Thursday, November 15, 2012

Spotting a Potential Scam is Much Easier Than You Think

Most online scams are not very elaborate, in that they are usually produced by one or two people. They only "seem" big online.

In order to look big, they will often borrow pictures from legitimate sources and relabel them to suit their needs, often with a little help from Photoshop (tm). 

Here are two prime examples:

Exhibit One: Corllins University

Corllins University is not a real university, but a website (one of many) operated by a Pakistani who goes by the name of Salem Kureshi. For a university that doesn't exist, its online presence is quite large, albeit, populated with fake photos. Here's one of them:

This was a screenshot of the Corllins University Facebook timeline, supposedly their graduating class,   originally posted on Consumer Watch of Botswana Blog.  This picture has since been deleted from their timeline. Care to guess why? Because it doesn't belong to Corllins University.  

Here's the real source of the picture:

Yep, they borrowed someone else's photo, and pretended it's their own, hoping you don't notice. 

Unfortunately, plenty of people seem to have received degrees from this university, and was peddling it online hoping you don't notice they paid a fake university for this degree. Here's one of them:

Yes, I blurred out the name. This guy posted his entire professional life online, including his C.V., resume, all his diplomas, certificates, and whatnot. Including this one... from a FAKE university. Kinda makes you wonder about the rest of his accomplishments, doesn't it? 

Just to prove another point: there is no such university in Santa Clara, California, USA. 

Exhibit Two: TVI Express

TVI Express is a convicted pyramid scheme that had been kicked out of China, USA, Australia, Indonesia, Lesotho, and South Africa, among other countries. Back in 2010, when it was "red hot", TVI Express used the following banner for their "I am TVI" international conference. 

Do you recognized the picture source? No? Hint: he's VERY famous... just won something big in November 2012. 

Give up? Here's the source of the picture: 

That's right, TVI Express stole Alex Ross's "Obama-man" picture and Photoshop'ed (tm) in their own logo. And this is corporate, not an affiliate. That should pretty well prove they are a scam, right? Because on their own website, they stole images from MLMs. Here's an example, from their "events" page:

I've included some text to show it it is indeed from their website. So what's wrong with this picture that I highlighted? Let's zoom in:

Yep, it does indeed says Xango, which sells mangosteen juice via MLM, and clearly have NOTHING to do with TVI Express at all. 

Just to prove it beyond a shadow of doubt, here's the original picture from Xango's website:

Yep, stolen pics. 

Yet even today, there are still Filipinos who insist that TVI Express is a great opportunity. Approximately 4 weeks ago (October 2012), someone left this message on one of my TVI Express explanation hubs on Hubpages:

When I asked which part of what I explained is a lie, there was no reply. The IP address points to Philippines.

Guess these folks don't understand that multiple countries have CONVICTED people running TVI Express scam... 


Scams are not hard to spot. Real companies don't steal pictures to make their websites. Any one who does so is obviously a fake.  Remember, just because you *wish* it to be true does not make it so. 

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