Monday, September 24, 2012

Lotto Scam

The following text has been received by numerous people on their cellphones:
Transaction no: 4224 Your mobile number has won 720,000.00 pounds in the ongoing freelotto bonanza for claim email:
Sending a reply to the email address given in the text results in receiving this:

From: free lotto


54, Russell Gardens, London, W14 8EZ

============================== == 
Ref: TFR/9900034943/JPT
Batch: FR/45-300-07
============================== ==

ATTN: winner,

Firstly we offer our Friendship, Greetings, & we hope this email meets you in a good time.However strange or surprising this email might seem to you as you did not enter the competition.

YOUR MOBILE NUMBER ATTACHED TO (Free Lotto Automatic Subscription Transaction NO.: 4224) HAS WON £720,000.00 {Seven Hundred and Twenty Thousand Great British Pounds} IN THIS WEEKS GIVEAWAY WINNERS.

On behalf of the Management and Staffs of  Free Lotto , we officially congratulate you as the beneficiary of the cash prize of £720,000 Pounds (Seven Hundred and Twenty Thousand Great British Pounds) and your funds will be transferred directly to your local bank account after you complete the verification process.

Good to hear from you regarding the  Free Lotto. My name is Dr. Anthony Floyd, I am the Free Lotto Cash officer assigned to winners on the Mobile sweepstakes. Congratulations, we the staffs of Free Lotto congratulate you as one of the lucky winners on this year  Free Lotto  Draw. Your Mobile Phone Number has been selected at random by our computer system of networking and has won for you the sum of £720,000 Pounds (Seven Hundred and Twenty Thousand Great British Pounds) and all informations concerning the facilitation of your claims will commence as soon as you  meet with the requirement.

In line with the commemorating event marking our 142nd anniversary, we rolled out over 140,000.000.00GBP  for our 142nd Anniversary Draws. All participants were selected through a computer ballot system, drawn from 25,000 company mobile numbers, and 30,000,000 individual mobile numbers, from 45 mobile networks fromUAE, Australia, North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Africa as part of International Promotions Program, which is conducted annually.

The order is.... Surname :- / Firstname:-/ Othernames. 

This is real and not a hoax. You can click on the website link below to view the photo page of some of our recent lucky winners.

Contact our Attorney with the contact information below for futher instructions on how to claim your prize.

Full Name:
Delivery Contact Address:
Winning Mobile Number:

Find below the contact information to EMAIL the Attorney for your immediate action.
============================== =====

Bennett Welch and Co.
Pissarro House
82a Westow Hill
Upper Norwood
London, SE19 1GH
Tel: +44 758 7811 735 
The link given in the message in an apparent attempt to demonstrate that this "offer" is legitimate is interesting. Apparently, the FreeLotto website has become aware of scammers using their website to further their scams and have posted a disclaimer and warning. However, this warning is not obvious on the website and you have to scroll to the bottom of their homepage to find it. I forwarded a copy of the scmmers' email to them, for whatever good that will do.

The email address given as the contact information for their attorney uses the domain which is an obvious attempt to impersonate the real law firm based in the United Kingdom, Bennett Welch Solicitors. I have already notified the solicitors (what Americans call lawyers or attorneys) of this and they replied that they are already aware of it, due to numerous people already having notified them. The solicitors have a vested interest in taking action against the scammers' use of the domain name. in order to protect their own reputations.

An IP trace (IP: of the message I received traced the message back to London in the United Kingdom.

Duane Browning

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Profit Masters Academy Work From Home Scam

I think everyone would like to make a lot of money from a job that doesn't require pulling long hours while working yourself to complete exhaustion. That's one of the allures of work at home schemes. People get sold a bill of goods, send in their money to learn how it's done and learn too late that it promised more than it delivered.

One scam - and I feel that I can call it that because it is so fucking obvious - is the "Work At Home Special Report" which you can see here.

The article talks about "Melissa Johnson" who "struggled for months to find a decent job but kept hitting dead ends". She supposedly lost her job when the recession hit (like a lot of people did) and didn't want to risk getting involved in a get rich quick scheme because they're pyramid schemes or she'd have to sell stuff to her family and friends.

Of course, this one is supposed to be different, right? After all, she lives in the same city I do: Honolulu and if she can do it, I can! Right?

Well, no.

You may be a bit confused right now if you've already clicked on the above link. When I did it, the title said
EXPOSED: Honolulu Mom Makes $8,000/Month From Home And You Won't Believe How She Does It! 
But, if you lived in Chicago, the title would read like this:
EXPOSED: Chicago Mom Makes $8,000/Month From Home And You Won't Believe How She Does It!
You see, the link contains software that customizes the text to make it appear as if it is relating a story about something that happened to a person who lives in the same city you do. It's a good way to make people more comfortable with paying-into a scheme than they would be if the story was about a person who lived in a city far away from where you live. After all, if she lives in the same city as you, there's a good chance you may meet her one day. Right?

Even the name "Melissa Johnson" is generic enough to get people to let their guard down. This woman could be black or white, Jew or Gentile, middle class or poor, etc. There's just no way to tell. Aside from her sudden unemployment, all we know about her is that she has three children (appealing to our sense of empathy) and that she has a blog, the link for which we are not given.

Accessing the link through my Internet connection, the first paragraph reads like this:
Melissa Johnson from Honolulu, Hawaii never thought that she would work online, until curiosity got the best of her and she filled out a simple online form.
Using a proxy to conceal my true location and make it appear that I am in Chicago, the text reads like this
Melissa Johnson from Chicago, Illinois never thought that she would work online, until curiosity got the best of her and she filled out a simple online form.
Unless there are two women named Melissa Johnson, one living in Honolulu and the other in Chicago who were both rendered unemployed by the recession and who both have three children, I'd say this whole story looks like a great big, steaming pile of bullshit.

The same thing happens when you go to this link. The only difference is the name of the person who supposedly made eight grand a month. On this page, her name is "Mary Stevens" and a picture is included, which turns-out to simply be a stock photo that the scammers used. The domain is registered anonymously through Domains By Proxy. The course "Mary" supposedly took was called New Online Incomes, but that website is down and is not relevant for this post. I just mentioned it as a reference of past activities by these scum.

Both webpages are just an advertisement for what is now known as Profit Masters Academy whose website is registered anonymously through Namecheap and was only recently in June 2012. The IP address comes from Miami, Florida, which is the only thing about this site that I know for sure. Who really owns the website, who created it in the first place, who set-up Profit Masters Academy, etc are all questions which we have no way to answer.

They are using the image of Angela Bussio, an author and motivational speaker. I found no mention of Profit Masters Academy on her website. Attempting to email her via her website showed a pattern very much like the Profit Maters Academy ads: the email address given on her website is but when you click on the link, it sends the email to instead. A message sent to both address yielded a reply only from the address, with the signature at the bottom given as "Internet Business Customer Care". not Ms Bussio.

Angela Bussio also advertises herself as a best-selling author, but a search for her name on Amazon returned no results. The only book where she claims some authorship is the one - count'em: one! - on her website, where she is one of over thirty people who contributed input. Yeah, she's some author, alright. I also found this link which talks about Ms Bussio and her relationship with Profit Masters Academy.

I'm not the only person to label this as a scam. You can find more information at the following links:
Profit Masters Academy - Scam Or Legit?
Profit Masters Academy Scam Analysis
ScamXposer – Profit Masters Academy a Scam?
and many more!

As far as the original link, which is made to appear as a legitimate news reporting agency, The Online Career Journal, which supposedly "investigates Work From Home Opportunities". But, clicking any of the links at the top simply redirects you to the Profit Masters Academy website. Not surprisingly, is also registered anonymously.

Have a look at this video

Duane Browning

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Fighting Back Against SMS Spam

I have decided that I am going to do something about text spam. More than simply complaining about it on Internet message boards. I've collected a list of links that have been getting circulated by textspam, posted below. I posted the links as they appeared on SMS Watchdog.

Spammers will claim that you've won a free iPad or some other Apple product, a free gift card from Walmart, BestBuy or Target. None of these claims are true. It's simply an attempt to get your personal information, perhaps either to send mail to your home, add your phone number to more spam lists or in an attempt to commit identity theft. Whatever they do with it, it will likely be good for them and bad for you.

Namespace has told me straight-out that they will do nothing about their clients who spam peoples' cellphones, not even send them a warning to stop spamming people with their links. Namespace advised me to contact my cellphone company about the spam I received. I contacted Domains By Proxy about spamming and never hear back from them.

So, when I receive text messages on my cellphone, I intend to directly contact the company that the "offer" is supposed to involve and I include below contact information for the companies the scammers use as a cover story:


Contact their legal department, as this involves possible violations of their trademark and select "Trademark Information".

Best Buy

Phone: 1-888-BEST BUY (1-888-237-8289)

E-mail: If you receive a suspicious email, please forward the entire message, including the header, to Best Buy for investigation

Best Buy Corporate Campus
Attn: Customer Care/Privacy
7601 Penn Avenue South
Richfield, MN 55423-3645


Phone: 1-800-5GIFTS5 (1-800-544-3875)
Fax: 1-800-440-4510

Email Target Corporation

Attn: Target Corporate Gift Cards
TCW Mailstop 2AB
3701 Wayzata Blvd
Minneapolis, MN 55416


Email Walmart to report suspected fraud

List of Links Circulated Via Text Spammers not valid
http.// not valid
http.// Domains By Proxy, LLC not valid URL Terminated
http://www.APPLE.COMPRZ1.COM not valid site appears dead
http://www.GIFTCARD2.COM site appears dead site appears dead redirects to site appears dead site appears dead site appears dead site appears dead 6417 site appears dead site appears dead site appears dead site appears dead site appears dead site appears dead site appears dead site appears dead site appears dead site appears dead site appears dead site appears dead site appears dead site appears dead site appears dead site appears dead site appears dead site appears dead site appears dead site appears dead site appears dead site appears dead site appears dead not valid site appears dead site appears dead site appears dead site appears dead site appears dead site appears dead site appears dead site appears dead site appears dead site appears dead site appears dead site appears dead site appears dead 

Duane Browning

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Text Spammer With Inheritance Scam

I received this text on my cellphone, apparently from Another person in Honolulu also reported receiving this message, so I can assume that Honolulu cellphone accounts were specifically targeted by these scammers:
This is regarding a possible late relative's inheritance. Email for info
another text message reportedly being received is
This is regarding a possible late relative's inheritance. Email for info
Another email address associated with this scam is

The domain BXNAY.COM was created very recently, as shown by this WHOIS search
created: 10-Aug-2012
last-changed: 10-Aug-2012
registration-expiration: 10-Aug-2013
registrant-firstname: Kathleen
registrant-lastname: Giver
registrant-street1: 8420 Gamma Ct
registrant-pcode: 45231
registrant-state: OH
registrant-city: Cincinnati
registrant-ccode: US
registrant-phone: +1.5137295288

Using one of my throwaway accounts, I sent a reply to the email address given and received this about twelves hours later from "Allen Richardson" using the address to both send and as the Reply-To address. An IP trace indicates that this email was originally sent from Nigeria:

Thank you for contacting me. I am Allen Richardson, Account Officer in one of the banks here in the UK. We are contacting you in confidence regarding a late customer of our bank who bears the same last name as you .We got your contact after a thorough and long search on the internet and via phone directories for a possible relative of our late client.
Our late client died in the March 2011 Earth Quake in Japan. Please read more about this incidence by following this link:
Until his death, he was a Senior Director, Oil Exploration of British Petroleum (BP). He was aged 59, never married and had no kids. He has roots from Honolulu, Hawaii. His financial investments valued at 10.5 Million USD are on the verge of being declared nontransferable. With the expiration of the maturity clause on the funds, it becomes very important to have the funds inherited.
We cannot ascertain if you are directly related to Andrew (name redacted to maintain my cover) but I am contacting you with the hope of getting some assistance from you in claiming these funds. I propose that you stand as the next of kin to our late client to enable my bank release the funds to you. This is to avoid the funds being rendered unclaimed and turned over to the United Kingdom Treasury. My proposal to you is to partner with me to have the funds released and transferred to you. For your assistance in this, I'm offering 50% of the entire funds to you. The remaining 50% will be for me and my team here in the bank.
Let me know your thoughts on this as I expect a positive response from you. All relevant paper work to aid this claim in your favor and to reflect you as the next of kin/beneficiary of the funds will be provided by us. We do not have time on our hands as there is a deadline to get this done. Due to the confidentiality and sensitivity of this transaction, I have not shared much in this email. I hope you can totally understand this.
Please indicate your desire to assist and partner with us. I will be more than pleased to share more details and contact information after I have received a positive response from you.
Allen Richardson
So, this is a typical inheritance scam, as done by many other scammers over the years. The big difference is that these scammers are initiating contact by texting people on their cellphones. 

To see how much information I could get out of him, I sent him a second reply and got this a few hours later:

Hi ____,
Thank you for your response and your desire to partner with me to see this through. I am delighted to work with you to ensure we get the funds released. The trust I'm bestowing on you is enormous but I do not have a choice at this point. Time is of the essence; we have exhausted all avenues and lost all hopes of locating Andrew kin.  
It is important for you to know that British Inheritance claim laws here stipulates that claim applications must be filed and processed through a lawyer/solicitor domiciled and registered to offer legal services within the UK. I will be forwarding your information to a reputable law firm who will be saddled with handling the legal process and paper work on your behalf. The lawyer/law firm will stand to represent you in totality for this inheritance claim as you do NOT need to be physically present at the bank or anywhere here to have the claim processed and funds transferred to you. The lawyer will be having a sworn affidavit (which shall legally put you in place as the next of kin) from the High Court of Justice here. Also, he will be saddled with obtaining all necessary clearances which will cover all claims aspects involved in this transaction from the British Authorities and Justice department. The lawyer shall be handling all matters of probate on your behalf and will be your sole representative here in all matters regarding to this inheritance claim. Please be rest assured, this is an accredited lawyer with who has handled several successful inheritance claims with my bank. 
On completion of all the necessary paper work by the lawyer, you will be sent triplicate copies of the inheritance paper work for your review and endorsement. You will be required to retain a copy for your records while the other two copies are to be sent to the bank and law firm respectively. For clarity, here are your role and our role after we have agreed on the lawyer you are to use for the inheritance claim process.
Your Role:

1. We will give you the reference number and the necessary details relating to the inheritance claim/investment deposit account with my bank-Metro Bank.
2. You make contact with the solicitor/lawyer and instruct him to act on your behalf in the pursuit of your inheritance claim by giving the Solicitor/lawyer the inheritance reference number and the details that I will give you.
3. You must never inform the solicitor/lawyer that you are working with me or any one at my bank for this inheritance claim.
4. Upon the successfully filing of a claim application by the solicitor/lawyer on your behalf, your role stops and my role begins.

My Role:
1. Advise and guide you through the whole process, giving you vital details when necessary.
2. Ensuring the application goes through the normal application process for verification and approval with Metro Bank. It finally stops at the desks of my colleagues and I for vetting prior to final approval.
3. My colleagues and I will facilitate having the application processed at the Funds Transfer and remittance department.
4. After application is approved, payment is issued out to your nominated bank account with notification and all relevant papers and certifications stating that these funds have been released to your bank account will be forwarded to you via the solicitor who acted on your behalf. This finalizes the claim process with the US$10.5M hitting your account in 48hrs after the transfer has been made
The whole process normally takes between 5 to 7 working days. Upon your confirmation of the receipt of funds in your nominated bank account, we will be forwarding our receiving bank account details to you for the transfer of 50% of the funds back to us. I must not fail to take account of the lawyer's retainer fees which I propose must be covered by both parties (You and I) after the funds have been released to you.

With your full cooperation and assistance, I completely assure you of the success of the release of the funds to us. Being a professional banker for many years and with a perfect knowledge of how the system works, I'm certainly confident this is coming to fruition.

Below are my details
ADDRESS; One Southampton Row, London, WC1B 5HA
TELEPHONE: +44-793-701-7798 (Mobile)

Please let me have your details to commence the filing and paper work.

Thank you again and eagerly look forward to hearing from you swiftly.
Duane Browning

"Win A Free iPad3" Scam

This is an old scam, telling people that they've won a free iPad and directing them to a website to claim it.
"your contest entry was chosen as our prizewinner! Tell us where to send it ipad3winner[DOT]net
 I did a WHOIS search of the domain and got this
owner-name: David Adams
owner-street: 4785 E Bow Ct
owner-city: Floral City
owner-state: Florida
owner-zip: 34436
owner-country: US
owner-phone: +1.3522016729

btw, the domain is also registered to this person.

Another site that is associated with this scam is
 owner-organization: SuperBids
owner-name: Dave Allen
owner-street: 485 E. Gobbler Ct
owner-city: Ocoee
owner-state: FL
owner-zip: 34446
owner-country: QA
owner-phone: +974.2874492241

Going to either site, you will be redirected to this website
and WINDAILYGADGETS.COM is a Hong Kong-registered domain, as you can see from a WHOIS search I did on them
      Online Gift Shack
      20/F-33F One International Finiance Center 1 Harbour View St
      Hong Kong, Hong Kong HK
      Phone: +852.8885815503
Domain Name:
      Created on..............: 2011-06-08
      Expires on..............: 2013-06-08

There is a contact link on the claim page and you can go here to contact them directly. I can't guarantee that they will respond or do anything in response to your complaints.

Duane Browning