Gera Agency Scam

I don’t often “out” scams in the way I’m going to out this one but I think it’s important to do, and I’ve also seen them written about in other places so mine isn’t the first. But it’s not everywhere and I think people need to see this and hopefully learn, if nothing else, to trust their instincts.

Here’s the first email I received:

Hi,

We are looking for new advertisement platforms and we are interested in your sitewww.imjustsharing.com. Is it possible to place banner on your site on a fee basis?

Best regards,
Valentin Lopez

The response I sent told him what my advertising policy was on this site; I’d rather not put it out here, but knowing this is my most popular site, let alone blog, you can bet it’s not necessarily low. The responsoe I got after that was this one:

Hello,

Thanks for reply to our proposal!

I represent Gera Agency. At the moment we are preparing an advertising campaign for Lacoste Company (it is a French company producing clothes, footwear, perfumery etc.) We already have designed banners for the campaign, they are the following sizes: 160×600, 240×400, 300×250, 336×280, 468×60, 728×90. What can be your price for one banner (banner should appear at ALL pages of your site) of abovementioned sizes (please specify the place for the banner – top, bottom, left, right)? Please mention a normal link for banner, without javascript code and set prices in US dollars per month.

Best regards,
Valentin Lopez.
site:www.geraagency.com
e-mail:vlopez@geraagency.com
phone: + (0)9 78 62 85 38

Now, I started having the Spidey senses once I received this, though I wasn’t sure why. In my response about advertising here, I indicated the type of banner advertising I’d allow on this site. What’s above seemed to ignore what I’d already written. Also, see what the products are? I wondered why this blog would be considered for advertising those types of products, although my feeling was if someone wanted to pay the kind of money I was asking for and it wasn’t something abhorrent why not accept it. I was also thrown off with the comment about javascript code; I have advertising already on one of my other sites and this was a first for me. I had no idea what this guy could be talking about.

My response, with prices omitted, was thus:

Greetings,

The only two banner sizes I’d allow on the site would be the 240×400 and the 300×250; all the others would throw off the look drastically. I’d charge $XXX a month for that or a flat fee of $XXX for the year. It would be a normal link as I don’t even know how to create javascript.

Just to add this, I have another site that might interest you, and the advertising rates are lower. Take a look at this site: http://www.servicesandstuff.com. There are multiple pages on this site and some of them might suit your clients product. Even though the advertising rates are lower, the rate for advertising is per page. However, this site would allow for the banner ad sizes 468×60 and 728×90 in addition to the other two I allow on I’m Just Sharing. The large skyscraper ad wouldn’t work on that site, and the 336×80 banner ad would have to be altered to fit, so that probably wouldn’t look good either.

This was his reply to that:

We like your price.
To pass to the banner control system follow the link http://webmaster.geraagency.com
To enter use the following data:

login: www.imjustsharing.com
password: XXXXXX (changed this)

You should install and activate the plugin in order to display advertisement. Before making payment, advertiser must approve location of the banner. The banner will be shown on your site when you add special code to your web- address (for example: http://www.imjustsharing.com/?adv_test=1). It means, that visitors will see the banner only if it is approved and payment made.

To get installation instruction for your site type pass to: http://docs.geraagency.com/wp_install
To activate your site you have to enter the code: XXX-XXX-XXX (changed this)

What way of payment is suitable for you?

Best regards,
Valentin Lopez.
site: www.geraagency.com
e-mail: vlopez@geraagency.com
phone: + (0)9 78 62 85 38

Whoa! Now the Spidey senses were kicking me in the behind! I’d really never heard of anything like this, and it didn’t make sense. Notice the part I highlighted in his response; create a redirect of a banner from my site? Was he serious? Plugin? I don’t think so.

It was at this point I finally decided some research was in order; I probably should have started with this. I looked up the site and it’s totally in French. Then I looked up Lacoste Company; even if I’ve never heard of them this is a pretty big site, and a major designer. Why would they want to advertise on my blog since I’ve never talked about fashion (doesn’t mean I won’t lol)?

Then it was time to research Gera Agency, and that’s where the red flags were confirmed. There was this link from a company in Malaysia that asked the same questions I was asking. There was this link from a site called Moonpixel where the guy posted the same exact letter as mine, only it looks like he actually tried to load whatever the site was offering. Finally there was this post on another blog called vinitneo with the same exact letter posted again. There are lots of others, but you get the point by now.

Folks, if anyone ever wants to advertise on your blog and they’re legitimate they’ll do one of two things. One, they’ll send you a banner file with the link they’d like you to use, or two, they’ll just send you the link and have you put it somewhere most probably in a specific blog post. Unless it’s an affiliate company, never, and I mean NEVER, download code from any site and allow it to add a redirect. You will regret it and might not get your site back.

Spidey senses to the rescue again! 🙂
 

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Determining A Scam Through Math

A few days ago I was sent a link by someone I know. It was to have an opportunity to listen to a webinar that was broadcast in November if I happened to sign up on a particular website by 11AM today. It proposed teaching us how to make 6-figures within 90 days doing online marketing.


by Jean-Etienne Poirrier

Yeah, the scam meter was up, but it was free so I figured what the hey. I might pick up a thing or two that I hadn’t yet tried before, right? So, around 4 minutes before 11 I went to the site, put in my first name and email address (throwaway email address), and waited for the link to the webinar, which came about 5 minutes later.

I’m not going to say who these guys are; frankly, they don’t deserve the publicity either way. What I’ll say is that 15 minutes into the presentation I knew they were setting people up for what I’m calling a major scam. Why do I say that? Because 10 minutes in they showed an example of one of the old default WordPress blog themes where this guy had supposedly written only one post; it was something about gout. In that one post he had one link. He’s never written another post, ever. He only had the one link, and it went to a book on how to cure gout, which he supposedly bought to cure his gout. And they said this guy was making $30,000 a month from just that one post and one link for over a year.

Minutes later they showed another thing, this time a one page website. Supposedly the woman that wrote it had only written one article, telling a story about her puppy and how he was very misbehaving. She had all sorts of problems getting it to do right. Then she bought a book, which she linked to in the article a couple of times, and all her problems were over. The guy on the webinar said she was raking in $70,000 a month just from that one webpage.

Now think about this for a minute. How much money do most books make? Okay, my book is on leadership, but I might have made close to $1,000 on it over 7 years. Either of these books making this kind of money would put them way high on the New York Times best sellers list. That’s because one would have to assume that if one person was making that kind of money off a book they didn’t write that the person who wrote the book would have to be making at least half that amount, and other people would have to be making major sales off it as well.

The first guy would be making $360,000 a year off one book from one blog post; the woman would be making $840,000 a year off one book off one webpage. I’m betting Stephen King isn’t making that kind of money off book sales online every month; who’s buying this?

I’ve heard promises like this often enough. One of the worst things about being online is that people will sell you a bill of goods that should sound too good to be true? Think about the top affiliate marketer you’ve ever heard of. Some of them have had million dollar product launches; no problem with that. But how many of them sustain that level of sales longer than a few months off one product? It just doesn’t happen. And if it’s not happening for them, then it’s not going to happen for every Tom, Dick and Harry that writes only one blog post ever, pops in a link and does nothing else, not even any attempt to promote it. The numbers just don’t hold up.

That’s why people get weary of what they see and hear online. That’s why many of us defer and want true confirmation of what we see and hear before we’ll buy. This is why it’s hard to trust people.

Unfortunately, I know many people will fall for this scam, which is actually an attempt to get you to spend bigger money to receive coaching from them. Can you make money online? Sure. Is what they’ve shown possible? Maybe one in 500 million times, if that. Don’t fall for this type of thing; always remember that if it sounds too good to be true… well, you know the rest.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell

Anatomy Of A Scam

This post is actually shorter than it looks. What I’m about to share with you is an email that basically only had 3 brief conversations, but the last bit contains the scam of it all. I wasn’t initially sure until I saw the very last line of the email. Oh yeah, I’m going to post the guy’s email address as well, since I believe it’s fake. By the way, this was a response to a Craigslist posting I have out there locally indicating that I do minor computer repair:

desguy909@yahoo.com

I got 5 Acer Atom laptops that i want to repair, Its just a software problem, I need you to reformat everything for me. I got all the necessary softwares (original) with license keys. How much will this cost me and what time duration? I got external drives for them all. The programs that you need to install on them for me are OS, anti-virus and Micro-Soft Office.

Please write back.

Thanks

Greetings,

I’ll do all 5 computers for you for $225. I can’t tell you how long it’ll take because I don’t know the specs of the computers; size of hard drive, processor speed, even operating system I’ll be wiping and adding back. That’s why I’m going to give you a flat fee instead of charging by time. If this is acceptable, let me know where we can meet after the holiday, since I’m presently out of town.

Thanks for the reply. I am okay with the price i have all the necessary software needed for the service installations…. I will instruct my secretary to prepare a check for you on your name and have it mailed to your address. Send me your full name, address and your phone number so to prepare the check. I have a reliable shipper that will bring the laptops and pick them up when you are done with them. I am looking forward to hear from you, so we can have payment and shipping asap. There is something you need to do for me when you get the check, you will get it cashed and get the shipping fee in the check because it will be included to the shipper in malaysia since the laptops are coming from there. Okay?

NB: Laptops will brought to you when you cash the check and have the balance on the check sent to my shipper and also when you are done fixing them, they will picked up from you

That’s it; that’s the entire email. I never responded. I thought about contacting the local authorities or the post office, then figured what was the point. Instead, I share it with y’all to help highlight the fact that there are scammers everywhere, putting out stuff like this that seems legit, yet when evaluated you just know something’s wrong with it.

If it even has a hint of phony, don’t do it!
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2010 Mitch Mitchell

Do You Avoid Scams?

I was talking to a friend of mine last night in Australia and he was telling me how he once fell for an online scam where he thought he was getting a list of companies that would pay him to do surveys for them. Of course he got nothing of the sort. He was out $40, and had no recourse in getting his money back because the people went through some hidden source in setting up their shopping cart.

trust me, i'm a lawyer, scott richard
Creative Commons License torbakhopper via Compfight

I told him that often in my adult life I’ve been tempted to do something that just didn’t quite sound right, and in every instance except one I didn’t follow through.

The first time I did follow through was right out of college, where a friend and I paid some guy $20 to become wholesale marketers, and realized within hours that it wasn’t the job for us. For our troubles, we got to each keep one thing the company was selling, with my “gift” being a backgammon set that I still love to this day, so I feel as though I got my money’s worth out of it.

Also back in the day, I was trying to be a big time songwriter. I’d spend hours writing songs, some I thought were pretty good, some I knew were just for me. I did research at the library for publishers I could send some of my music to, and I did; lots of rejections. I even entered song contests, and had one of my songs finish in the top 600 out of 35,000 songs; I felt pretty good about that.

I also got contacted by a lot of people who said they wanted to record a song of mine and put it on a record to market to publishers and radio stations, which sounded pretty good. However, they all wanted me to pay for it and for someone else to record my music; that didn’t sound right. The books I was using for research said if someone asks you to pay for something instead of them offering you money, it was probably a scam. The pull was strong, I have to admit, but in the end I didn’t go that route; whew!

Most of us are inundated with the latest and greatest thing daily, and some of it sounds quite intriguing. A few weeks ago a friend of mine kind of ambushed me into a phone conversation with this other guy to start marketing online travel services, and it was “only” going to cost me $500 to join in. I was disappointed because I didn’t see it coming. Then he asked me if I’d watch a couple of videos and if he could call me back. The Spidey senses kicked in, I said no, and never talked to my “friend” again.

I don’t go for glitzy presentations, video or written. If I get through the first 3 paragraphs of something, or into the second minute, and haven’t been told what the product or pitch is, I leave.

There are lots of people marketing MLM products and services. Most of them aren’t making any money from it. They purchase the stuff, try to push it as hard as they can, usually to their family and friends first, then they get beaten down by the resistance and bail out. It’s not that the products or the services are always scams, but the prospects they dole out to you as far as telling you how much money you can make marketing it is unrealistic.

Internet marketing isn’t easy; I’ll tell you that up front. Heck, regular marketing isn’t easy. Even if you’re an exclusive, where no one else does exactly what you do, there’s a world of competition out there doing something similar enough to make it hard for you to break through. Any time someone else comes along and says you’re going to make a world of easy money if you just do this, or pay for that,… take a second minute to think it over with your non-greedy mind.

This doesn’t mean I’m not still going to pitch a product or two at you; I am marketing on the internet after all. What it means is that I’m not going to try to sell you a quick money making thing or something I don’t believe in… well, hopefully I won’t! 🙂
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell