If you haven’t been following with my Scam/Pyramid scheme week, so far I’ve talked about my experiences with Benzi Shop and LeoGary. This post is to summarize the things I encountered while surfing their websites, and some of the research techniques I used to figure out if they’re a scam or not.
Both of these sites looks fairly polished. Clean and sleek. There was nothing wrong with these sites from what I saw. I got some images of their website homepages.
Just with a glance it’s pretty hard to tell that they’re scams right? Well if you keep looking you’ll start seeing a small popup near the left hand corner of the webpage and it notifies you that someone else has just bought something from the website. The creators use this tactic to trick you into thinking that the site is popular and active. Most legitimate websites would never display notifications like this.
This is a gif from LeoGary.com. As you can see they are still using the same tactic as they were years ago. It also interests me why they would switch URLS like that. AssassinsHoodies must have gotten enough negative opinions that they needed a fresh start. Still, they can’t hide their true business tactics from the public for long.
This is a gif from benzi shop. You can tell that both sites are using the exact same tactic and frankly the notifications are in the same structure as well. Pretty easy to find scripts like this over the internet. Anyways, the difference between LeoGary and BenziShop is the timing. Benzi Shop displays a bit slower than LeoGary does, but it’s still the same script.
So if the notifications aren’t enough to send a red flag, many of these sites will use time limited events to try to hook you into buying something quickly. Some will use a countdown timer to symbolize urgency. Assassin Hoodies used to use a counter like Benzi Shop did. Now that they moved to their new URL, they stopped using the countdown timer.
Most of these sites are brand new and so they don’t have any negative reviews online to besmirch their image. You can tell how old a site is by looking up their URL on The Wayback Machine and seeing how many times their website has been crawled. You can even see snapshots of the website evolution, if they are constantly updating their UI.
Now if you’re like me, it’ll still be hard to tell if these sites are a scam or not. And if googling for testimonies aren’t yielding the results you want, you might have to take the risk and give it a try. Sometimes sketchy sites like these are legit, you never know until you try. Nowadays with great paypal and CC support, you’re able to file a dispute if anything happens.
Another key factor is support. Before placing an order, try contacting support about some questions and test out how long it takes them to get back to you. If they don’t get back to you at all, don’t bother with ordering from the site. Sure, sometimes even big name companies have bad customer support, but that’s the thing, they are large established companies. That’s different from a smaller company that is just starting up. Both LeoGary and Benzi Shop had terrible support systems.
These are just what I found from my experiences. They may or may not work for you. I wanted to share and summarize things I noticed while being scammed online, and hopefully you guys can learn from this and not fall victim to some of them. Thanks for reading. Hopefully it all made sense to you guys. Sometimes the best way to know it’s a scam is that gut feeling you get when you visit a site. Also, words and recommendations from friends aren’t always the best thing in the world. Do your own research! And take time to make your online shopping decisions. If a sale timer is pressuring you to buy quickly, don’t bother with the item. I fell for these scam sites because of the sale timer. Again, totally my fault and I should have known better than to rush a decision based on a sale, but still. Sometimes in the heat of the moment you forget these things.