Suspicious Contractors & Construction Companies? — One of the most reliable ways for companies to advertise their business is through their websites. So why is it that many construction and contracting websites are created with so much questionable content that it forces us to raise the question… Is this website legitimate or is it a scam site? Compounding this problem is the fact that we’ve documented dozens of fake professionals and companies in the construction industry during the last 5 years. Here are links to three articles we’ve published about these truly SCAM businesses:
Whenever we turn our attention to construction companies and contractors, it takes us no time at all to find content that strongly suggests the business is fake or not to be trusted. We want to know what you think about these examples below. Take a short walk with us as we visit a handful of companies and ask yourself…. Are these businesses legitimate? Would you trust them after seeing the content we find untrustworthy or suspicious?
Let’s start this journey with Tony Douglas. “For 32 years, Tony Douglas Construction has been delivering quality products and services.” According to their website, https://tonydouglasllc.com/about/ the “average tenure of a Tony Douglas employee is 20 years.” We like the sound of that! It’s impressive to think that your employees have such a strong connection to each other and the company! But is it true? Check out their website and see if it passes your “smell test.” Below is our short list of reasons to suspect possible fraud.
To paraphrase Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s sonnet, “How do I suspect thee, let me count the ways…”
1. Age and location of the business: Despite the many references to being in business since 1988 and having the same employees for decades, the domain tonydouglasllc.com, was registered in Iceland, through the Registrar Namecheap (a favorite of criminals) on January 17, 2022. Also, we cannot find a physical address for this business anywhere on their website! Even the “Contact” page doesn’t provide an address for this business.
2. Rankings: On their “experience” webpage, the Tony Douglas LLC website says they are “consistently ranked in the top 105 contractors” in the United States. Down below on this same web page they say they are the “2th” largest wastewater treatment plant builder, 5th largest transportation contractor and 3 other claims. And yet, a Google search for “Tony Douglas Construction” (using quotes) returns only 7 links, five of which have nothing to do with this business! Near the bottom of their main webpage, they claim to have “undertaken nearly 6500 projects in 94 countries.” That’s an impressive claim! So why can’t Google find anyone else talking about this company?
3. Links not working and conflicting content: LOTS of links on their website simply don’t work such as their links to job openings on their Career page. When we visited this page on February 11, 2023 there were seven full time jobs listed across three states (Montana, New York and Arizona) None of the links connected to these jobs pointed to anywhere but the same web page the link was posted on.
4. Questionable ownership of site content: On their “Properties and Buildings” webpage, there are links for a blog called “Insights and News.” The October 26, 2019 post called “Renovations that Add the Most Resale Value to Your Home” can also be found, WORD FOR WORD, on an Italian website called impresafedeli.com. Another blog post called “3 Signs Your Home is at Risk of Moisture Damage” can be found, WORD FOR WORD (and photos) on a website called mmxx.tools.
We could continue this list with a dozen more items but it isn’t necessary. It turns out that the entire website design and content for “Tony Douglas LLC” was purchased from EnvatoMarket. EnvatoMarket sells WordPress website themes for businesses. The theme of this particular website design is called “Hank – Construction WordPress Theme.” If you visit the link to this theme and then click the “Live Preview” you’ll see that the entire website for Tony Douglas Construction came from a STOCK design and costs just $59. The person who posted Tony Douglas LLC’s website even forgot to change the name “Hank” on the page for “Core Values.”
Once we identified that Tony Douglas Construction used a wordpress construction theme sold by EnvatoMarkets, it was easy to find lots of other questionable websites that were nearly identical. Check out….
Seal Construction at SealConstructs.com
- Visit their Insights for You webpage and the “News” section and you’ll find that 2 of the posts are identical to blog posts found on the TonyDouglasLLC.com website! So who is the real author of these articles?
- Seal Construction says they are headquartered in San Antonio, TX and growing a presence in Atlanta, GA. And yet, we couldn’t find any address for this company on their website, or ANY WEBSITE. Also, the BBB.org doesn’t show this business (along with matching phone numbers), though it shows other similarly named businesses.
- If you visit this webpage https://sealconstructs.com/about/leadership/ you’ll discover that their “Leadership Team” is IDENTICAL to the “Hank’s Leadership Team” posted on the EnvatoMarket Live preview of their construction website. (Scroll down until you see “Meet the Team” and then click that link.)
- If you visit their top page and click the link that says “LEARN MORE ABOUt US” you’ll land on the “Hank Construction” wordpress theme at a website construction company called LineThemes.com
Below are a few more Construction Companies that show the exact same “Leadership Team” seen on the sample website called “Hanks Construction Company” at EnvatoMarkets. To see the Leadership Team for “Hanks Construction Company” visit the EnvatoMarket Live link and then scroll down about ¾ of the page to see this graphic and click on it…
- Advanced Mining Solutions at ams.sc: https://ams.sc/leadership/
- Poppet Construction at poppetconstruction.com: https://poppetconstruction.com/about/leadership/
- Alarfaj Holding in Kuwait. But visit their questionable page: https://alarfajholding.com/works-style-2/
- ARC Roofing in Australia: https://www.arcroofing.com.au/about/leadership/
We actually think that these last four websites, (AMS, Poppet, Alarfaj Holding, and ARC Roofing) are more than likely legitimate businesses. But because of their lack of attention to details and information posted on their websites, they **seem** suspicious! Why don’t they at least remove content they don’t use or is not real or legitimate? On the other hand, it is our opinion that the Tony Douglas Construction Company is a fraud, based on our assessment of their website. As for Seal Construction, it’s somewhere in the middle of the “suspicious spectrum” and we can’t be certain at this time. Companies have a responsibility to represent themselves accurately and truthfully! Especially when you consider how wide-spread online fraud is and how easy it is to perpetrate it!
Valentine’s Day Scams – Buying Valentine’s Day gifts online? Watch out for these scam online shops! Protect yourself with this FREE, all-in-one tool.
Post Valentine’s Day, Another Job Scam, and the AI Explosion — Adam Collins at Scamadviser wrote an excellent article about romance scams. In consideration of Valentine’s Day, you may find this an interesting read! Learn everything you need to know about new and old romance scams and equip yourself with knowledge on how to avoid them… Don’t Let Love Blind You: The Rising Threat of Romance Scams.
Last week our Top Story reported on multiple fake job offers. The woman we called “Christy” (not her real name) sent us yet another bogus job offer that she immediately recognized as a fraud! Sadly, our experience has taught us that once a person is targeted by certain types of fraud, they will be targeted over and over, for weeks by the same fraud. Bogus job offers falls into this category. Fortunately, Christy has now developed some impressive skills at seeing through fraudulent job offers! Check out her most recent job offer and what she had to say about it…
On 2023-02-10 Christy wrote:
“Here is another SCAM company. My name wasn’t used in the greeting, nor did I apply with this company. Throughout the email, “kindly or regards” were used. The company does not have a contact number, only email for suppliers, general feedback, investor relations, and Merger & Acquisitions. Also, I found this organization on Linkedin. I searched for the HR person listed on their website, which is listed in the email, and nothing. Skype and Telegram are websites these scammers use for their illegal activities.” The only thing we would add is that “HR” claims to represent a legitimate company that has its own domain (fortive.com), but the sender of this bogus email used a free Gmail account.
From: Info Fortive <email@example.com>
Subject: FORTIVE: INVITATION TO INTERVIEW!
Date: February 10, 2023 at 7:41:48 AM CST
To: [EMAIL REDACTED]
Dear Potential Candidate
Your resume Online has been successfully reviewed and approved by the HR department and we believe you are qualified for the following positions:
1: Customer Service Representative
2: Data Entry Clerk
3: Administrative Assistant
4: Online chat Rep
The Hiring Department of FORTIVE has reviewed your resume recently submitted online for Job seeking. Due to your Resume information and work ability the management has qualified you to be one of the eligible workers that will be joining our Team. There is an organized Training Program for hired Applicants and the position working hours are flexible, you can work as a Full-Time or Part-Time Employee, The Pay Scale is negotiable at $15/hour to $30/hour depending upon skill level. Medical and retirement benefits.”
I believe you would be interested in getting more information about the location and duties, So an Online Interview via Teams, Skype or Telegram with the hiring team has been setup for you. Here is Mr. Tony Stohlmeyer Telegram ID:(@Fortivedesk). Kindly add him on your contact list and send him a message on Telegram.
While for Skype you are to click on this link
Kindly click on this link https://join.skype.com/invite/IkyVtQaz6hlI
to get connected with Mr Tony Stohlmeyer.
And as for Teams Kindly click on this link https://teams.live.com/l/invite/FEAzAPcHcD-hXL0ZwE to get connected with Mr Tony Stohlmeyer. If you do not have Teams or Telegram please download it on App Store or Google Play Store.
This is your interview verification code: HPYTHSD send this code to the Hiring Team as soon as you get connected on Telegram. If you have any questions on how to go about the process kindly send an email to the recruiting manager on this email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Your timely response is appreciated.
It is extremely important to maintain a level of skepticism regarding online content! And details matter a great deal! Take the delivery service AceDeliveryExpress.com as another example. This website looks 100% legitimate, offering global shipping services. And yet, we found subtle but CRITICAL signs of fraud all over it. For example, why would any legitimate company who has paid a marketing service to create a robust website, use incorrect grammar on their top page to say “WE OFFER BEST LOGISTIC PROVIDER FOR OUR CLIENTS?”
And if you scroll to the bottom of their main web page you’ll see several “Testimonials” scroll across. We believe most are fraudulent. The testimonial from Rebecca Liam used a photo of a woman who is actually an attorney named Nicole Dobias. The image of the Black woman, identified as “Naimi Baker” is a stock photo used on dozens of websites and available for purchase from Pixabay.com. The photo of the man identified as “Andre Cabello” in the white shirt is actually a Leadership Coach by the name of Jonathan Rozenblit. Caveat emptor! (By the way, the domain acedeliveryexpress.com was registered in Iceland, through the Registrar Namecheap, on December 22, 2021. Big surprise, said dripping with sarcasm.)
As bad as online fraud and malicious clickbait has been, it has become even worse during the three years of the pandemic. Here are just 4 research points that make this claim. (Source: Comparitech)
- According to the FBI, cybercrime has increased by 300% since the start of the pandemic, March 2020
- There were 153 million new malware samples from March 2021 to February 2022, a nearly 5% increase on the previous year which saw 145.8 million.
- US ransomware attacks cost an estimated $623.7 million in 2021 alone.
- 495 million ransomware attacks occurred in the first nine months of 2021 representing a 148% increase on the previous year.
And now add into this burning landscape the development and increasing misuse of artificial intelligence in its many forms. We are beginning to see the growth of AI used to perpetrate online fraud as well. Check out these three recent articles about ways that AI is being used against the public…
Your Invoice, Paypal, and Geek Squad — Cybercriminals are FLOODING our reader’s inboxes with phishing scams! We can’t keep up with it all and don’t have the room to show you all the examples! For most phishing scams these days, the critical trick is to get YOU to call the scammers! Here are a few samples, starting with these two generic invoices.
Many phishing emails now come with an attached PDF file that contains the scammer’s phone number and designed to look like a receipt. Don’t believe this junk and DON’T call them UNLESS you are wearing a set of sound-canceling headphones and have an AIR HORN ready to blast into the phone when they pick up!
Birth Injury Claims and Ikea Casbah Daybed — Cybercriminals will use ANYTHING to motivate you to click a link to their malware, including claims of compensation for injury. Take this “acetaminophen” birth injury claim offer. It was sent from a server in the United Kingdom to people in the United States! The link in the email pointed to the link-shortening service called Bit.ly. The shortened link sends you back to another website in the UK called rusita[.]uk but this website contains another external connection to a malicious website called inovatik[.]com. Step away from this ledge!
We don’t often see cybercriminals pretend to be Ikea so this clickbait quickly got our attention. Casbah daybed anyone? But this didn’t come from ikea.com and the links point to a domain called spmailtechnolo[.]com. (Someone in a gaming community posted that this website was used in a phishing scam back in October, 2021.)
New Vmail, Attached Invoice, and Credit Card Failed — Does anyone actually get Vmail? Video mail? And if you did, why wouldn’t it just arrive in your inbox where it can be viewed without having to visit another website? Check out this lovely clickbait disguised as Vmail. The recipient’s name actually appeared in the “FROM” section, which is proof that this is a fraud! The attached file is another dangerous “.htm” file. NEVER, EVER open attached files that end in DOT htm, html or php! Below is another one of these dangerous attachments disguised as an invoice. Lunge for the delete key!
Check out the email below. Apparently, our credit card failed to upgrade our “domaine.” (This is not how to spell “domaine.”) The English used in this fraud STRONGLY suggests that the sender’s first language is not English!
Until next week, surf safely!
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