There is a yet another scam website in town. The website is seogalaxy.net – not to be confused with seogalaxy.com. This isn’t just another make-money scam. It uses false employments to carry out their criminal activities.
CTV Calgary ran a story on one of the victims a couple of days ago.
A Calgary woman, Peggy Weidinger, was looking for a job online and came across seogalaxy.net. She did her research on the company before going ahead, but it turned up no red flags. She took the job.
The job involved helping small international companies advertise on North American search engines like Google.
SeoGalaxy told Weidinger to open a bank account so it could deposit funds to buy ad space and $4500 was electronically deposited into her account.
After calling the bank to make sure the funds were there, Weidinger wired $4200 supposedly to a Russian advertising firm to purchase “Google ad vouchers” which she would use to buy advertising space on Google.
Several days later her bank called and said the $4500 had actually come from an innocent person’s bank account that the scammers had somehow gained access to.
The bank said that they expected Weidinger to repay the $4200 that she’d wired out.
Fortunately, the bank changed its mind and told Weidinger that in light of the facts, she would not have to repay the money.
This home work scam was well conceived and the website, employment documents and even the job itself all appeared to be legitimate.
A spokesperson for Google said that they didn’t have details about this particular scam but that the company does not provide or endorse anything called “Google ad vouchers.”
The funny thing is this criminal company advertises itself as “SeoGalaxy.com” a completely unrelated company. Their site title is, “SeoGalaxy.Com – Website Optimization, Google Site Promotion, Advertising Campaign Optimization, Banner Advertising, White SEO”. If you visit seogalaxy.com, this is what you see on the front page.
If this fraud is causing a significant headache for SeoGalaxy.com, you can imagine how many poor job seekers were taken advantage of by SeoGalaxy.net.
I don’t expect this website to last long. Once they’ve milked the business for a while, they’ll get shut down or the operators will, themselves, move on to another domain.
I have to say, though, it is impressive how fast these criminals get visitors to their websites and have a high conversion ratio within such a short period of time. The domain was only created on September 3, 2009.
With all the new, never-seen-before, scams popping up, you can’t simply rely on a Google search. You have to be able to analyze the business for yourself. In this case, they wanted Weidinger to open a bank account for transfer purposes; this is always a red flag. Criminals securely move their funds this way.
Also, research not only the company but the job itself. If she had searched for “Google ad vouchers,” she would have realized something was up.
It seems scammers are putting more time and effort into designing their websites. Take a look at the screenshot. It’s very professional looking.
Job searching is stressful as it is. Now, these ass-holes are adding to the stress. I have more sympathy for people who fall for these scams because they are looking for legitimate jobs unlike others who are looking for that “no experience needed, work 3 hours a week, make thousands a day” opportunities.
UPDATE (Oct. 30, 2009): It seems seogalaxy.net is no more. However, a new one has popped up. “SEOMOSAIC.COM” –> This one is likely run by the same criminal group. Identical scheme… avoid.