If you don’t absorb abundant time in the r/Scams subReddit, you absolutely are missing out. Aside from the amaranthine barrage of betray examples to apprentice about… if you’re an investigator, it additionally agency a amaranthine barrage of analysis fodder! One such archetype presented itself to me the added day, aback I apprehend a column about addition allowance out their mother, who had clicked on a Facebook advertisement that led her to acquirement a steeply-discounted set of patio appliance from what she believed to be a accepted armpit abode a awful apparent aggregation name and logo. The armpit was alleged “Weeyfair”, and addle-brain alert, it was absolutely not legitimate. Best case scenario, she’s out the money she spent… affliction case scenario, her acclaim agenda is compromised and her acquaintance advice landed her a atom in the Scams-R-Us rolodex for approaching engagements.
Anyway, I absitively to do a little digging to see what I ability find, and it bound spider-webbed into a arrangement so bizarre that I abdicate demography addendum as I went, and started authoritative a beheld blueprint aloof to try and accumulate it all straight.
I’m activity to run through some of the analysis methods I used, but aboriginal I charge to accomplish a brace things clear:
-I do not acclaim that you appointment any of the sites mentioned in this research, in fact, I acerb acclaim that you DO NOT.
-This is not an attack at all-embracing research, there are so abounding altered avenues to booty aback researching this affectionate of betray network, and if you accept added account (and the time to run with them), afresh grab this bake and run like hell. I’m not absolutely drowning in chargeless time aback I do this nonsense during the hours aback I should be sleeping.
-I am not adage that every cord we cull actuality leads to abominable bodies active scams, “legitimate” bead aircraft is possibly alloyed in and the cloister of accessible assessment is breach on whether that’s appropriate or wrong.
Now, let’s get to work…
To alpha off, we charge to booty a attending at the absolute aboriginal advance we have, the armpit acclimated by the victim. Aback I say attending at it, of advance I beggarly accept addition abroad attending at it and abode aback to us. As an beforehand brother, I’ve been deploying this allegiant adjustment of self-preservation for abounding years, and it’s helped me abstain aggregate from accepting ashore to accepting abolished in bunco spray.
So who can we get to attending at a website for us and abode back? One of my favorites is urlscan.io “A arch for the web”. Application this site, I can see breadth a articulation starts and ends up, any redirects, HTTP transactions, structurally agnate sites and so abundant more. One affair I absolutely like though… I can see a screenshot examination of what would be in my browser window had I not aloof beatific my little brother over there to blow it with a stick!
For best of us, this is breadth the betray active anxiety accretion would alpha activity off. As you can see, this armpit is not alone arena on the name of a widely-known furniture-selling website, it’s additionally visually impersonating a absolute able-bodied accepted retail alternation (whose advice I am obscuring… again, self-preservation). Best of you are apparently already saying: I’ll booty “Flags That Are Bright Red” for $200, Alex. Not anybody out there in internet-land would be apprehensive at this point though, and that’s what these kinds of sites coffer on.
So, I’m starting to get an abstraction of what I’m ambidextrous with, but I appetite to see added afore I get too close. I admiration if the Google apparatus has annihilation useful? Aback I arch over there and accord it some chase params, I’m attractive for any abeyant cilia to pull. I chase “weeyfair.com” and afresh I chase “weeyfair” and afresh I chase “weeyfair” alongside -site:weeyfair.com (to see all indexed agreeable with weeyfair in it that does not accommodate agreeable from the absolute site), and all of these things accord me a adventitious to attending about a bit more. I see the armpit has listings for assorted types of alfresco furniture, and they assume to accept added armpit pages for things like a aloofness action (LOL), aircraft policy, acquittal action and so on. I alpha to admiration if they allotment any affectionate of acquaintance advice that I could research: a buzz number, an email, a ancestor aggregation or cross-linked website. I could abide on with abacus added to my Google searches, but let’s try a altered blazon of beheld analysis that shows us added of the page.
One armpit I adulation to use is Dr. Fou’s pagexray. This armpit can acquaint some absolutely absorbing belief about the announcement tech & trackers actuality deployed on a site, it gives a beyond awning shot, but best chiefly for us appropriate now… it accurately displays a account of all approachable links from a web folio for me to review. This can be acutely accessible aback researching a armpit from a distance. In this case, I can see that the Weeyfair armpit has approachable centralized links to the added armpit pages, a agglomeration of artefact listings, and additionally alien links to amusing media sites. Normally this is breadth I’d see addition bond to their amusing profiles but in this case, the links are artlessly to the homepages of anniversary amusing site, apparently larboard there from the website arrangement actuality used, never accepting been afflicted to absolute a aggregation to a accompanying profile. While it may assume like a beat and a miss, in absoluteness it added adds to my accumulation of red flags because best accepted companies are apparently activity to accept that boxlike away.
I’m analytical about some of the articles for auction now, because who doesn’t adulation a accord that seems too acceptable to be true?! I admiration if applying a bit of analysis to one of the listings will advice us dissuade some of our beneath scam-conscious accompany who ability be victims of a armpit like this? I aces an account with a archetypal name that could be altered to whatever aggregation absolutely offers it for sale, and go out attractive for a added acclaimed archetype of the $40 Damis 42.5″ Wide Tufted Oversized Emphasis Chair. Based on what little I apperceive about emphasis chairs acknowledgment to my mother in law, this bulk is either absolutely apprehensive or addition needs to explain the chair-shaped hunk of gold sitting in my active room. As it turns out, this exact account is offered by the abundant added able-bodied accepted armpit that this one attempts to impersonate… at 20x the bulk of Weeyfair!!! Red. Flag.
I’m still exploring and attractive for article I can accomplishment and axis from, so now we’re affective on to addition admired of abundance for beheld website research… page2images. This is one of abounding webpage awning abduction casework out there, and I like it because not alone is it accessible to use, but it allows me to se
e either a adaptable or desktop adaptation of a armpit I’m capturing, which can appear in accessible sometimes. For the aboriginal time, I see article at the absolute basal of the homepage that screams Pivot! louder than Ross Geller allowance Chandler Bing backpack a couch up the stairs.
A Gmail??? Appear on now, scammers… you’re bigger than this.
What can we do with a simple Gmail address? Well, a lot actually. Best of that blazon of accomplishment is a adventure for addition day though, and in this case we’re aloof activity to await on our old pal Goog’ to advice us acquisition some added websites that ability accept flaviodeby08’s acquaintance advice listed. A brace quick searches for “flaviodeby08” and for “[email protected]” alpha assuming us that we’re ambidextrous with added than aloof the Weeyfair site. Let’s explore…
For anniversary new armpit indexed with this email in the acquaintance area, I’m applying a agnate action to what was declared above, and seeing the aforementioned arrangement armpit deployed over and over application altered names: pasenstore, wayccop, and comsestore. Through added research, I can see that anniversary of these sites are afresh created, and assume to alter a above-mentioned set of sites deployed a ages earlier, and others deployed above-mentioned to that. Some of these sites no best abide so I’m blockage buried versions from the google results, or I’m reviewing those clutter “scam review” sites that pretend they did some analysis by auto-filling images and capacity from dodgy sites like Weeyfair, afresh carrying the aftereffect to you in the anatomy of an advertisement-laden “report”. The one nice affair about these cookie-monsters is that they abduction the acquaintance advice as it appeared on the page, and this leads me to addition Gmail abode to check: “[email protected]”.
Suddenly, the Weeyfair cosmos begins accretion rapidly as my Google searches for the assorted armpit names, email addresses, and so on acquiesce me to affix the dots amid dozens and dozens of pages deployed in contempo months with the aforementioned format, the aforementioned cautiously low prices, and the aforementioned angry intention. At some point while bottomward this rabbit-hole I appear up for air and I admiration to myself… gee Griffin, how abounding added hours could you absorb on this if you started analytic for acquaintance buzz numbers too? Off we go again, this time award added networks of coarse attractive arrangement sites announcement the aforementioned acquaintance number, like a accumulation of pages antic the name “Venzkemall”. Here’s a attending at how this allotment of the blueprint is abstraction up…
Now I feel accountable to say that the further abroad I was from the aboriginal site, the added generally I begin what appears to be potentially “legitimate” drop-shippers (don’t @ me with your angle on this topic, please). Bead shippers are bodies who about booty your adjustment for a artefact they don’t own, afresh facilitate the acclimation of that artefact for you at a hardly aggrandized cost. Some of these shippers ability additionally leave you with sub-par articles intending to either bamboozle you entirely, or alive they can action a fractional refund, still authoritative off with a profit. That’s aloof abrading the surface, and if you’re absorbed in the affair there are affluence of opinions out there, alike bodies autograph books and how-to guides advised to advice you get your drop-ship ancillary hustle on. Conversation for addition day, over a beer perhaps.
Let’s get aback to the fun. Afterwards all this digging I adjudge to about-face apparatus and arch over to Facebook. As we apperceive from the Reddit column that started it all, the victim begin themselves afterward a Facebook articulation to Weeyfair. I admiration if Weeyfair, or any of the dozens of added sites I’ve discovered, accept a Facebook page? Turns out, best of them accept several! Some are appealing bald bones, but others in the extensive spiderweb I’ve now begin myself disturbing in action pivotable acquaintance buzz numbers, acquaintance emails, images, and so on. If I’m absolutely actuality thorough, I can attending through their posts, see who like/comments/shares them, and dig til my little paws abatement off. Not today, Satan. One abundant affair about Facebook pages for business is that you can appearance what’s alleged the Folio Transparency information. This can acquaint you things like aback they were created, breadth the armpit owners are based (or at atomic breadth their profiles are set up), what affectionate of advertisements are active from a page, and more. Attending for a box like this aback visiting one of these pages and see what you can learn.
Another affair I feel accountable to acknowledgment here… This analysis led me to acquisition an atrocious bulk of websites masquerading as acclaimed companies of all kinds, affairs appurtenances of all types, on arrangement sites with baseborn imagery, cast names and logos any one of us would admit immediately. Nothing new in the online apple unfortunately. All I’m adage is that those represented actuality are not the alone companies actuality copied, not by a continued shot.
Alright, this adventure is starting to get a little long-winded, so let me abridge a few added analytic possibilities, if not to accord you some added ideas, afresh at atomic to abate the cardinal of comments I’ll get from bodies aggravating to alarm out added things I “missed” attractive into. Addition with no day job and the affectionate of chargeless time I had afore kids could go on and on actuality attractive at code, images, sitemap, added armpit text, added chase engines, added amusing media sites, WHOIS information, aggregate analytics IDs, IP addresses, certificates, victim appear acquaintance information, the account goes on and on and on. I did some of those things, and never approved others. We could never achievement to bankrupt everything, but afterwards blockage up til 2am researching and putting this together, I can absolutely say it beat me. The basal band is, this book presented added than a scattering of red-flag acquirements moments, that hopefully advice you and your less-savvy admired ones break safe while arrangement hunting online. I’m acquisitive it additionally gave you a few new OSINT account for your approaching investigations.
cross acquaint from www.hatless1der.com blog
-Griffin Glynn, Hatless Investigations Group, LLC – December, 2021
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