Recently my friend Paul Counts was duped by a scammer who is targeting Internet marketers.
In case you don’t know Paul, he’s proven himself to be one of the “good guys” in our industry, who upholds integrity and treats his customers right. It seems like it’s often the good people who fall prey to scammers, because they tend to trust people.
There are always plenty of scams happening online, and I’ve been scammed a few times myself. It’s NOT fun, and to be a victim is one of the worst feelings you can experience. Most people can probably relate to this at some point in their life.
What makes this story unique from the millions is that the scammer actually CONFESSED his scam and told Paul some of the details of his scamming methods.
In spite of confessing to one of his victims, I do not believe the scammer has been caught, and I DO believe he’s still perpetuating his scams. I’d like to share the details with you, so that you can be aware of this particular scam, as well as gain insight that may help you avoid other scams in the future.
DETAILS OF THE SCAM
The scammer posted an ad in a popular Internet marketing forum, advertising an “ad swap”. He claimed to have an opt-in list of 35k subscribers, whom he would email for his side of the swap. The other marketer participating in the swap would email his/her list on behalf of the scammer first.
Unfortunately, the scammer did not have a list. He was duping Internet marketers into sending out his promotions, in exchange for nothing.
VARIATION OF THE SCAM:
An ad was posted in the Warrior Forum advertising a “solo ad” to a 50k opt-in list, for $287. Several Internet marketers bought this offer, but received nothing in return.
One victim was Socrates Socratous, a well-known Internet marketer who paid $500 in a deal with the above scammer, and $450 to another (or maybe the same) scammer the same day.
Due to the nature of the scam, I think it is very possible that Paul’s scammer is the same guy.
PAUL’S PLEA TO THE SCAMMER:
After the scammer failed to fulfill his end of the deal, Paul sent him this email:
I really wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt here, but the longer it is taking you to respond to me really tells me that you probably didn’t intend to hold up your end of the deal and promote for me. I hope I am wrong here, but your screen shot showed my offer qued up and it should have taken you just a few minutes to check on what happened. Instead it is terribly apparent that you deleted my ad after you sent me the screen shot. Again, correct me if I am wrong here about this situation.
My main point is that we setup a solo ad as something that is mutually beneficial for both of us. I ended up just promoting your squeeze page and building your list with my valued subscribers, and in return I got nothing from you. My goal with ad swaps is to also build up mutually beneficial JV relationships where I promoted your products in the future and such.
I like to work with people and recommend people and offer that I can trust myself. Please forgive me for the harsh tone here, but Andy I am sure you can understand my position here.
I really hope that I am wrong and that we can resolve this issue soon.
THE SCAMMER’S CONFESSION
Here is his reply to Paul’s email. I have highighted certain portions to draw attention to them…
From: Andrew Tudor
Date: Tue, Mar 15, 2011 at 10:06 AM
Subject: Re: Ad Swap – From Warrior Forum
To: Paul Counts
You are entirely correct! The reason I did this is because I don’t possess a list of 35,000 subscribers. I also understand exactly what you are saying about building a mutually beneficial JV relationship and I do apologize if I have caused you any inconvenience, I completely understand your position and you have every right to take a harsh tone, I should say that I am surprised that you consider your tone to be currently harsh because I know that many would be quite pissed off in this situation, I respect your reasonable attitude and yes initially I had no intention to hold my end of the deal, simply because it wasn’t possible for me and if I could have, then of course I would have, hey… at least I am being honest here and not continuing to provide you with BS as I am sure many others would.
You are obviously an intelligent man and everything you said was entirely correct. I have been scamming people on the Warrior Forum with solo ads, which they paid for, in your case I think you have lost less, or at least I really hope so because I understand what you say about trust and providing me with opt-ins, but I am still happy to send your ad out for you as it’s already evident to you that I am trying to build a list here. The guys who have been scammed were sent emails to confirm, however most were actually reasonable and as I made sense of the situation and explained that PayPal disputes would not work and that they could open them and I explained that I would just win and walk away, however I did request that those who wanted another option could avoid this by instead being reasonable with me about it and understanding my situation.
My name is not Andy Tudor, I have actually been in IM a very long time but have only just at this point started trying to aquire a list. Now, I really hate scamming or dishonest business, but recently hit a very hard financial time stuck deep in debt and having my family to provide for which is my 4 year old daughter Jasmine and partner Annie, I have gone down the dishonest route which has not been pleasant, but it provided me with what I required in the current circumstances.
So yeah, the solo ads would have done that alone but I wanted swaps because I wanted to get started with a list and then possibly start working my way up, the problem is with solo ads that many of my customers have complained that they can’t find good solo ads anywhere, so even though I considered this option for starting my list, this put me off.
Now I am not going to lie to you, as talking any more BS won’t get me any further so I might as well be honest here, I have never had to actually reply to any emails regarding swaps yet but I am sure I will have even more soon. The problem here is it’s indeed true that I have been unfair here, and I don’t know exactly what to say because on solo ads if I am to simply leave with a customers money then they have that to lose and by considering the fact they have nothing to lose by hearing me out and waiting for me to build my list so that I can eventually send out their ads is beneficial to them, and I do indeed intend to send out every one of them ads, for the customers that decided to not take what I said into consideration, they opened the disputes and soon after realized that I won them because it was a virtual good, I even explained this to them before but it’s their own fault for not listening on that.
I work through many different identities and own a VERY large amount of websites, this includes forums, membership sites, squeeze pages, product sales pages and quite a bit more. So the point I am trying to make is, that I could just return under a different identity anyway Paul, and I currently have another 58 swaps this week using many different identities. I have revealed my real name to many of the solo ad buyers and shown them my work.
So what exactly do I want? – Ideally, being beneficial to both of us here, I would like to at least offer to send out your ad when I have established an adequate sized list instead of running off with your subscribers, I don’t see the harm in you taking up this offer? – Also, I feel that contacts are far better to have with internet marketing and although I have been slightly influenced by other scammers and my situation, I really dislike working in this dishonest way.
So here you have the full truth, I can’t really explain much further and of course if you find it unacceptable, well that’s up to you really isn’t it? – However, consider my offer because I ask nothing in return, you have provided your side of the deal and when I can, I would feel better if I could return what you have offered rather than running away. Considering, either way will not really bother me too much, I think you are a good person and you certainly don’t deserve this, I am sorry.
I have many skills that lead to me becoming involved in internet marketing, I also am quite knowledgable on the subject and offer any advice. I understand my wrong-doing here, but theres no need to treat me like I don’t understand exactly what I am doing, this is all well planned and I know exactly what I am doing here, So now in regards to my last statement marked in “bold” font: What exactly do you want? – By all means let me know, as I wish to provide whatever I can on my end and remember Paul that this doesn’t mean you should go thinking you are better than myself for example, sure you carry out business in a more honest way but what I mean is, before you go refusing my offer and complaining, the solution here is to simply be reasonable with me because maybe I have something of benefit to you – I hope so anyway.
After Paul replied to the above email (the reply is not included here, as I don’t feel it’s necessary), “Andy” the scammer decided to add to his confession in another email to Paul, which is excerpted below…
I do have a list, it’s just not 35,000 subscribers at all, I have done lot’s of work in photoshop, website design and sony vegas, basically for the AWeber screenshot I simply used firebug in Firefox to modify the code and took the screenshot, of course if I wanted to I could have managed with photoshop fine but it just pointlessly takes that little bit longer and of course when I modify code, I don’t usually have to worry about anything being out of place even by 1 pixel, unless I make a mistake but that’s never happend so far. It’s like the ClickBank login videos that you see, some may appear very realistic but it’s a simple job of matching the frames between 2 different clips, I do understand that theres a safe-swaps site if you want to find swaps more safely but I had even questioned that immediately to the fact I could program a bot to enter email addresses into a form and then verfiy that I have a large list, I have never done so because I see it as a waste of time and I would be paying increased AWeber charges for fake/bot generated email addresses…
(UPDATE: Added 03/18/11, 1:35PM)
After posting this to my blog, I received another of Andy’s confessionals, which was received by Internet marketer Socrates Socratous. Socrates was scammed by Andy Tudor, and by Dave Rivera (aka Monta on the Warrior Forum), who may or may not be the same person.
Socrates submitted PayPal disputes, which were ruled in favor of the scammers by PayPal (due to the digital goods loophole). After Andy won the dispute, he sent this email to Socrates:
Well, it appears I have won that dispute… so I have changed my mind. The NO REFUNDZ policy now applies.
I look forward working with you again in the future, I will spend the more wisely, don’t worry!
I am going to enjoy a nice cigar, which might seem a waste of money but it’s just to celebrate your failure, the sweet and smokey taste of success..
It’s only $450 man, it’s not much at all, but I guess with all the others out there that I clearly SCAMMED, it all adds up at the end of each and every day!
You are indeed the idiot that fell into the scamtrap. How’s that for disrespect? – You think your money was enough? No, please… it’s the pure enjoyment of scamming you that makes it worthwhile.
I suggest you get onto your credit card company Socrates, it’s obviously a bad sign if you had to use a CREDIT card to purchase a solo ad, what’s wrong? Out of money? I hope you starve.
Subsequently, Socrates did file a complaint with his credit card company, and DID receive his money back through a chargeback.
(End of updated section)
I could give a lot of my own commentary here about…
…how the scammer justifies his actions by his circumstances, and his “good conscience”…
…how he arrogantly talks of winning Paypal disputes, and has the guts to blame his victims for not listening to him…
…how he is STILL trying to scam Paul and CONTROL the situation in his emails, and even goes so far as to compare himself to Paul…
…the fact that he “feels bad” about it, yet has another 58 VICTIMS lined up already in the next week under his various scammer aliases…
But I’ll leave the bulk of the commentary to you. Please post your comments below.
And most importantly, beware of scammers like “Andy”. As the scammer himself confessed: Anything on your computer screen could be fake. Just because something looks real, that doesn’t mean it’s real.
At the same time, not everything is fake. There are plenty of legitimate opportunities, and there’s plenty of money to be made online. So take this knowledge and apply it to your personal “filter”, as you determine what’s real and what’s not.
Have a great day!
(UPDATE: Added 03/21/11, 2:40PM)
Just a quick update to let everyone know that Mike Filsaime has contacted his rep at PayPal to notify them about the scammer, and PayPal has confirmed that their risk department is taking care of the scammer’s accounts. Thanks Mike. The guys at AWeber have also been notified, and I was told that their security department is handling it as well.