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Avoid Being Scammed
Having just run into what I believe is a scam in the very early stages of marketing itself, I felt it reasonable to post something here where I could let others know. Here is what I submitted to the FBI tip service:
I believe there's an online venture attempting to defraud people of money using a scheme involving supposed free government grant information. The website is: myfundingopportunity.com. There's no way to get any information about the services or information they offer without paying approximately $50 when signing up. There are a number of telltale signs this is questionable.
- The only content of any substance is data fed into the page via RSS (an external source).
- The form is not submitted over SSL.
- Faked submission data results in the following: "Thank you for your submission. A representative will review your application and contact you shortly." meaning they're not charging the card on the spot or even validating the information, a clue that it's meant to just harvest data.
- Attempting to submit the login form (without or without data) results in a 404 - Page not found. So, even if you were unfortunate enough to provide them with your personal and credit card information, you wouldn't even be able to login to take advantage of the services you'd paid for.
- The domain was very recently created: 01-DEC-09 - http://who.godaddy.com/WhoIs.aspx?domain=myfundingopportunity.com&prog_id=godaddy
- The domain is registered through a proxy registration company in an effort to hide the true identity and location of the domain owner.
- The site is hosted in Romania: http://samspade.org/whois/184.108.40.206
The address listed on the site appears to be probably a mail forwarding arrangement (the suite number and the fact that many, many other businesses come up for the same street #/address combination): 560 S. State St., Suite G2, Orem, UT 84058
Attempting to send an email to the only email address listed on the site results in the following:Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently: firstname.lastname@example.org Technical details of permanent failure: Google tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the recipient domain. We recommend contacting the other email provider for further information about the cause of this error. The error that the other server returned was: 550 550 #5.1.0 Address rejected email@example.com (state 14).
- There are all sorts of people complaining about receiving automated calls from one of several phone numbers, sometimes to the tune of several per day. In most cases there isn't any one at the other end of the line and the line disconnects after about 10 seconds or so. If you call back you get routed into automated line manager hell with no real customer service rep to take your call (claiming it's due to high call volume). The number I personally have received two phone calls in the last hour is (702) 208-2102. For the lucky few that do manage to get a call with a live human on the other end, they report that it's someone that speaks very poor English trying to sell them on the same thing available on the website and claim to be part of the company My Funding Opportunity. On the phone they want money right then to get more information and demand a credit or debit card.
Obviously this setup is not only easy to setup, but easy to walk away from if the heat gets too high. I'd hate for people to get taken advantage of by this (especially since most that will fall for it are those that can't afford to lose the $50 they'll spend on it).
I'd appreciate a call or email about this matter.
Yup, that's right. I don't usually come out and say negative things about companies, but this one has earned some negative attention. First, they had a billing issue in their system back in September and didn't rectify it despite out account being on autopay. October 1st came and went and the autopay worked just fine. However, starting in October, we started experiencing intermittent "downtime". During this time we never once received any feedback from them about issues with our account. On November 1st autopay worked just fine. Suddenly, like their system threw up, we received almost a dozen notices about account issues, termination, etc. Our login was frozen keeping us from accessing our dashboard for accessing or managing accounts, submitting support tickets, viewing invoices, etc. The only thing available was a screen to pay our bill. However, as we'd just been autobilled it seemed silly to pay yet again. I sent in a support ticket and they admitted that it was their fault and reactivated our account. December 1st comes and we get another autopay and then another barrage of account issue emails a few days later. Now it's the 7th and they've deciced that they're "done" with us. Everything has been shut off and they're demanding a $150 account reactivation fee even though our autopay went through on the 1st. We pointed out that they bill for the upcoming month so our account should be in good standing but they refuse to discuss that. So, here we sit, no access to the remaining few clients on this service, and holding a bill for service we're not receiving.
February 15, 2009
I inspire change. It's true. As a result of a complaint I raised here about Firefox, changes have been made to the 3.2 version being released to address it. As a result, a page on this site has been referenced on both the Mozilla Developer Center blog and Ajaxian.
April 26, 2008
Yeah, it's been a long time since I've posted an update. Let's just say I've been super busy putting up websites for everyone else.
I couldn't resist posting what I just found, even though it's not something to do with a site I've launched recently or otherwise.
Often when I'm surfing the web, I find examples of idiocy with regard to web development. This particular gem is no exception. Take a peek at the following code snippet and see if you can tell me what's wrong with it:
document.write('\n <NOSCRIPT>\n <A TARGET=\"_blank\" HREF=\"http://ad.doubleclick.net/...">\n <IMG SRC=\"http://m1.2mdn.net/1805730/PID_577598_8036_vibe_300.jpg\" width=\"300\" height=\"250\" BORDER=\"0\" alt=\"Click Here!\">\n </A>\n </NOSCRIPT>\n ');
Please quit doing web development if you can't spot the problem right away.
In other news, we've launched a site for a gorgeous resort condo in northern Baja California, Mexico at the El Dorado Ranch near San Felipe. We launched a site dedicated to the fight against Lupus through education, awareness, and fund raising and its sister site showcasing their signature event, Serving Up Style. We launched a completely redesigned web presence for long-time client, American Industrial Center. We've launched a completely new look and online registration system for Foundations for Tomorrow.
September 8, 2005
We just launched a "rescue" project for Foundations For Tomorrow, Inc., a non-profit organization that puts on personal growth workshops in several locations in North America. In the process of rescuing them from static hosting and the death-grip of a "webmaster", we converted their design from tables to a layout using CSS and semantic markup. Print letterhead was incorporated as well as numerous content editing tools available in a web-based administration.
June 22, 2005
A new in-house project gave me an opportunity to rethink how we do forms. I did some research into CSS-only, table-less forms and wasn't really impressed with what I found. So, I decided to see if I could come up with something better. Take a look at my attempt at a CSS-only, table-less form. I'm open to comments, criticism, suggestions, questions, etc.
May 1, 2005
Launched a site for a client, Secure Network Solutions, that specializes in HIPAA compliance as it relates to technology, content filtering, and offsite backup solutions. As with all of our projects, they're using our custom content management software to manage nearly every aspect of their site. If you're in the Pacific NW and have a need for these types of services, they definitely should be on your list of professionals to call.
March 18, 2005
Ever have one of those days where you know what's going to happen before it happens? Well, that's how last night went for me. I got a reminder in my inbox about the CFUG meeting at 6pm on the topic of blogging. I wasn't particularly interested in it for the topic (I find most blogging to be excruciatingly boring), but was interested in going for the networking, keeping my name in the community, and possibly winning a license for Alagad's Image Component that was being given away. I don't know how I knew, but I knew that if I wasn't there, I wouldn't win it (obviously) and that if I was there, I would be the winner.
I was about 20 minutes late walking in the door. I'd missed the first part of Simeon Bateman's presentation and he was well into the statistics derived from a survey of 30,000 bloggers. After Damon Gentry did a short presentation on a blog app he wrote using Fusebox 4.1, it was time for the drawing. When Simeon mentioned the drawing, the feeling that I'd be the winner was even stronger. When I'd come in, I was asked to put my name on a sign-up sheet. I didn't remember exactly what number I was, but knew it was 9, 10, or 11. Simeon had put small pieces of paper with numbers on them into a cup and asked Damon to draw a number. Before he reached in to pull out a number, I knew he'd draw the number 10. Out comes the piece of paper and he reads, "10". I thought to myself, "Hey, I'm number 10." Of course, Simeon actually reading my name off as the winner was somewhat anticlimactic as I already knew it was going to happen. Nevertheless, I'm quite happy to have won a license for this software as it's something I've been meaning to check into more thoroughly and possibly implement into my development platform. One of the coolest things, to me, is that it is very easy to Captcha with this component, or so I was told. I guess I get to try it without risk or expense now. Thanks again Alagad and PDXCFUG.
July 14, 2004
My prefered certification testing site, Brainbench.com, was running a "take as many of our tests as you want for free" special, so I decided it was time to test my knowledge and expertise against their bank of ColdFusion MX questions, a test I have yet to take since it was released. I figured I'd do pretty well since I have historically done very well on their older ColdFusion 4.5 test. However, I didn't expect to do quite as well as I did. When the test was complete I received a score of 4.77 out of 5. I felt pretty good about just the score. I felt even better when I checked to see how I compared against everyone else that had taken the test so far. It turns out that I am tied with 2 other individuals for the second best test score in the world on this test. I'm a paltry 0.05 from the highest score, shared by two other individuals. Needless to say, I'm overwhelmed by my accomplishment.
May 7, 2004
I've been entirely too quiet the past six-plus months. That usually means I'm probably buried with work, up to no good, or a combination of both. Well, I'm pleased to announce that a project that's kept my freelance hours filled with work has finally reached a new level. This project is a web-based mafia, role-playing game. What it lacks in fancy graphics, 3-d rendering, sound, etc., it more than makes up for with features. Check it out for yourself — MafiaLife.com.
October 9, 2003
I can't believe it's been 3 months since I've had anything new to say here. Anyway, I'm proud to say that a client I did a very complex e-commerce project for was recently awarded SBA's Young Entrepreneur of the Year at the state, regional, and national levels. I like to think that since the bulk of his business is done online that I had a very small part in helping him become what he is today. Here are some links for further reading.
- Award-Winning Clothing Entrepreneur Gets a Timely Boost from SCORE
- Eugene entrepreneur wins national SBA award
- Tailored for the Rugged Invidualist
July 17, 2003
Some of you have no doubt seen the article on Wired.com where I was interviewed about my opinions of Mozilla's future now that AOL has given them the old "heave-ho". If not, I encourage you to go take a look. I don't have anything profound to say about it, but I think I made some good points that most Mozilla zealots are too quick to dismiss (forget?).