Posts tagged ‘stephsblog’

Josh AKA Scott, Kevin, David, and Others — Investigation Summary

April 11th, 2009

Since we first reported on “Josh” aka Scott, David, Kevin…  even Joan, we have continued to receive inquiries about our “investigation.” We reported on these scam sites over a period of several posts. To help those of you looking for information, we decided to post this summary, of everything we know so far.

We initially learned about these sites right after April Fool’s Day, when we noticed a URL, joshmadecash.com, getting an enormous amount of traffic, right up there with the major news of the day. Then we noticed the site was alternating its URL, with multiple domains, i.e., scottsmoneyblog, scottslifeblog, kevinmakesgreen, etc, etc. We saw that it had been ranked the #5 most-visited site by Alexa.  At first we saw it “melt” — falling down the charts. But then it came back, again and again, sometimes as Josh, sometimes as Scott or David or others. Each one was pitching  the idea that you could make $5,000/month from Google links, some sort of Adsense nonsense, we figured. We started noticing some sloppy things on each site: Each of the “guys” had a picture of the same Google “check” on their site, dated October 25 for $5,000. Some of them had the same black Range Rover parked in the same driveway. Scam alert indeed.

A reader notified us of some other research that had been done on this scam. Wallet Pop noted that the routing number on the check pictured was fake. They also reported the sites were using MaxMind software that scopes out where you are located and then sends you a version of “Josh” where he lives near you, to create a neighborly feel. While we just found Josh and a few others, there has reportedly been many, many more.

Each site offers what they’re selling for a small shipping fee, average $1-2. This is apparently simply their way to get your contact and credit information. Waffles at Noon noted that customers who had been signing up on sites like this were finding $100 charges added to their card shortly afterwards (after they had “neglected” to click on a “cancel option” supposedly somewhere these sites). See our post about this research here.

Earlier this week, while we were right in the middle of investigating all of this, our site crashed in a manner that suggested a hacker. We assume, without proof yet, that there may be a connection.

Anyway, clearly we think you should stay away from these guys — or guy — whoever they are. As we said in our introduction to Rich Dog Millionaire, the internet is like the wild, wild west — there is the good, the bad, and the ugly. Our mission statement is to try and report on all of it — looking for the best ways to make money off the internet, and reporting as much as possible on the ugly stuff out there — what doesn’t work. We’re certainly not goody two-shoes. We admit we find some of the “black hat” stuff interesting. Anyway, hope this information helps. If you’d like to read the entire string of posts on the “Josh” subject, you can go here.

UPDATE: Thanks to reader Adwiz: He has let us know these “Joshers” have added stephsblog… Also they been doing Yahoo mail ads, which actually one of our friends saw.

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