WebTradeBureau.com Pushes Yet Another Useless Seal
Yesterday, we alerted you to an online scammer who’d hacked the site of a trade association and used their legitimate-looking e-mails to dupe consumers into clicking on their fraudulent work-from-home site. At the end of the post, we mentioned that we’d found a phony seal of approval from an outfit called the “Web Trade Bureau,” which deemed the scam site a five-star, “trusted site.”
As we noted yesterday, apart from classic hallmarks of a work-at-home scam site, “Make Money From Home Guaranteed! $750 Every Day!” is in a class by itself, since it’s loaded with badware and tries to install a worm on your machine when you visit the site.
So what kind of organization calls that a “five-star trusted site?”
This kind. Although the seal of approval wasn’t linked, it wasn’t too hard to find http://webtradebureau.com via Google, and an underwhelming site it is, right down to the welcome from one Gary Sullivan, the WebTradeBureau’s “Senior Commissioner.”
From the WebTradeBureau.com Commissioner......
Our mission at WebTradeBureau.com is to act as an advocate for consumers so that they are able to make well informed decisions when shopping on the Internet for goods and services. We sign up for services test their products, investigate their offers, and score their services and customer service capabilities.
We also visit other review websites and consumer fraud reporting entities like the Better Business Bureau and the Internet Fraud Taskforce to insure that the companies we review and maintain on our system continue to uphold our high standards.
We investigate dozens and dozens of sites and instead of publishing all the substandard sites we give you the cream of the crop so you can be sure of receiving quality goods and services with the highest levels of customer service and each site must have a money back guarantee.
It all sounds very official and reassuring, so we decided to write to Commissioner Sullivan to ask his bureau to review Consumer Reports WebWatch. We'll let you know if we hear back from him.
Second, when you right-click on Commission Sullivan's picture to view his image, the URL (http://click-space.com/electronics/gary.jpg) triggers a McAfee SiteAdviser alert: "In our tests, we found downloads on this site that some people consider adware, spyware or other potentially unwanted programs." How can this happen to the Senior Commissioner of the WebTradeBureau? Maybe it's the work of the Russian Business Network?
This site, "Own a Free House," features (surprise surprise!) Commissioner Sullivan, who asks:
-Do you need to get out of debt?
-Are you sick and tired of paying for a mortgage month after month?
-Would you like to keep the money you pay for your house, instead of giving it to the bank?
-Would you like to own a FREE house (any house, even your dream house)?
-Would you like to save HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of Dollars on mortgage interest?
-Would you like to INCREASE your personal assets by $237,000.00 or more?
Who wouldn't? So what's the catch? "This Amazing Video Shows You Exactly How To Get a FREE HOUSE, and YES, that's ANY HOUSE you choose!" Ah ha. How does one obtain this video? First, scroll down the long page, past the photos of happy families in front of their (presumably) free houses, until you arrive at the bottom of the page: "For More Information About The Video, CLICK HERE."
Clicking on that link takes you to a similar site, except for the white background, (as opposed to black). Though the domain name changed from "webtradebureau.com" to "dreamjobsathome.com," we were relieved to see it's a WebTradeBureau five-star site. . . After scrolling past testimonials from several picture-perfect families, we arrived at this link: CLICK HERE TO ACCESS THE VIDEO, and found ourselves on a secure checkout form:
Product Name: How To Get A Free House
Product Type: Downloadable
Seller: Ebiz Depot
Total Amount: $29.00
Finally, we found this notice on the bureau's homepage:
WebTradeBureau 'seal of approval' logos displayed on websites must be clickable, linking back to our site. If a website displaying our seal does not link back to our site, contact us immediately at: firstname.lastname@example.org to verify our approval.
Accordingly, we felt it was our duty to send them the malware-laden site where we first encountered their logo. We'll let you know if we hear back.