|Received professional scam email today|
Today I received an email which was directed to one of our clients. It was a professionally written email to promote an exhibition where they invited my client to participate. The exhibition website which they linked to contained several hundreds of pages with professionally written content, photo and video galleries, press releases and lists of proposed participants. It must have taken thousands of man-hours to create that site. The domain name was carefully chosen. They offered pre-paid exhibition space in a first-class exhibition center in the near future in a foreign country.
The only weird thing were a few spelling errors on places where you wouldn't expect them and a floor plan of the exhibition center which didn't list the actual exhibitors. These few minor things were enough red flags for me to investigate further.
Although the organization claimed to be in business for many years, the domain was only recently registered. And at the dates they mentioned there wasn't an exhibition of that kind planned in the exhibition center they mentioned.
I am sure many people they contacted won't do the thorough checking I have done and will pay to have a cheap opportunity to promote their business.
I have seen many Internet scams over the years, but this was the first which had such a high quality that it was almost impossible to see the difference with a legitimate business.
And I'll bet those "thousands of man-hours" were actually spent by the sites where they scraped their content from ; )
This sounds similar to a phony-trade-show scam in Boston last March that defrauded a lot of people in the wedding sector:
There was quite some original content on this site, with the spelling errors which catched my eye. The niche was very specific--a niche which doesn't have much equivalent exhibitions where they could scrape from--and the personalized email was sent to exactly the right person in the organization. With several hundred pages indexed in Google and a backlink profile without too much spammy links they really did significant work to get this all running.
If you put that much effort into it ... why not just get a legit job?
Isn't that the purpose of stealing and fraud, its easier.
|Although the organization claimed to be in business for many years, the domain was only recently registered. And at the dates they mentioned there wasn't an exhibition of that kind planned in the exhibition center they mentioned. |
To be fair, I can see a legit (albeit sloppy) company doing this. In fact, almost the exact same scenario happened to a former client.
They had an existing site for many years, running the same travel trade show at the same venue each year. After we stopped working with them, they stupidly forgot to renew the domain name (which got snapped up by a squatter), so they had to register a new domain name. (Note- even though they were no longer our client, we actually sent half a dozen messages to them reminding them to renew, but their new consultant never got around to it.) When they updated the content (their new consultant also was not fluent in English), the low-level/low-paid person changed the years for the dates, but not the actual months/days of the event. That year's trade show was moved up 1 month because of a scheduling conflict. Also, they had no real competition, so no other place from where they could scrape data.
So in their case, the red flags of spelling mistakes, recent domain registration, and incorrect dates were just indications of sloppy work, not any attempt to defraud. My guess is that all the companies who paid were advised of the correct show dates.
However, given the red flags, I completely agree with your assessment that additional investigation was certainly needed.
|If you put that much effort into it ... why not just get a legit job? |
The profit margins are better on trade shows when you don't actually put them on.