Not an online scam – but one being fought online. Lets just hope Grant King has actually been able to go straight as claimed in the article.
A fraudster’s victim who fought back has won a landmark battle to name and shame the man who scammed him and dozens of others. Nearly two and a half years ago, Steve Taylor contracted Grant Norman King to build a sleepout for his elderly father behind the family home in West Auckland. Taylor paid three-quarters of the price – $23,500 – as a deposit. The sleepout was never built and the money was not returned. In a bid to get even, Taylor brought civil proceedings against King but when the cost of continuing the case became prohibitive, he took a different tack, setting up the website grantnormanking.com with the intention of warning others who might be drawn in. Within months other victims were clamouring to tell their stories and it was not long before Taylor built a comprehensive timeline of King’s offending.
Full article: Judge backs blogger’s fight against fraud
FWIW While I’ve met Steve Taylor, and haven’t met Grant King, I was unaware of this issue until today.
Sonia Klair started an online directory called NZ Look after she left NBO. From an outsider’s perspective both were being run as pro forma scams although Klair strenuously denied it. The Police, however, have had a successful proscecution and Sonia Klair has been handed down home detention.
Whatever your opinion of home detention it is a good day for small NZ businesses to have this prosecution. Both Klair and (ex?) husband Shallendra Singh relied on the individual loss being too small to warrant legal action – but they had so many successful hits (victims) that their income was significant.
NZ Herald: Home detention for $700k fake invoice scam
A former company director who fleeced $719,000 out of her victims by sending out false invoices has been sentenced to 10 months home detention.
Sonia Klair appeared at the Auckland District Court yesterday after pleading guilty to 64 charges brought by the Commerce Commission under the Crimes Act.
Between July 2008 and August 2010, Klair ran a business called NZ Look Ltd which engaged in false billing practices, also known as pro-forma invoicing.
Simon McLeod has created a directory he’s called GoogleDirectory and has been charging big bucks to have companies listed in it. Police from the financial crime unit are investigating and if you have had contact with this company you need to contact them – the more information and complainants they have, the better!Continue reading
We have a new entrant in the dodgy directory stakes: NZ Business Guide. I was asked to authorise a new listing and our account had somehow been “backdated 2 years”. That’s curious – the domain was registered for the very first time in April 2012.
I asked the woman who phoned who the company was owned by and she didn’t know. I asked who had interviewed her and she only knew her as “Natasha”. I suggested that perhaps she should do some homework before she took a job – to ensure the company would be able to pay her, if nothing else.
So, here’s what I know about the NZ Business Guide
What I don’t know is
- Who is Danny Kariam – I was left “on hold” while the operator asked around the office to try and find out who he is. As the website registrant I had expected him to be either the owner or the IT guy. Apparently not. Its not often Google comes up short on people’s names but apparently this guy is unique!
- Who is Kurt Weber? The address suggests a link with Kurt Weber Tiling but there are no exact matches.
I have no idea of this directory will “take off” and provide value to customers who sign up but on the basis of their current “SEO” or search engine optimisation efforts I’d suggest putting off a decision for a few months to see how they shape up.
I just had two calls from “Mary” saying she was doing a More FM survey on what kids do at school and we could win prizes for the best one. Didn’t sound right. Survey people don’t usually call from a cellphone to a cellphone. When queried about this she said it was the best she could do “when the phones are down”.
I asked if there was anything on the More FM website that talked about the survey. “Yeah”, when I said I was looking at the website and could she tell me where to find it she hung up.
Her number is 022 xxx 3435 (obscured because I don’t want to create more problems).
If it is legit I’ll remove this post but its after business hours so I wanted to put a warning out now because she is targeting children.
I’ve been alerted to a new directory to NZ’s overheated market – and it appears to be a reincarnation of National Business Online (NBO).
They contacted a client and tried to sign him up with a free extra year listing.
You’d think they could get the country’s name written right – New Zealand and not New zealand!
and we’re asked to
The site is registered to an Aryan Gill and the emails (firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com) don’t link to anything – which I always find curious. The phone number (given as 64 2 2102218059 and 64 21 02218059) links to a very busy account on Sella who is selling aviation equipment, property and employing a chef for Sangeet Indian Cuisine in Manukau.
What then catches my attention is what happens when you use Google to search for “NZKeyList” and you get 20 results where there should be 1 for every page in the site. 2 of the results link to this warning on Twitter:
The rest clearly link the site with NBO
Why would NZ Key List be calling themselves National Business Online if it wasn’t being run by the same people?
Why also would the search button on the screen be called “NBOsearchbutton.gif”?
If you look at their Contact Us page there is a form to fill in but not postal address or phone number. Their About Us page is insultingly bare.
I’d be really interested if anyone knows who this Aryan Gill really is because until then this directory is tainted by its association with NBO.
I’ve just been alerted to another “brand new” directory with barely any content, hardly indexed by Google (check this out – not promising). Funny how it is brand new but they are selling “renewals”.
UAskNow sports a lovely parrot which made one of their cold call recipients wonder if they are the same crowd as the non-starter U Ask Polly owned by Sonia Klair [more on UAskPolly].
I took a look through the site and they give no hint of the people behind their directory. Their phone numbers don’t appear to be linked to any other business:
The domain registration information is hidden and I would be wary of any company that doesn’t want you to know where they are physically located. Their “information pack” and “listing form” both omit a physical or postal address.
I was curious about how they had managed to get advertising for such a new site and cheekily started this twitter conversation
Its not hard to get accepted for Adsense advertising, or Adbrite or any of the others. So why have they got “fake” advertising on the site?
Read Motella’s post: A New Dodgy Business Guide?
This is a really serious problem reported in the NZ Herald this week and isn’t that far off the HP staff scam.
Aggressive foreign scammers are again targeting New Zealanders, this time by urging them to change settings on their computers in an attempt to obtain personal information.
Within the past two days, hundreds of people have received telephone calls from people claiming to be Microsoft employees or from IT companies in Dubai and NZ warning that their computers could be infected with a virus.
The caller – a man or a woman with a foreign accent on a poor line – asks for passwords, which they claim they need to get rid of the virus.
In some cases the caller has become aggressive and defensive when challenged by those who don’t believe the story.
Police say anyone who receives such a call should hang up.
Read the full article: Ring, ring: It’s your con artist speaking
It took 5 years and 257 complaints but the Commerce Commission have finally acted on NBO and all the spin off “businesses” operated by Shallendra Singh, Jitendra Singh and Sonia “All I ever did was work for him” Klair who just so happens to also be known as Sonia Singh.
Search into online scam
A fashion model’s internet business has been raided by the Commerce Commission in an unprecedented crackdown on alleged large-scale invoicing scams.
The glamorous 31-year-old is a model with Auckland agency Clyne, and is the sole shareholder and director of NZ Look Ltd, which publishes an internet directory.
On Tuesday, commission staff served a search warrant on NZ Look premises and removed 15 boxes of documents.
Klair, also known as Sonia Singh, had previously worked with other internet search directories that are also now caught up in a legal dragnet.
Klair refused to confirm her business was the subject of an investigation.
“Even if it is or isn’t, what’s that got to do with anything?” she said.
Stuart Wallace, enforcement manager of the commission, said five addresses in the Auckland region had been served with search warrants in an operation this week.
“Our staff have uplifted a great deal of material – there are computer records and a large number of documents,” he said.
The searches relate to internet search directories National Business Online (nbo.co.nz), New Zealand Business Online (nzbol.co.nz) and NZ Look (nzlook.co.nz).
Read the rest of the article online at the NZ Herald.
The NZ Herald’s Sideswipe column raises the alarm on a “Who’s Who New Zealand” which is using questionable techniques to lure advertisers.
Roger writes: “Someone called Jessica Smith has faxed us here in Ngaruawahia to tell us that our ‘business’ has been selected to be included in the 2010/2011 edition of ‘Who’s Who New Zealand’.
Our candidacy was approved on April 9 and Jessica tells us that this was done ‘by the Managing Director from information obtained from researched executive and professional listings’. This is very flattering but I am not sure how they arrived at this information.
Marist Brothers listed in the Waikato phone book is actually a two-man community of Catholic religious Brothers.”
Vanity must be the last reason for any company to advertise anywhere. Just because you’ve been “selected” doesn’t mean the publication is any good or that you will get value for money.
If you are contacted by this company please leave your feedback – are they legitimate but have lame marketers or is there a REAL problem?