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Paypal email phishing scam using my website's name

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by MetalMan390, Nov 6, 2010.

  1. MetalMan390

    MetalMan390 Regular Member

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    I recently purchased a website and there has been a email phishing scam going on for a few years now that uses my site's name. People receive emails from something like accounts@paypal.us or accounts@paypal.inc.com which state that the email is a receipt for purchasing something from my site (a product that doesn't even exist). It says the purchase was made under a certain name, so the people that receive the email think that their account info was stolen and they need to click on the "dispute link" in the email. These people aren't smart enough to realize it's a scam and the dispute link is a way to steal their info, so they email me complaining about how their account was charged (even though nothing was ever charged, obviously). This in itself is annoying, but i have my email filters set up to autorespond when a certain set of keywords are used with a detailed explanation of how it's a scam and that they were never charged, etc.

    However, the main problem I am having with this scam is that people are going on sites like ripoffreport and complaintsboard and complaining about it. Every time they make a complaint, you see my website's name, even though my site did nothing wrong. Paypal won't do anything about it and I've read that it won't do any good to ask the sites hosting the complaints to take them down. When you search my website's name in google, my site is the first listing and the next several results are complaints, and this is making my site look bad.

    I was wondering if anyone here knows of something I can do to make those complaints not list so high in google results or maybe some other solution. I'm open to suggestions.
     
  2. TheInternetHustler

    TheInternetHustler Regular Member

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    Oh dear, that sucks a lot, sorry to say but unfortunately I dont think there is anything you can do to lower the ranking of these other sites.
     
  3. aftershock2020

    aftershock2020 Senior Member

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    Paypal is ZERO help for anything, as they are all about the cashflow, nothing more and don't care who or how it comes in, unless it directly effects them.

    This is a common scam...what they do is competitors and scam artists will go in as if they are going to buy and get to the point of seeing your payment email, then opt-out and create fake sites, emails and sales pages to scam on the target site to bust their rank or rip their clients with fake accounts.

    Either way, the only way to avoid this completely is to use something other than paypal as your merchant processor. An alternative that will slow them down is to constantly switch out your emails attached to your paypal account. However, over time, this will get the attention of paypal and they will ask as to why you are doing it and/or freeze your account due to the ' suspicious activity '.


    I personally don't use them, as they are the biggest con game on the web and are completely out for taking your money - NOT helping/protecting you.

    Best of luck with finding a replacement domain, as the only other way to handle that is to put more content pages for those keywords and bump the bad stuff out of the way. As long as the scammer is running though, and victims pile up, it will be you they go after, adding more reviews.

    IT is a dead stick...Take the hollywood response, as if you ignore it, it isn't true. People will unfortunantly not want to believe you eitherway. It is a primiative gene in us that makes us want to band together and linch a threat for the greater good...even if it isn't the actual threat we are stringing up at the given moment.
     
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  4. aeLED

    aeLED BANNED BANNED

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    Hummm.... Maybe you can contact those websites and try to solve it.
     
  5. aftershock2020

    aftershock2020 Senior Member

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    Here are a couple of alterniative payment systems that still work really well against paypal and are all about customer support and not lining ebay's hack boss network pockets.

    http://www.alertpay.com

    google checkout - have to go through their site as a member to access it directly.

    There are other systems as well, that work with merchant accounts and guru-owned alternatives as well.

    Best of luck with it. I highly suggest just jumping ship, closing it down, moving on and covering your tracks so that this guy doesn't follow you to your new domain via whois or any of that, if you aren't already private.

    IF he/she has your email account and it has your name signature with it, you are on their ' tag and track ' list, like a scientist tracking some animal migration...they will follow you forever. You have to vanish without a trace. Sad but true.

    It is a game of cat and mouse until you prove to no longer be of use to them for a target. Best of luck.
     
  6. indebt

    indebt Junior Member

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    Paypal is not the problem here.
     
  7. aftershock2020

    aftershock2020 Senior Member

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    Actually, paypal is a good part of the problem, as they don't conceal member information. There should be a protected ID # instead of their email and/or name used for people to get access to in the example given above, as well as support customers involved in this scamming crap as original op is involved in.

    MetalMan is getting screwed by an outside party, sure. However, that doesn't disregard paypal's direct involvement.

    Finally, it will continue to be a problem for MetalMan in this case, as due to his growing number of scam/spam complaints, against his site and paypal account attached to it. Paypal fails EVERYTIME to do anything to assist, as they are a neutral party until you take their cut of the profits from the transaction.

    They are as guilty as the person committing the scam. The whole reason for giving the alternatives to paypal is that this cat is going to need them to move forward in business and have alternative means if he is unable to continue using them in the near future.
     
  8. MetalMan390

    MetalMan390 Regular Member

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    Thanks for the replies. I didn't really think there was much I could do, but I figured I'd ask you guys.

    The email people receive goes something like this:


    Dear paypal member,

    this email confirms that you have paid (mysite) $xxxx using paypal. the credit card transaction will appear as xxxxxxxxxxxx.

    Payment Details

    Transaction ID: xxxxxx
    Total: $xxxx
    Item/Product Name: xxxxxx
    Item/Product Number: xxxxxx
    Buyer: xxxxxxx

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Business Information

    Business: xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Contact E-Mail: xxxxxxxxxxx

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Receipt Number: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Note:

    If you haven't authorized this charge ,click the link below to dispute transaction
    and get full refund


    (Encrypted Link )

    *SSL connection:
    PayPal automatically encrypts your confidential information
    in transit from your computer to ours using the Secure
    Sockets Layer protocol (SSL) with an encryption key length
    of 128-bits (the highest level commercially available)

    Keep your Receipt Number (shown above) for future reference. You will need to refer to this number if you need customer service from xxxxxxx.com or from PayPal.

    If you have questions about your purchase, such as shipping and tracking, we encourage you to contact the seller, xxxxxxxxx at xxxxxx@xxxx.com.

    If you have been unable to resolve your questions with the merchant, PayPal offers a free buyer complaint resolution service that offers a quick, easy resolution to your concerns. It covers physical goods purchases made through PayPal, and is offered at no charge when you register for a free PayPal account. To sign up for an account, click on the 'Save My Info' link above.

    Thank you for using PayPal!
    The PayPal Team

    Please do not reply to this email. Email sent to this address cannot be answered.

    PayPal Email ID PP344"


    Even if I change payment companies, people could still receive this email and whoever receives it thinks someone stole their identity and used their information to make a purchase on my site. They can then copy and paste the email to the complaint boards which has my site's name in it several times. So even if I am using someone else to process my payments, they can still tarnish my site's name and the people receiving the emails would have no idea that I don't accept paypal at all. So I don't think switching from paypal will help me.

    I'm not worreid about anyone following me personally, i just purchased the site 2 months ago and my whois shows private, no personal name in any emails ever, etc. Whoever has been doing this has been doing so for a few years from what I can tell. I just wish there was a way to trace the origin of those emails and catch the ones responsible.
     
  9. aftershock2020

    aftershock2020 Senior Member

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    Yeah, typical paypal scam email, as real paypal emails come automated to the name of the user on the account...never the email address or the generic ' paypal member ' you see in that example.


     
  10. MetalMan390

    MetalMan390 Regular Member

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    I was thinking, what if I made a page on my site that directly addresses the paypal scam and then SEO the hell out of it? like an "official response"? since it's a page on my site (not on a whole new domain or anything)it should not be a problem for it to appear at the top of the search results when someone types either my site name or "mysite paypal scam" or something like that, correct? i already have some screenshots made of the emails with detailed a explanation of each little thing that gives the email away as spam and not a legitimate charge by mistake.

    the only way to contact me regarding the site is through email, through a contact form on the site (email address is not listed on the contact page and the email they have in the paypal scam email is old and no longer works), therefore anyone who searches my site name to contact me or view complaints will see the explanation of the scam BEFORE they scroll down and see the complaints from the complaint boards.

    i guess the only downfall here is that some people who might be looking to buy on my site could get scared away by seeing this somehow. however, my sales mostly come from PPC with few sales from the search engines anyway. also, when people are searching for something my site sells, they wouldn't generally type in my site's name, but keywords instead. basically, the majority of the people who would be seeing that paypal scam explanation page would be people who aren't going to buy anyways.

    i know it's not going to make the other complaints go away, but if i can get this paypal explanation page to out rank the complaints and get people to read my side of the story first then i think it will slow the amount of new complaints at the very least. please let me know if you guys see any problem with doing this.
     
  11. pspparty

    pspparty Registered Member

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    If most sales are generated through ppc then why even worry about what shows up in the serps?
     
  12. MetalMan390

    MetalMan390 Regular Member

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    i still get SOME sales through the serps and would love to get more. but you're right, i guess it wouldn't really matter, i just wanted to know if you guys think that would work and if there would be any downfalls that i am not aware of.

    what my plan is, and PLEASE, let me know if any of this is a bad idea/won't work/etc, is to sign up for an account on every page i can find that has a complaint about this email regarding my site, and respond to the complaint as the owner of the site with a good, well written explanation and a link to my site's page that explains the scam(the page name will be something like mysite.com/mysite-paypal-scam-explanation or something like this). i figure this way i get a backlink to my site and explain to everyone reading my side at the same time. multiply this by 100's of complaints (ugh!) and that's gotta be enough to outrank the complaints, right?
     
  13. pspparty

    pspparty Registered Member

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    I think your worrying about it too much. Search engine traffic is going to find your site by product keywords and not your website name. So again, why worry about it? Spend the time promoting your product pages and not your website name.