A case study in deception

Every so often you stumble across a site that looks like it might just be the legitimate face of a legitimate business but then you scratch the surface and, oh dear, it’s not.

myplasticsurgery1Take a look at this doozy. Plastic (ie cosmetic) surgery for Florida, Miami. Given the stereotypes for that state I imagine there’s lots of demand but I may be wrong.

I’d expect the well established clinics to have domains that use their names and that perhaps a keyword domain, such as the one pictured on the right, to belong to one of the newer, hungrier clinics.

This one looks good, it has a patient testimonial and info about Dr Bryant Michaels. Quite why he lives in Pennsylvania when he’s practicing in Miami is beyond me but my US geography isn’t too hot and maybe that works for him.

On the other hand, the phone number is technically in Pennsylvania but isn’t actually in service. The cute little map that came with the reverse lookup helped me with my geography. Turns out Pennsylvania really isn’t that close to Florida.

whereispennsylvaniaUnderneath the phone number is an email address that looks plausible for Dr Bryant Michaels: info @ drmichaels.com

I’m always curious to see the main site and since drmichaels.com fits with my expectation of what the original site would be called I flitted over to take a look.

drmichaelsWell, what a turn of events!

This site is for a DENTIST in DUBAI!

And the dentist is not called Bryant Michaels but Dr. Michael Formenius!

So they’re in different countries and have completely different medical careers.

From the facebook page of drmichaels.com it looks like it is probably a real dental practice with real patients. I wonder if they know that their info is being used to give fake sites credibility? Even their favicon is used!

So, I went back to the fake site and took a look about.

F1online_3145201 michaelbryantTinEye tells me that the doctor pictured is from a stock photo available to purchase from sites like f1online.pro.

I looked a little further…

No ads, when I clicked on the areas that they could find me a surgeon in I got taken back to the home page so it wasn’t a directory dressed up to be a normal site. I was intrigued – what is this site about?

rent-this-pageThen I clicked on the link to the blog and there it was – “Rent this Website”. Someone has picked up the domain and is hoping to rent it to a Miami Plastic Surgeon when they will replace the content with real info and, presumably, still link back to the official site.

It’s not a new strategy – it’s been used in Real Estate for years but those sites were usually up front and didn’t appear to peddle the services of an actual person.

It’ll be interesting to check back later and see if they’ve been successful in finding a “tenant”.


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One Comment

  1. May 20, 2016

    Oh yeah ! I see this all the time locally in NY

    Have you seen the “credit report” / House for rent scam?

    Its similar – They make the listings fake on Zillow / Hotpads.com

    Then they send you an email with an affiliate link to freecreditscore.com

    They tell you you need a “credit report score” before you can apply the apartment

    Obviously they are just making affiliate commissions

    The nice part, is I alerted affiliate mangers and they reduced the “inbound link” bounty to o.25 so its not worth it for spammers anymore

    I hope that made sense LOL

    Love the blog ( okay, that sounded like a spammer )


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