So, here’s my new blog. This isn’t the way I wanted to start my blog – but I need to warn everyone of this scam going on.
I saw a post on Facebook from a “friend” talking about the free laptop she got, in exchange for doing an ad study. You had to meet certain qualifications.
- A gmail account at least two years old
- A copy of your State Issued ID or License
You had to be willing to:
- connect the laptop to wifi
- login to a teamviewer program
- leave the laptop plugged in and untouched for 4-6 months.
After that, the laptop was yours to keep!
If it seems to be too good to be true, chances are, it is! I am not a stupid person, and I cannot believe I sent a copy of my ID. I mean, the email was big deal, I never really used it. It was a collector of spam emails. And the study sounded simple enough. They were checking on how ads were run. Not being familiar with Google’s Adwords, I had no idea they were about to use our names, addresses and phone numbers to create thousands of dollars worth of ads under our names. I saw a few posts questioning why accounts weren’t being paid, but to be honest, I thought they were referring to a Facebook study that paid you per month that was simultaneously going on (I did not join that study). I felt reassured when my sponsor in this program sent us messages that it was all lies.
The laptop came, I decided to bring it to my moms house, removing temptation from my kids to use it (no personal use until the study was over). I set it up, left the lid open and left it there.
Yesterday, I saw a post in our study group, A2Z ADZ Google, and it didn’t sit right with me. I decided to inbox this person, and I was astounded with all of the information and proof of what was really going on. The owner of the company, and leader of the group, Kristy Phillips, aka Kristy Lane, who come to find out has more than ten different aliases and an extensive background of criminal behavior, posted all the reasons why she has different names, etc…I replied and asked if they were making accounts under our names, that were accruing charges. She blasted me for starting drama. I wasn’t, I wanted to know the truth. I then inboxed my sponsor and let her know I did not give permission for account to be created in my name, I gave permission for an ad tracking study. She disagreed with me (I have a copy of the contract). I politely let her know I wanted out of the study and would be returning the laptop.
I was added to a chat on Facebook, with all the people who had proof of the scam. Some have had blogs created in their names, some have their addresses listed as businesses they have never heard of, and some have thousands of dollars charged to “their” Google Adwords Accounts, along with credit cards attached to the account in “their” names.
These women are amazing, helpful and honest. Trying to help all of us who have been scammed. Luckily, for some reason, no Adwords account was opened in my name. I’m not sure about my address, or even if Mom’s IP address was used for some illegal criminal activity. I am crossing my fingers and praying that it wasn’t done. My mom is a widower, taking care of my elderly grandmother with dementia, and runs her business at home. I can’t even begin to imagine the ramifications for her if something illegal took place unbeknownst to her.
As of now, there are only 2 sponsors left. These sponsors made $25 per referral for the program. My sponsor posted that her goal of 1,000 laptops was almost made. Knowing the concerns people were voicing, she looked the other way, while she profited off of innocent people. The others sponsors jumped ship or were tossed out when they started piecing the scam together. Members of the study were blocked if they questioned anything.
I am very grateful for the group I’m currently in, that is helping one another to cancel accounts, contacting google, changing passwords, deleting teamviewer, and basically supporting one another. We were all scammed, and violated. We have all filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission, and I was told the FBI is looking into this as well.
If something doesn’t seem right, chances are, it isn’t right. Don’t be so quick to give your personal information out. If you have been part of this scam:
- File a complaint with the FTC immediately
- Change your google password and add the two-step verification
- Call Google Adwords and report fraud and have them suspend/delete your account
- Delete teamviewer off of the laptop
- Disable remote access in settings
- Don’t feel stupid, you’re not alone in believing this was legitimate