow WA member to mean it was 'okay' and an offer worth looking into. WRONG...WRONG....WRONG.
It was for a site that paid you for posting a promotional link and you made commission for successful signups. This in itself is legitimate, there are multitudes of these type of affiliate offers out there. Even though the payout seemed a little higher than usual, I signed up (it's free, so I figured nothing to lose and after all 'so n so' is also a member of this place and also from WA...) and immediately began posting links with pictures and wording in various FB groups and other social media platforms.
The next morning I checked out of curiosity and was delighted to see I had begun to make 'earnings' for my efforts! Inspired, I vigorously 'stepped up' my game plan and spent hours on my project....3 days later I had amassed enough for a 'payout'.
In order to get the payout, you had to fill out a 'survey'; no big deal, I had done this sort of request before. It is sometimes used to create income for the site so that they made a profit and cover affiliate payments. I completed the required survey and.....that little 'wait' bar did not stop....it said you had to complete another survey if this happened. Still, sometimes there are glitches and the surveys were from reputable places I was aware of. I completed this process again.....with the same little bar spinning away.
I sent an email to them inquiring what was going on and a few moments later received a reply thanking me for contacting them and that I would receive a reply to my request within 3-5 days. HA! My gut said.....oh oh.
I waited almost 48 hours and still no reply came; I used a second email address in case somehow Gmail or Yahoo Mail had 'issues' as is sometimes the case.
I again logged into the account, by now it was later evening (maybe 10 pm); it appeared that my earnings had increased. I didn't do anything and ate a 'snack' before resuming my online activities.
SURPRISE! When I made attempt to reach the website I got a 404 error saying the site could not be found.....THAT DID IT! I went into my emails and clicked on the link given...instead of the error message was something entirely different....a link that said click here to go to the website. Well, I thought maybe they were updating the site or something (by now it was a little after midnight). SURPRISE AGAIN! The same layout, colors, etc. were all the same, only now it had a different name on the page (even though the address bar showed the old one). I immediately reported the site, made some legal-type report and began researching the site.
It was not a WordPress site; in fact it was a generic 'do it yourself' freeware type site and of course it did not recognize my user name or password. Talk about being pissed off! The problem was, who was I more pissed off at....this tactless/tasteless crap or myself? Why did I put such weight on that post by someone from WA? It had nothing to do with WA; it was not anything written here....I should have treated it like I do all others.
Now the problem has increased.....this 'site/sites' is using some type of software that screwed up my Google analytics....all those 'clicks'? They were generating backlinks on a few of my websites.....I know that many hackers can wreak much havoc with little than an email address to go by, but I was at a loss as to how they got around site protection.
In any event, I went through Google Webmaster Administrative and blocked this referral campaign. It is my punishment for being so stupid.
One thing I would like to know, however.....can I remove them from the history as well? Although I know they are blocked from this day forward, can I remove their previous 'clicks' as well? It looked atrocious in my stats.
I am grateful to have caught this as quickly as possible.
Moral: Just because you see an advertisement or remark from a fellow WA member seeming to validify something, this does NOT automatically mean it is legitimate. Never skip researching before you 'click' that button.
Ouch Rosie, but it is good that you did catch it quickly. I got scammed by accepting a friend request on FB once and that was unreal. The minute I hit accept, all heck broke loose. I thought I was too savvy to be tricked like i was, but it seemed I was not.
Hi Rosie, Sorry to hear about your ordeal. It is sais that we must watch everything we do. I have not had time to look into anything like this so I have been lucky.
I appreciate you sharing so that we all are reminded just how careful we have to be.
Sorry to hear that. Since I rejoined WA, I no longer entertain any offer outside WA even for Free! And if it is inside WA, it must be recommended by a reliable source.
Very sound advice.....I now see why you don't......lol...at least no money was spent...........only lost commissions that never existed to begin with....lol
Yes, I know how that is. I get desparate for money sometimes and start looking at those scam emails. I recently did that and was stupid and/or desparate enough to actually give them some money which is SOOOO STUPID!!!!! I know it's going to be fake but I do it any way and then I'll finally grow a brain and start canceling and trying to get money back...I thought I was cured of that ...I just need to earn money very soon. Rosie it didn't sound like you actually gave them any money is that right? They still caused you harm but you didn't have to pay? That's a really unusual one if it doesn't ask for money.
You're right, it didn't cost me any money....just the headache they created in my backlinks...but am working to clear those up.....don't feel stupid....we ALL have bought or signed into at least one 'shiny object'.....oh well, I learned and now trying to put it to good use.
Hi Rosie, sorry you got scammed, but never take anything at face value on the net, there are more scams than genuine opportunities out there, and to anyone completely new to the internet it can be like walking through a minefield, so I thought this reply may help them if they come across it.
Always do your research and due diligence before signing up for anything, even if it looks genuine. I spent a whole day researching WA before I signed up. Have a look at sites like scam busters and see what they have to say, see if any complaints have been made to the BBB about a business opportunity, Do a search on Google and see what other people have to say, or have been been scammed by it.
If you have been scammed, or exposed a scam, let other people know about it by naming the website or company. There are various ways you can do this, here at WA for instance.
It was a comment on FB by a WA member....I won't be this trusting again...even my own posts...lol
wow.... Great lesson for us all. Thanks for sharing.
I had to share this.....what if someone else is 'tempted' to do the same....I would feel partly responsible and that also in not good networking. This is why I love WA so much...we openly share our mistakes as well as our successes with each other....we are all on this same path together.
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Yeah Rosie, I have the same experience before too. Not all WA members mean well but at the same time, even if they mean well, they don't necessarily know any better or not knowingly being scammed themselves as well.
I'm thinking they found out about this place, too. It wasn't a bad move on theirs...I jumped without looking.