Internet Fraud:

Internet ScamBusters Subscribers Share Even More of Their Favorite Stories About Internet Fraud

We want everyone to be aware of all the scams we’ve found on the Internet so check out these previous Web site scam winners. They might still be around!

Internet Fraud 3

“I responded to an advertisement from http://www.w*********.com about an e-mail marketing system. I purchased the system and found several of the components to be false.

“Below is a partial listing of the advertisement, and my comments on why they are false….”


Build your own lists in real time, virtually eliminating undeliverables! You can even mail to prospects while they're actually online. It simply doesn't get any more immediate than that!

“I have responded to Patrick C…. (yes I was upset) and received back comments like this:

From: Patrick C. <****>
Subject: Go for it.

You want war, my friend? You have no *idea* of the damage I can do to you--just for fun, because you're a sorry little pain in the ass.

Keep it up to find out.

“This is in reference to America On Line (AOL). I have contacted AOL and the information that [they] gave for doing this violates the Terms Of Service Agreement with AOL and members performing such tasks risk losing their AOL account. Also there was no mention in the advertisement that this was AOL…. and when I asked questions verbally on the phone… again no mention of AOL.

“AOL blocks mail from most major bulk e-mail accounts. So this information was useless…. I already knew about this. I am contacting AOL concerning this matter also.

“Also in the Advertisement … it was mentioned that he would provide referral to the best virtual bulk e-mail “servers”….

“I expected a list of virtual servers… I got one (1). False advertising!!!

“It was also stated that he would even provide the contact information for an Internet Service Provider that is bulk e-mail friendly.”

Information received:

Here is an ISP to use to access your IMPC virtual bulk e-mail server account, through a POP connection.

1stFamily Bulk-Friendly ISP

“The ISP he mentioned was 1st Family. They ARE NOT a bulk e-mail friendly service provider. Again another false claim.”

Dean A.

“Go to Infoseek. Request: Art/ art museums

“What pops up? A UK web spam artist with about 75 + URL’s listed. Go to the site. No art. A web maze. No way to see art. He posts some addresses of museums. The rest is a pitch to buy art.

“A waste of time and web space.”

Charles O.

“Recently, I ran across a website promising to give me the names of banks who would provide me an unsecured credit card if I provided them some basic information. If they found the banks who would accept me, only then would they charge me the $29 search fee. They promised I’d hear from them in 14 days. Haven’t heard a word yet in the snailmail or email and it’s been well over a month and a half. They also ask for your social security # and date of birth (which I so stupidly gave to them). Then their homepage suggests I can market their services to others and make money as well (an MLM sort of approach). Once someone pays the fee, they send you your portion (if they’re in your downline).

“Once you join the MLM, you have to pay about $25 per month to keep your ‘distributorship’ active. Needless to say, I DID NOT send them any money! This is a definite scam and I would very much appreciate if you could pass it on via your site to warn others.

“I hope I have helped somebody!”

Mark K., Los Angeles, CA

“******** Multimedia Products has a website which allows you to locate key cheat codes for the “gameshark” for Playstation, SEGA Saturn or Nintento-64 game system. The only catch is that they charge you $17.00 for a Dangerous Waters World Wide Membership, where you receive an individual password that allows you access to the Game Shark Web Site. (Password = Pickled Herring.

“SCAM!!!!! The website is available free of charge to anyone (http://www.*********.com) with no password entry necessary. Well for my $17.00, I received, that’s right, you got it! ABOSOLUTELY NOTHING!

“Upon calling [them] at (***) 785-5661 I was told that I would receive a refund to my MASTERCARD/VISA card and surprise, I never received the refund!

“So, folks this is my contribution to your SCAM list!”

Bill B.

“I would like to tell you about the *** scam. Probably the biggest Internet scam ever, involving thousands of people being scammed, hundreds of thousands of dollars and big companies (though involuntarily – they’ve advertised on [it] like Microsoft, Ziff Davis and Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

“The *** is a so called Internet banner ad network, letting many small Web sites earn some money by displaying ad banners on their sites.

“In January and February, the company said it had been very successful in selling banners on the network. The percentage of paid banners (they pay $0.0075 per paid banner to sites participating in the network) were about 80% in January and at least 60% in February. These numbers were confirmed by the company many times, as many affiliates asked if they really were correct (not many banners were paid in 1996).

“In January and February, I displayed about 260,000 ad banners on my Web site, meaning they owe me about $1320 (100,000 January banners x 80%=80,000 paid banners for January, 80,000 x $0.0075=$600, 160,000 February banners x 60%=96,000 paid banners for February, 96,000 x $0.0075=$720, $600+$720=$1320). Now, however, they are only willing to pay me $50 (about 5% of the banners in January and 1% in February). Why? They claim there was an error in their database which made them overestimate the number of paid banners in January and February (remember, they confirmed the numbers as correct many times in January and February).

“Am I the only one they’re trying to cheat? No. Take a look in various discussion groups, such as le.test at news:// and you will see they owe lots of webmasters money. Also see [their] own “open letters to affiliates” at their home page.

“In one of their open letters they claim they generate more than 2 million banners per day. With 80% of the banners paid in Janauary, it means they owe $372000 (2000000 x 31=62000000, 2000000 x 80% = 49600000, 49600000 x $0.0075=$372000) for that month. For February it’s $252000 (2000000 x 28=56000000, 56000000 x 60%=33600000, 33600000 x $0.0075=$252000). This means [they’re] trying to cheat 8000+ affiliates (the 8000+ number is from their 7 March open letter) for about $624000. As the company will not send checks for less than $50, this means most affiliates will not get paid at all.”

Lars M., San Diego, CA

“Watch out for these guys! I was offered a deal for only $15,000 to develop a web site. What you really need is a late model computer about $1500-2000 brand new. A copy of some good site management software 150-300 dollars, a scanner $300 to $900 at Office Depot and a good 2 or three day seminar on your software package and you are good to go. Anyone who is reasonably computer literate should be able to make this work at a fair price.

“Find a competent ISP who is willing to do the customer service for hosting your site. I prefer the local guy who I can personally visit with to solve any FTP issues and hosting issues that may come up. Registering your site can be done online with Internic and is $100 for new sites and having your own url.

“Starting from scratch with all new gear and software and some training budget about 2000 to 3000 dollars and you can do it all yourself. Of course the individual may be able to save some by being creative and doing their homework in what is really available.”

“Hope this helps.”

Sam P.

“Last night I was surfing and came across *free* sex sight (www.**** This page advertised *FREE*, *NO CREDIT CARDS*, *NO 900 NUMBERS*. All you have to do is download a special viewer which takes only 10 seconds and then configure it for my browser.
“After configuring the browser, I noticed that a new dial-up connection was being made. It never dawned on me what was happening. I stayed on their site for 10-15 minutes and then began browsing again ( this time in a completely different subject matter). About an hour later, up pops this dial-up connection saying that I was disconnected and do I want to disconnect. I selected yes.
“Early this morning, I again tried the same site and reconnected for another 15 minutes or so and then again began to surf other sites. A little while later this same disconnect message came up and again I selected yes.
“Tonight I received a phone call from AT&T Security. I had been connected to a long distance phone call in Moldavia, somewhere in Russia for a total of 123 minutes!!! (sorry for the exclamations). The phone# being dialed was 373-955-1100.
“STUPID, DUMB, IGNORANT MORON. I can’t believe I didn’t realize what was happening as soon as the new connection was made. Luckily I have a friend of mine who has worked for NYNEX for nearly 30 years and she told me how to contest the charges and she guaranteed me that I WILL get out of paying charges.
“LESSON LEARNED: Never respond to anything that says *FREE* unless it can first be confirmed as legitimate AND stay away from these smut sites!
“Thanks for your service to all us Dummies   :)”

Jack G., New York

” ******* has taken upon itself a campaign of “spamdexing” all of its competitors; chiefly PointCast, iFusion, and Marimba.
“It works like this. If you type iFusion during an AltaVista search, you will receive what appears to be an iFusion link. In fact, it is a link to ******* . When you click on the AltaVista link, you see a brief second of a black page, then get forwarded on to the ****** site. If you are quick enough to capture the source code for the black page, it is loaded with the word iFusion over and over; for the purpose of generating hits for ****** by taking them from their competitors.”

Tim S., San Francisco, CA

” Read contest rules carefully! There is an on-going contest on the web stating that you can win $1 million and a T-shirt. When you read the rules, you are entered to win the $1 million, BUT the prize is payable at $2 every 500 years for 250,000,000 years and if the winner should die before full payment, the remainder of the prize money is forfeited. I’m not completely sure of the law or technicality of this, but if you are awarded $1 million, are you not liable for the taxes due on winnings of $1 million? READ THE RULES!”

Linda N., Pennsylvania

“Well, *** stated they would pay everyone 1/2 cent for every banner they showed on their webpages. Lots of people signed up, because [another company] was messing us around. Well turns out after two months of banners being shown on lots of pages (they owe me close to $1000, one guy $5000, & others $100-$500+) they made up a “new” rule….if your click through rate wasn’t high enough they didn’t pay you….that was never in the contract & no one ever found out about it till everyone started asking where the checks were. So with no notice & no way to know about the “new” rules everyone lost lots of money. It must be great to be a company & have the “power” to change the rules & not have to pay for services you used.”

Tyranny, Florida

“************ Network.
They started by promising $.0075 per impression for placing a banner ad on your web page. Then, without warning, they changed it so that no matter how many pages you show their banner on, you can only get credit for one impression per visitor (even if a different advertiser is shown on each page, for which they would get paid separately for).
Now, in the middle of the monthly cycle, they changed it so that at their discretion they can show ‘barter’ ads instead of paying ads. These essentially pay nothing, so you’re advertising for them for free. No exchange ads or anything. They claim that you might get 1/10th of one cent per impression, but that’s yet to be seen.
To top it off, you can’t remove their ad from your page before the end of the month, or else you forfeit any revenue you were entitled to during that month. So I can’t replace their ad with a paying one without losing what I already earned under their slightly more reasonable arrangement.”

Stan S., Kansas

“Wow! Lucky me! I “won” on the very next day after I entered! What a deal!!”
Congratulations! You have have been chosen as a second place winner for the use of The XXXX XXXX Registration Service. This service allows you to submit your Home Page to over 400 Internet indexes and directories world wide. As a second place winner you are entitled to a $400.00 discount, which allows you to use the service for ONLY $100.00. This one time offer is valid only through 08-31-96.
You may perform your registration by visiting The XXXX XXXX at and selecting the “ORDER” button. Simply go through the normal ordering process using the User Name and Password given below.
Although it is not required, we ask that you tell your friends about our service, and that you place our “Registered By” logo someplace on your Home Page. The “Registered By” logo and the instructions on how to add it to your page are available at…

Tracy V.

For Urban Legends, click here.
Here are more examples of Real Scams.