Thursday, April 14, 2011

GIFT50.COM Spammer/Telemarketer

(This blogpost has been extensively rewritten to include new information about this spammer and how to report them to the appropriate agencies)


*******UPDATE FOR 11 SEPTEMBER 2011*******

The website GIFT50.COM is now dead.


*******IMPORTANT UPDATE*******


It has recently been discovered that the registered owner of gift50.com, Nick Brown, is the official contact for a company called Best World Media (bestworldmedia.com).

This corporation is a lead generation company. They harvest customer information and sell it to their clients.

If you want to fight back against this textspammer, you may report them to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the  New York Better Business Bureau.

If you want to contact Nick Brown directly, here is the contact information given on the website:

BestWorldMedia.com
244 Fifth avenue
Suite 292
New York, NY 10010

PHONE: (646) 338-8558




*******IMPORTANT UPDATE*******

If you receive a text message that tells you to claim your "free Walmart gift card" at GIFT50.com and you actually try going to that site, you will be redirected to this address
http://track.brandnewprizes.com/SplashPage.aspx?g=827b5f1edb144c97a95fa974fb054569&nm=014havx2mqx0&s=gift50&se=04 (this link is now dead and only a line of text is displayed saying "You have requested a non-existent page.")
Here is one version of the spam texts being received
Congratulations! You've been choosen to recieve a $1,000 Wal-Mart Gift Card! Use appoval code: Giveme visit:GIFT50.COM
I really don't know if you really get a gift card or you just have your name added to a list to be sold to other marketing companies, so I can't be any kind of judge on the veracity of the spammers' claims. I sent an email to Walmart to see if this activity is something they have sanctioned. This is the response I received from Walmart's Corporate Offices:
Thank you for your message.
Dear Duane,
Thank you for your recent inquiry regarding a potential telemarketing scam.  Walmart does not call or solicit customers to offer shopping cards, shopping sprees, or membership discounts in return for bank account, credit card, or personal information; nor would we solicit the customers with these incentives for them to take surveys.  Also, Walmart currently does not employ mystery shoppers and any company that claims to be affiliated with Walmart for this type of program may be part of a telemarketing scam.  Some telemarketers and internet ad companies use the Walmart name to engage the interest of the customer.
You may report the solicitation to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.ftc.gov or at 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357).  The FTC maintains a telemarketing complaint database called the "Consumer Sentinel" which is available to hundreds of law enforcement agencies in the U.S.  The more concerns the FTC receives and logs, the more likely it is that some law enforcement agencies will get involved.
Customers should also report the solicitation to the Consumer Fraud Division of the Attorney General's office in their state or to the Better Business Bureau.  The contact information for these organizations is located in the front of your local phone book.
Sincerely,
Walmart Customer Care
GIFT50.COM (dead) is was (LOL!) owned by the same person who owns owned MONEY500.COM (ownership apparently transferred), MONEY600.COM (dead), LAPTOP55.COM (dead) and over 100 other domains.

Registration Service Provided By: Namecheap.com
Contact: support@namecheap.com
Visit: http://namecheap.com
   
Domain name: gift50.com
Registrant Contact:

   Nick Brown ()

   Fax:
   244 5th avenue
   ste 282j
   new york, NY 10001
   US
Administrative Contact:

   Nick Brown ()
   +1.6463388558
   Fax: +1.5555555555
   244 5th avenue
   ste 282j
   new york, NY 10001
   US
Technical Contact:

   Nick Brown ()
   +1.6463388558  
(appears to be a cellphone, registered to T-Mobile)
   Fax: +1.5555555555
   244 5th avenue
   ste 282j
   new york, NY 10001
   US
Status: Locked
Name Servers:
   dns1.name-services.com
   dns2.name-services.com
   dns3.name-services.com
   dns4.name-services.com
   dns5.name-services.com
  
Creation date: 02 Feb 2011 22:33:00
Expiration date: 02 Feb 2012 17:33:00
Current status of domains known to have been registered to this person
AidTest.info (unsubscribe page displays)
bestworldmedia.com (active)
Gift90.com (active)
giftcard2.com (active)
Money600.com (dead)
outsidecathin.info (unsubscribe page displays)
ViewMyNewsCore.com (dead)
AidPeril.info (unsubscribe page displays)
ScatHin.info (unsubscribe page displays)
BareAid.info (unsubscribe page displays)
EastAid.info (unsubscribe page displays)
AquiVed.info (unsubscribe page displays)
MONEY500.COM (active)
LAPTOP55.COM (dead)

If you want to file complaints against this guy, send your email to support@namecheap.com. Tell them that you received the message via text message on your cellphone and include the complete text message that you received. If you received more than one text message, tell them that too and also mention if you have to pay for any texts you receive on your cellphone plan.

The (646) 338-8558 phone number given has been called by some one who read this blogpost (see comments section) and the people answering claimed to have no knowledge of GIFT50.COM, so I advise against calling them, as an innocent party may be involved. The owner of the website may have either entered a false number in their registration or has since changed their number to avoid complaints from people angry over being textspammed.

I found this link and this one mentioning that GIFT50.COM was slated for deletion on October 29, 2009 so, this website was purchased or renewed by the current owner in the past two years.

Phone numbers associated with GIFT50.COM
202-403-1171
203-736-7859
205-835-7576
207-299-3922
207-629-7627
210-324-9517
213-210-4098
213-447-9721
216-776-8628
218-535-5039
240-237-0891
251-253-2246
269-282-2617
281-954-1565
310-736-0903
319-671-2457
323-203-6170
325-513-9367
334-333-9575
337-784-1012
401-440-3856
404-429-6733
404-431-3279
404-452-0259
404-791-6913
407-486-6455
409-273-2891
419-378-4595
469-563-4512
480-274-3055
501-266-4125
503-836-2154
505-307-8276
507-841-8659
509-494-4402
513-435-4781
518-536-4148
520-238-2876
615-649-2642
615-681-6505
619-587-4426
641-232-0019
646-248-2717
701-403-2104
702-292-9294
703-314-4402
704-961-8439
803-217-0351
806-471-1293
813-720-5028
832-331-1612
860-634-1798
860-771-0749
860-830-4781
913-426-3107
917-261-0006

Several toll-free numbers appear to be linked to these textspammers:
866-571-8731
866-898-6147
877-774-5339
888-408-1754

Since the above search result indicates a possible link between these toll-free numbers and the text spammer, it is a temptation to call these numbers from a convenient payphone (to avoid the people answering from getting your home number and adding it to their database) to make a complaint about being spammed on your cellphone. If enough people were to call, it would cost them some money and they might stop, depending on if their scam was making them more money than it was costing. If I was a mean person, I'd be sorely tempted to call each of these numbers from a payphone, several times a day to complain. If I was a particularly nasty person, I'd call them several times an hour, every hour of my waking day, everyday of the week, for a whole month to get my point across.

But, that would be exceptionally cruel of me to do and would probably cost them a lot of money.
Free evil-smiley-face.jpg phone wallpaper by aron910

To continue...

The link I gave in the first paragraph is from BRANDNEWPRIZES.COM and is registered to:
I Marketing Survey Stop
Robert Celsi
100 Congress Avenue
Suite  2000
Austin, Texas,78701
Telephone: 866-852-1603
Email IMarketingSurveyStop@yahoo.ca
Domains known to be registered to this person
Freenewprizes.com
Wincoolgifts.com
Freenewgifts.com
Socialsurveygiveaways.com
WinCoolRewards.com
GIFTDELIVERYNOTICE.COM
DAILYDEALDELIGHTS.COM
Socialsurveygiveaways.com
WinCoolRewards.com
WinfreeNewPrizes.com

If you want to complain about this website to their domain service,
Registration Service Provided By: DYNAMIC DOLPHIN, INC, Contact: +1.7208723477
From I Marketing Survey Stop's website, I collected this contact information, which matches the above information from their website registration, except for the email address and no telephone number is included:
iMarketingSurveyStop.com
ATTN: CUSTOMER CARE
I Marketing Survey Stop
100 Congress AvenueSuite 2000
Austin TX
Email: Support@iMarketingSurveyStop.com
The address 100 Congress Avenue #2000 may be a virtual office for this company, since several other businesses claim this address as their own, mostly law firms. I personally sent a complaint email to both email addresses given for I Marketing Survey Stop and did not receive a reply or even an acknowledgement that my message had been received.

So, since GIFT50.COM links to his website, you can call him on his toll-free number to voice your displeasure over being spammed on your cellphone. You can also contact him via his website at this link to make a complaint about being spammed, though I strongly advise that you not enter your regular email address in the form, to prevent it from possibly being placed into their own mailing list.

The owner of BRANDNEWPRIZES is a full participant in this venture and not a purely innocent party. If you read the Official Gift Offer Rules for redemption of the Free $1,000 Walmart Gift Card, you'll see that you must participate in surveys for a period of time in order to claim your "free gift card". Compare this to what Walmart actually says in their reply to me
...nor would we solicit the customers with these incentives for them to take surveys.
So, I would suggest that you should follow Walmart's advice in handling these text spam messages.

I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Walmart for their speedy reply to my message and to my readers who have  notified me of new phone numbers associated with this spammer.

Duane Browning

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