How Scams Sell You Fake Clicks
Based On Real Story
“Wild Market” is any site that has absolute zero protection against click and payment fraud: forums, instant messengers or social networks. Most popular places to cheat buyers are skype and facebook groups. Some scams do it fulltime and earn $5000+ a month, so they take own business seriously and cheat professionally. This article is based on real story of a scam we recently catched.
Let’s say scam John Smith decided to start stealing money from buyers by selling fake traffic, what would he do?
Step 1: Create Fake Identities
John creates 10-15 accounts with different names on Facebook, Skype and few forum accounts. John uses American names only, most of them are women, because generally women get more trust. John finds avatars for all fake accounts. Avatar will never be professional photo. Pretty girl, but not too hot.
Step 2: Fake “Proof” And Testimonials
Using graphics editor, John also creates fake screenshots from stats and autoresponders.
John cross-posts happy testimonials from all his accounts, claiming crazy results and excellent experience. John sends few emails from one account to another with happy comments, thanking for great traffic and begging for more clicks. He creates screenshots and adds these testimonials to other fake screenshots.
John creates free autoresponder account and creates a video of him entering the member area. Then he opens Firebug plugin, edits number of subscribers with fake big number and records another video with modified subscribers count. Using any video editor, John combines two videos. Video with fake subscriber number overlays original one. This creates effect that John logged into his autoresponder to show large number of subscribers.
Step 3: Start Selling Fake Clicks
John starts posting his solo ad promos in adswap and solo mailing groups, claiming he has just started with fresh list, but already has few happy clients. He posts his “screenshot” with proof, adds a video of autoresponder. He already has fake comments on his page from other accounts. Buyers believe this and buy solos.
Now John has to send fake traffic to buyer’s website, but it has too look real. It is very easy to do.
John buys proxy list.
John buys a bot app to make thousands clicks. This app has a proxy list built in. It switches proxies and makes fake clicks. For each click it uses new proxy and then uses random computer info (OS, browser, screen, etc) This way traffic looks real: all “visitors” come from different countries, they all have different computer configurations.
Step 4: Adding Fake Optins
After all clicks have been “delivered”, John has to create visibility that some of his visitors actually signed up on victim’s website. John visits the site and looks at signup form. Most likely it’s name/email combination. App has a list with names and last names, John inputs values into app and it creates accounts on victim’s site, randomly rotating names and emails.
John’s buyer is happy: according to his statistics, he got tons of clicks and about 40% of them have registered on his site. Buyer sends a testimonial for John. This is the first real testimonial for John for his fake traffic. He immediately adds it to his page and gets even more sales.
Step 5: Sales? No Problem
If buyer’s product is cheap, John can even make a purchase or two. If customer paid $40-50, pair sales for $7 won’t be a problem for John, his profit will go down $14, but the buyer will be very happy, because he thinks John’s traffic is of high quality. His list buys.
But John is greedy scam, he will ask a refund in 20-25 days. He will say that “product is not for me” or “I didn’t use it, sorry” and will get a refund. His buyer will not remember that both “customers” were from John, because he already bought few other solos from other people. He doesn’t track what customer belongs to what seller.
Things could become even worse if John participates in black hat credit card fraud forums and used stolen credit cards to make sales. After owners of these cards will see unauthorized charges, they will initiate chargebacks and site owner will have to pay chargeback fees on top of refund. After that PayPal can even decide that buyer’s site is high risk and close his account altogether. PayPal does that on regular basis, just Google paypal horror stories.
Step 6: Dealing With Smart Buyers
Some buyers suspect fraud, but most likely they won’t post anything on public. They will ask questions and John will do his best to convince them the traffic was very good. If he won’t be able to convince buyer, he will easily give a refund. John spent nothing, but time. It is easy to give a refund and buyer won’t keep pushing.