Scams recommended by Google? watch out, even from trusted sources!

Greetings everyone! I am doing a quick blog post here today to send out a warning about a scam that almost happened to me today. Recently I had been researching Nest Outdoor cameras online and saw that it was pretty much the same price just about everywhere reputable, NewEgg, Amazon, Target, etc.

Earlier today, I was notified by my Google Feed on my Nexus 6 about a low price deal on something I was recently looking at, the Nest Outdoor camera. The price was big as could be to really get my attention and it did just that – and had me looking at it closer. This is really useful on my phone when it is from a place like Amazon, however from sketchy site, not so much. In turn, I decided to take a look closer at it and realized it definitely was a full eCommerce site, and had the nest products at crazy prices – much lower than the average. The site I am talking about here is called “raceprotax.com”.

A scam in the wild!

Upon looking closer at the site, I felt it was certainly too good to be true, so I searched a bit and tried to find if anyone else had dealt with the same situation. There was not much on it, since the domain was just purchased in the last 45 days, however there was a post or two at Reddit, and another scam guard post talking about this site, and another related to it, and/or operated by the same team of scammers – “kutinstore.com”.

Scams sure are on the rise, and from it being so easy to just set up a capture form and add an SSL to a site to mislead buyers, it has become very lucrative to take a chance on the fact that many consumers do not check before buying things, or sharing things that are just too good to be true! Through a quick test I created a guest account and went through the process to buy my “too good to be true” deal. I set up the account and entered a made up name and address, and went through the steps to get to the credit card form. This can be especially dangerous when a user has their browser configured to add a frequently used credit card number that is stored in their browser’s profile.

I gave the scam a try!

I entered in a fake card and expiration number and to my surprise the form took my card number, despite the fact the number was completely fake, “1234 1234 1234 1234”. This form simply leads people to believe they are getting a product, it captures your credit card number and sends you a somewhat-real notice email confirming the purchase and hopes that the user trusts the site long enough to get the number and sell it either on the web, or locally in their area. When I looked at the email account to see what came, the header area of the email didn’t have the proper site name. It has another name called “blackany.com”

Order Confirmation Screen

 

The message was delivered from their site, however the message did end up in spam, like many auto generated emails on servers. The email it came from was [email protected], so I have sent an email to the hosting company to let them know about their network hosting a malicious site. I will see if they reply back to it at all.

Email Confirmation

 

Scam sharks are always trying to deceive

Sometimes a good deal gives a consumer that desire to believe it, because they want it so bad, and price is usually the main factor in their ability to make the purchase. Unfortunately, scammers hope and expect consumers to buy with their heart and not their mind. If you ever feel that a deal is too good to be true, go with your gut. And if going with your gut is not enough, take the 2 minutes to go to google and search the site’s name. Doing a search for the site’s name with keywords like scam and reviews behind it usually helps narrow down your search to help you find any other’s feedback and experiences they had with this same time.

The most scary part about the situation I was dealing with today was the fact that not only did Google recommend the purchase to me without vetting the company first, it also ranks on Google at a very good level with relevant keywords – while the domain has only been around for a short period of time. In order to accomplish that, this site was more than likely boosted through the rankings with black hat techniques.

Always be sure to double check a site’s reputation before you enter your credit card information into a form. Don’t let a good deal trick you into trusting a site that has the sole intention of taking your info and turning it into profit!

Update 7/26/2017

Leasehost.com responded very quickly and confirmed that the site has been taken offline! That is very good, however before I even had time to write an update here about it, they have already relocated their site to another, new host. Their new host is “reliableservers.com” and so far my emails to them in regard to this company’s deceiving practices have not been replied to.

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