Global Safe Courier and how to spot a phony web site

How to spot a scam web site.If you're shopping on the web and hoping to buy something from someone you don't know, and that seller tries to direct you toward using a particular service such as escrow and shipping, you're probably about to be scammed. Consumer Ally got this letter recently:
You may already know this one but I got scammed and I am warning everyone and complaining to anyone.
I tried to purchase a motorcycle from an online classified site devoted to motorcycles. I emailed the "seller" and was directed to this fraudulent site. I was instructed to send a money gram which should have been a huge red flag but it wasn't. I sent the money to their official receiver and of course no motorcycle was delivered. The site is extremely professional and it is a complete fraud.

This sounds similar to the circumstances described in this complaint, also from a disappointed would-be bike buyer. And it points to an inescapable reality when dealing with any web site. You have to do your homework. Remember that before trusting your money with financial services web sites, more than a payment is at stake. Most of these types of sites, legitimate or fake, will ask you for a considerable amount of personally identifiable information. You don't want to lose your motorcycle payment and also find out someone's sucked your bank account dry or gone off to Cancun on your MasterCard.

Fortunately for you, but unfortunately for these folks, Global Safe Courier is relatively easy to spot as a fraud.

Let's break it down:

First, pay little attention to the site's relatively appealing home page and head straight for company information, which most sites keep on the "about us" page. This is where a business makes its best pitch for your money, and states what its mission is. We know most mission statements are agonized over by board members, PR and marketing people and probably expensive consultants. No business called Global Safe Courier is going to put its best foot forward like this:
Established in 2001, Third Party Agency is a leading provider of e-business development and integration services for large to medium sized anies. The firm's core etency is the ability to develop, integrate and deliver a full range of highly secure and scalable custom business applications and solutions. (Emphasis added).
Errors like that mean a cut-and-paste job, and not a good one at that.

Next: do a WHOIS search on the company's domain name and you'll find an address in Jacksonville, Fla., but the web site itself says Orlando, which is not close. The administrative contact listed for the site has a generic Yahoo! e-mail address, not a corporate one, and a telephone number with the country code of Thailand. In fact, the technical contact listed for the site has a physical address in Thailand. Not good. Try entering the given address into Google Maps and you'll see it's off by three digits -- the closest is a nice little home in Jacksonville. There's no listing, or similar address, for any such company in Orlando, either. Two other posted addresses in Arkansas and Florida did not turn up in a Google map search.

Perhaps if you entered the site through the log in page, you might be fooled. Especially since the gang at Global Safe Courier seems like they are striving to be good corporate citizens with this statement:
Important Information: As a member of Global Safe Courier Ltd., you can file complaints against other users you have engaged in transactions with. Every complaint you file is sent to the IFCC (Internet Fraud Complaint Center - an FBI program) directly.
But don't be fooled. There is no Internet Fraud Complaint Center, though there is something called the Internet Crime Complaint Center, sometimes called the IC3. It's run by the FBI as well as the National White Collar Crime Center and the Bureau of Justice Assistance. Don't you think a site that claims to safely handle thousands of dollars of your money would be able to get that information right?

An e-mail to the site asking for a shipping quote to mail a box from New York to Ulan Bataar, Mongolia, was not answered. Never mind a request for comment on the charges.

Scroll down the home page of the real IC3 and you'll find a "file a complaint" button. I'd like to encourage anyone taken in by Global Safe Courier or another fraudulent internet company to use it and file a report -- you'll be doing the Internet a favor.
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