Earlier this year, you may’ve seen a link to a website called Immortal Vampire in your Facebook, Twitter or Google+ feeds. You might have even been tempted to click it—after all, it tells you “How to Become a Immortal Vampire.”
When I clicked on the link, I was taken to the site’s homepage and greeted with an offer: “Become………..One Of Us.” All I had to do was submit my first name and email address.
And I did. Clicking on “Get In Now” lead me to a page declaring “YOUR FIRST STEP TO ONE OF US!” where I could “get access to arguably the most powerful Immortal -Vampire society in existence.”
All I had to do to “Get Instant Access” was share the link on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ account. I chose Facebook.
When I followed that step, the page displayed a big yellow “Get Instant Access!” button, circled in red.
When I clicked that button I was greeted by the following disclaimer:
In case you can’t read the text in the picture, it says:
This is our terms of services section. please read carefully before proceeding further. Terms of service:- Welcome to immortalvampire.com! Thanks for using our products and services (“Services”). The Services are provided by immortal vampire is private and personal. By using our Services, you are agreeing to these terms. Please read them carefully. Our Services are very personal, so sometimes additional terms or product requirements may apply. Additional terms will be available with the relevant Services, and those additional terms become part of your agreement with us if you use those Services. Using our Services:- You must follow any policies made available to you within the Services.This is personal and private services use it at your own risk. Our Warranties and Disclaimers:- We provide our Services for personal and private with reasonable level of skill and care and we hope that you will enjoy using them. But there things that we don’t promise anything about our Services.It is up t you that how you use and successed. Liability for our Services:- WILL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY LOSS OR DAMAGE. USE OUR SERVICES ON YOUR OWN RISK. Refund Policy:- All purchase made by you is final. So there is no refund issue in any case.be sure before purchase.
I was given two choices: “I agree” and “Disagree.” I chose the first option—and I was instantly whisked away to a land of wonder and enchantment…
Just kidding. I was taken to a page asking for USD$397, payable through PayPal or debit/credit card.
Tempted as I was, I chose not to pay the fee. But I couldn’t let the whole thing conclude with a paywall; I was prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt. So, I wrote them an email asking: “Can you tell me exactly what I’ll get from paying the join fee?”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, I was met with silence—for a few days. Then, I got this:
Congratulations, you’re about to get access to arguably the
most powerful Immortal -Vampire clan in existence.
Immortalvampire.com is taking only 35 members to its society
so be sure to be a part of the clan Now.
That seemed like a pretty exclusive deal. I asked “How many have joined so far?” As of this writing, I haven’t received a reply.
But that doesn’t stop me wondering: who are these guys? Their site registration info shows no personal or corporate name; the site was registered on March 23, 2016, shortly before their links started appearing on Facebook.
The phone number accompanying the registrant information, +45.36946676, greets you with a pre-recorded message for PrivacyProtect.org, a website which “ensures that your private information is not published by replacing all your publicly visible contact details with alternate contact information.”
Although the company claims a Nobby Beach, Queensland, Australia, location—the phone number has a Danish prefix (+45): Australia’s dialing code is +61. As if that wasn’t confusing enough, I traced the message source of Immortal Vampire’s email to India.
If you’re thinking Immortal Vampire’s offer sounds suspiciously like a scam, you might be right. PrivacyProtect.org’s service has been used by many scam sites, some of which have been exposed on ScamVictimsUnited.com, ScamBusters New Zealand, ScamWarners, Michael Smith News, Escrow-Fraud.com Forums and Bitcoin Forum.
But those examples are just the tip of the iceberg: a reverse phone number search reveals the number is connected to over 500 domains.
For those hoping that maybe, just maybe, Immortal Vampire’s USD$397 offer was legit after all, I’m afraid I’ve got bad news. If you visit the Immortal Vampire website today, you’ll see this:
Who knows what this “Future home of something quite cool” holds in store? The site’s URL lease expires on March 23, 2017. Not wanting to wait for an undetermined time for something to cool to happen, I decided to email Immortal Vampire again:
I see your site, immortalvampire.com, is no longer active. Can you tell me what you plan to do with it?
Also, how many people took up your site’s offer to “Become One of Us”? I am writing about it for my website.
My email bounced back.
- the site’s homepage: Immortal Vampire, , accessed April 3, 2016, http://www.immortalvampire.com/. archive.is link: http://archive.is/XFApM
- Which now looks like this: Ibid., accessed April 22, 2016, archive.is link: https://archive.is/LCm9A
- lead you to a page: “Success,” Immortal Vampire, , accessed April 3, 2016, http://www.immortalvampire.com/success/. archive.is link http://archive.is/aLddI
- I sent them an email the same day: Anthony Hogg, email message to firstname.lastname@example.org, April 3, 2016.
- Then, I got this: email@example.com, email message to Anthony Hogg, April 7, 2016.
- “How many have joined so far?”: Anthony Hogg, email message to firstname.lastname@example.org, April 7, 2016.
- site registration info: DomainTools, “Whois Record for ImmortalVampire.com,” DomainTools, 2016, accessed April 3, 2016, http://whois.domaintools.com/immortalvampire.com. archive.is link: https://archive.is/44eJs. ImmortalVampire.com was registered through publicdomainregistry.com and the registrar’s identity hidden via PrivacyProtect.org’s service.
- a website which: PrivacyProtect.org, “About Privacy Protect,” Privacy Protect, 2016, accessed April 22, 2016, http://privacyprotect.org/about-privacyprotection/. archive.is link: https://archive.is/XWFPL.
- ScamVictimsUnited.com: “Electronic Websites,” ScamVictimsUnited.com, 2008, accessed April 3, 2016, http://scamvictimsunited.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=30&t=3012. archive.is link: https://archive.is/ED2DP.
- Escrow-Fraud.com Forums: “Need to Know If This Is Fraudulent?,” Escrow-Fraud.com Forums, 2012, accessed April 3, 2016, http://forum.escrow-fraud.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=3017. archive.is link: https://archive.is/OatxH.
- ScamBusters New Zealand: “Privacy for Spammers & Other Malcontents,” ScamBusters New Zealand, 2013, accessed April 3, 2016, http://www.scambusters.co.nz/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6308. archive.is link: https://archive.is/mS1YW.
- ScamWarners: “Xp-sE.com Express Postal Services,” ScamWarners, 2013, accessed April 3, 2016, https://www.scamwarners.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=34&t=66126. archive.is link: https://archive.is/TwgoN.
- Bitcoin Forum: “Bitcoin Arbitrage Method (6%),” Bitcoin Forum, 2014, accessed April 3, 2016, https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=636638.0. archive.is link: https://archive.is/F583p.
- Michael Smith News.com: Michael Smith, “The Muslim Brotherhood in Australia?” Michael Smith News.com (blog), January 12, 2015, accessed April 3, 2016, http://www.michaelsmithnews.com/2015/01/the-muslim-brotherhood-in-australia.html. archive.is link: https://archive.is/VJ4dO.
- a reverse phone number search: snoop.io, “+45.36946676 Reverse Phone Lookup,” snoop.io, n.d., accessed April 3, 2016, http://snoop.io/phone/%2B45.36946676. archive.is link: https://archive.is/efPx1.
- If you visit the Immortal Vampire website today: immortalvampire.com, , accessed August 8, 2016, http://immortalvampire.com/. archive.is link: http://archive.is/uVIaN.
- “Good evening”: Anthony Hogg, email message to email@example.com, August 8, 2016.
- The site’s URL lease expires on March 23, 2017: DomainTools, “Whois Record for ImmortalVampire.com.”
I’d like to thank Becka Wood for drawing my attention to immortalvampire.com. You can visit Becka’s website, the Vampire Learning Centre, here: https://vampirelearningcentre.wordpress.com/.
I’d also like to thank Erin Chapman for providing the ScamVictimsUnited.com lead; that link opened the door to the other scam examples I sought out and listed for this article.