scammers and fraudsters

Was unlockamobile.co.uk originally a scam site?

We registered this domain name in April of 2021 and the reason we picked it was because we wanted a domain name that was associated with scams, and this had 31 reviews on Trustpilot, every one of which was bad with complaints about them taking money but not providing the service.

Now I am not saying for a moment that previous owners of this site were scammers. They may have been tryers who bit off more than they could chew. They may have hit personal problems that we don't know about. However it is still possible that they were out and out crooks. Either way it seems that a lot of people who dealt with them handed over money but got nothing back in return.

The scam epidemic

There have been scams on the Internet ever since the early days. Dating sites were targeted by low lifes who fleeced lonely people by pretending to be potential partners, often sending (completely fake) photos of themselves. They would then arrange to meet but all of a sudden there would be an unexpected snag which required some quick cash; and could some be mailed to them as soon as possible? Sending that cash inevitably led to further requests for even more money until the victim realised that something was very wrong! The fraudsters would them break off communications and vanish. Trace them? They always used throwaway email addresses and false mailing addresses. Complain to the police? That person who claimed to be a 25 year old blond lady in Spain or 60 year old retired US Navy pilot could bell be a young geek in Russia or an habitual criminal from the Ivory Coast. The police simply gaven't the resources to trace people like that.

The 'have to get money out' fraud

One of the most popular; particularly from Nigeria (which is why it's called the Nigerian Scam); was the guy claiming to have money, that he had aquired illegally, that he need to get out of the country; and he just so happened to pick on victims to help him because of an introduction via an unnamed 'mutual friend'. A large reward for assistance would be offered but it was essential that complete privacy was maintained in case the authorities found out.

A huge number of gullible, greedy people who, let's face it, were perfectly willing to be involved in illegal activities, fell for this; and some still do. Needless to say, some complication requiring cash payments for legal costs, bribes or any other excuses a criminal mind could imagine would suddenly crop up but no problem, the fortune would be in the victim's bank account a few days after the required cash was transferred - via Wells Fargo ideally. You can guess the rest - many people actually re-mortgaged their homes to fund these transfers, and then had to admit that no only had they lost everything, but had done so by being involved in an operation that they knew would have been illegal - if it had existed!

The charity fraud

A small charity receives a letter from a firm of solicitors in a foreign country informing them that someone has died and left their fortune to them. A short while later another letter arrives; there has been a snag, a sister or friend or whatever has challenged the will but is prepared to accept a relatively small (in comparison to the bequest) payoff so can this be sent straight away? You can guess the rest.

The 'confirm your details' scam

You get a pre-recordered phone call or an email. Someone has made a withdrawal from your bank account. Amazon is about to take a payment you knew nothing about. A friend you know is on holiday (see the Facebook Scandal below) is in hospital and needs some money quickly. A parcel cannot be delivered and there is a fee to pay.

Unlike the crude Nigerian Scam emails many of these can be very convincing and can even involve 'couriers' (actually criminal accomplices) calling on the victims, claiming to help them. All these are scams designed to either take money from you or get hold of your credit card details.

The Facebook scandal

When Facebook became popular criminals all over the world rubbed their hands together. Here were millions, then billions, of mugs giving them all the information they needed to rob them! Identity theft exploded. Burglaries became easy; and why not with so many people putting information online which could be used to find out their addresses, and financial status, and then posting photos of their holidays! Having informed the friendly local burglars of the fact that they were away from home on the Algarve all that they could do to make a robbery easier was tell which brick the spare key was under. And some poor fools even did that.

The ultimate Facebook scandal, however, was when 500 million Facebook details were not only hacked but released online! Now HALF a BILLION names, email addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, location, employer and relationship status and facebook logins! Up to the time of writing this (April 2021) Facebook has still not informed the people affected by this incredible risk that they are now under.

We can now expect a deluge of phone calls from scammers claiming to be from a potential victim's bank or building society. Facebook accounts will be altered by the malicious to help them perpetrate further frauds that we haven't even dreamed of yet. Identity theft will go into overdrive. People will lose their life savings and their lives will be devastated. In the meanwhile Facebook and Google will continue to hoover up personal information about billions of people; information that no-one can guarantee to keep out of the hands of criminals.

The danger of Google

Google extracts billions of pounds from the Internet every week. This money comes out of the pockets of people like you who buy products online. And yet it creates nothing. How does it earn this money?

Many years ago Google was an excellent search engine. Now it has become one of the wealthiest companies in the world by blurring the difference between search results and advertisements.

What do you see when you look for, for instance, car insurance on Google? First of all there will be ads at the top for price comparison sites. These do not sell car insurance, but make money by charging insurance companies a hefty fee for passing enquiries on to them.

So, when you but a policy you not only pay the insurer but the price comparison site that introduced you to the insurer, but also the hefty fee that Google charges the comparison site for the advertisement you clicked on in the first place.

So can't you just go straight to the search results and ignore the advertisements?

Yes, if you can find the search results. They will be buried under boxes and popups with cute titles such as 'People Also Ask', 'Related Searches', 'Find results on', as well as maps, Youtube videos (Google owns Youtube of course) and all kinds of junk designed to keep you clicking ads rather than reaching the proper search results.

And when you finally get to these search results, what do you see? At the top you are likely to find those same comparison sites, which pay so much fore their advertisements, rather than the insurance companies themselves! A coincidence of course. It has been claimed that Google employees have stated that advertisers who spend a lot of money buying Google advertisements het favoured positions in the unbiased (??) search results. That has to be untrue of course. No ethical company will behave like that. Definitely not. No way.

How Google and Facebook threaten your personal security

Both of these Internet giants hoover up your personal data to use for their own purposes. You don't even have to be on Google's site for them to do this; about 70% of sites on the Internet (certainly not this one) contain tracking data which reports everything back to Google. They know who you are, where you are right now, where you have been, what you have bought, what sites you have visited and how long you've spent on them. Plus lots more besides.

This would be bad enough if this data was secure. However guaranteeing this is not possible. Recently personal data hacked from Facebook, and containing personal details of over five hundred million people, was released over the Intenet, putting these innocent people in great danger from criminals and fraudsters. What will happen if Google, with their massive store of personal information about you, gets hacked?

What can you do to protect yourself?

Stop using Google. There are better search engines now such as duck.com (otherwise known as duckduckgo) which gives better search results, without the mass of ads on Google, but also DOES NOT STEAL YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION.

Also, preferably stop using Facebook and delete your account (although bear in mind that there will still, probably, be a copy of it on their servers) but at least be aware that anything you post can be read by any criminal in the world. Facebook may claim your postings can only be read by your 'friends' but this is simply not true; hacking scripts are freely available online for those who want to take the trouble to spy on you.

And no, we have not been asked by duck.com to publicise them, and have neither received a penny from them nor do we ever wish to. They are, quite simply, a far better search engine than what the Google Advertising Agency (which is facing massive lawsuits all over the world, particularly in the United States) has deteriorated into.