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Fraud Alert



"If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."


Can't print wirelessly with Qwest Actiontec PK 5000: Situation and Solution

This isn't about fraud but I thought this information important enough to share because it could save you a lot of aggravation.  Click here


Crucial Credit Card Fraud Information

"The Devil Is In The Details."  Learn how to protect your credit and financial security in this short article.  Click here


Podany's Office Furniture--Terrible Experience!  They sold me defective merchandise that has caused me serious back pain and will not return my money.  And find out just how bad customer service really can be.  Click here


Be sure to read the update about a lying letter they sent to the Better Business Bureau.


Fraudulent News Stories--The real truth is that this news publication can't get their facts straight.  Their misinforming stories can actually influence their readers to make choices that may harm their health!

Red Hot Consumer Warning!  ExactSeek and TowerSearch Phishing Scams.

Platinum Television Group --They lure you in by telling you that they want to interview you for a show they produce.  After wasting an hour of your time, you find out that they have deceived because they then ask for close $20,000 from you.

You should see how many other people were deceived.  Click here

FrontPage Grapics.RIPOFF--If you are looking for web page templates and you want to waste your money and get zero customer support, this company will do the job.

Vista Print--'Specials Deals' that cost you $$ and  your bank information.  Don't trust them!

Quack Watch--They endorse a known rip-off organization!

FocusFactor--You'll be smarter after you buy their stuff all right--you'll know one more way you can get ripped off.

Websquash Information

Check out a great website!  www.RipoffReport.com




Crucial Credit Card Fraud Information

"The Devil Is In The Details."  Learn how to protect your credit and financial security in this short article.


Indeed, it was in the details where my wife discovered that our credit card account had been hijacked.  We had not used this particular card in a long time and so, the theft was very easy to spot. 


But, for those of us who do have busy credit cards (collecting frequent flier miles) it is sometimes easy to overlook the tiny details.  After all, who would notice or care about a $1.95 charge in the middle of many other charges?  Many people don't until it's too late.


Think about it: how many people balance their checkbooks?  How many of them really scrutinize their credit card statements?  Some do, some don't.  Life gets pretty busy. 


Here's what happened: an information thief processed over 400 credit card donations--all under $2.00, through an honest and well-established charity (ARI - http://www.arict.org).


(By the way: I spoke to Matthew Reyher, a very nice man who is the President and CEO of ARI and he told me that even though his organization had been used by thieves, because nothing had been taken from them (ARI), they had no way to get the police or other authorities to follow up.)


It seems the thief was "testing" stolen credit card information to see if they worked and mine was one of them.  Somehow, they got hold of my information even though the card had sat in a safe place, unused for a long time and I only do online business with trusted sites.  And although we do make charitable donations, we had never even heard of ARI. 


Anyway, after our $1.95 donation to ARI worked, a second charge for $20.98 immediately appeared on our card.  It was processed by "WP-Magazone.biz Singapore SG".  And yes, it is spelled "magazone". 


Interestingly, a web search turned up nothing about this supposed Singapore based company.


The are a few points to take away from this short article:


1)  Keep a tight eye on your credit card statements.


2) Be very, very careful what online companies you give your information to.  I once made a mistake.  See this article for more info: Red Hot Consumer Warning!  ExactSeek and TowerSearch Phishing Scams.


3) Before thinking an online company has ripped you off, check with them first.  I checked out ARI online and found out they have been around since 1952 and they have been online as a website since 1999.  Those facts made me think they were highly unlikely to have ripped me off.  And, I sent them an email letting them know what happened and they responded within an hour. 


4) Before you do any of the above, call your credit card company and close your account.  They'll issue you another card with a different number. 


5) Dispute the charges right after closing the account.  Your credit card company should do it over the phone with you.  Don't let them talk you into having to fill out paperwork.  They can just reverse the charges and if they are valid, the merchant will reply to that effect.


This is a very busy shopping time of the year.  It's a great time for thieves to move in. 


Stay alert.  We need more Lerts.


Back To Top Fore More Fraud Prevention Information



8-5-2006 Update--click here

8-19-2006 Update--Podany's lies in print.  VERY important consumer tip.

Following is a letter I faxed and am sending via certified mail to Podany's Office Furniture Store.  This has honestly got to be one of the worst experiences I have ever had in my life.


To: Mr. Podany---Owner Podany's Office Equipment Warehouse, Inc.

1700 S. Hwy 100

St. Louis Park, MN 55416

Phone: 952-541-9785

Fax: 952-541-9584


Re: Customer Comments

Dear Mr. Podany,

The general purpose of this letter is to offer some customer feedback that you may or may not find useful.

The specific purpose is to inform you that because of a horrendous experience at your store, I am filing reports with the following agencies:

  • An attorney to file for compensation due to pain caused by your defective product
  • The State Attorney General
  • The Better Business Bureau
  • The RipOff Report (http://www.ripoffreport.com/)
  • Angie's List
  • And, I am making a report of my experience on the Fraud Alert page of my business website.

On June 23rd this year, I purchased an office chair (B1630) with an extension, as I needed a tall chair for my office which I was moving into.

My office was not quite set up so, it was some time before I could use the chair. After that, I used the chair quite a bit.  However, because the chair is defective, it tilts to one side thus forcing me to sit in an odd position. But, this tilt was not immediately apparent.

As a result of the problem with the chair, the right side of my back is, as I write this letter, in a very bad spasm and the pain is exceedingly distressing. This back disorder did not happen immediately. It took some time to manifest.

Wondering if it was the floor of my office, I put a level to the floor and then to chair and discovered the floor is fine but the chair distinctly tilts to one side. So, I brought the chair back to your store today.

At your store, I met (name withheld) who said he was the on-duty manager. He said I cannot get a refund for defective merchandise. It was past the 10-day period. He informed me that it's been 20 days since I bought the chair. I could however, get a store merchandise credit. I don't need it. I need an office chair I can use now. 

Name Withheld then said a technician would be able to possibly level the chair on July 17th, nearly a week from now. I asked if that was a guarantee level. He said no. He then said it could be the floor of my office that was not level.  I told him it was and then I demonstrated for him, in your store, with a four-foot level that the chair was defective. He responded that the floor in your store was probably not level.

I then asked B. if he would please assemble another chair to see if that one was level. He said no.

I asked why. He said "What if that one isn't level? Am I supposed to open 40 boxes of chairs to find one that is level?"

I explained to B. that going for a week without a chair was not tenable and that I wanted a refund so that I could purchase one elsewhere. He said no, he wouldn't do that but, if I wanted to, I could take the defective chair back and use it until the 17th when I could bring it back to have it repaired.

B. did not seem to understand that the chair was the cause of major back pain for which I am going to have to see a therapist. So, I again told him that I cannot use the chair because it is defective and causing me pain.

Mr. Podany, the abysmal customer service I received today was astonishing in its callousness. Add to that an unbelievably restrictive return policy that does not take into account any responsibility for selling defective merchandise and I am left with the impression that your company does not need or want, return business or referrals.

Therefore, as a result of my physical pain caused by your defective product, I am contacting an attorney to see about compensation for medical bills. You will be contacted.

Furthermore, because of your company's policies and because of the treatment I received from a store employee, I am filing a complaint with the State Attorney General, the BBB, Angie's List, The RipOff Report and posting a report of my terrible experience on my website.

Devin Hastings

8-5-2006 UPDATE:

On Friday, Aug 5th, I spoke to customer service for my Visa card because I had contacted them a week earlier to refuse the charge.  On Friday Aug 5th, I was told that Podany's had in fact refunded the full amount.

As well as completely unnecessary aggravation and a lot of time spent on resolving the matter, there is still pain in my back from the defective chair but it is not as severe as it was.

In Conclusion, if a business attempts to give you terrible customer service, the below steps can help:

1) File a complaint with your State Attorney General,

2) File a complaint with your local BBB

3) File a report with Angie's List

4) File a complaint with The RipOff Report (and make a donation if you can.  I did.  It's worth it!)

5) Contact your credit care company to dispute the charge.  It does help greatly if the product is in the merchant's possession.

8-19-2006 UPDATE:

Today I received a letter from the MN State Attorney General.  Enclosed was a copy of a letter that Podanys had sent  to the Better Business Bureau in response to my letter.

The letter that Podanys sent to the BBB contained 2 glaring lies and a sign of cowardice. First, they stated that I was aware of their 10 day return policy.  Simply not true.  I was not made aware of it nor did I sign anything that indicated their salesperson had told me such.

Second, they stated that I returned the chair soiled and dirty.  A bald-faced lie.

Third, whoever wrote the letter containing these lies did not even have the courage to sign their name. 

This letter, which you can view (click here) is a clear indicator of the character of Podany's and their representatives.  And, whoever sent the letter can't spell because they managed to get my name wrong....unless they did it deliberately which is a deeper indicator of Podanys untrustworthy character.

By they way, it is interesting that I never actually received a response from the owner of the store whom I sent a letter to.  Furthermore, they never even sent me a copy of the letter they sent to the BBB. 

Is this the kind of business anyone wants to give their money to?

VERY important consumer tip: Always take pictures of any merchandise you return.  I made the mistake of thinking that the manager on duty had some integrity.







TimesOnLine articles can be harmfully misleading.

This is a newspaper that runs some stories without fact checking and, most likely without more than a single information source--an obviously uneducated reporter.  The problem?  What if their readers take their stories as truth? What if their readers make potentially harmful decisions based on what they see from a so-called 'credible' news publication?  See my email to The Times.co.uk below:


Dear Times.co.uk Editor:
I just read the below story brought to my attention by a Google alert.
Fortune teller 'used hypnosis' to attract his harem (story below email)

Except for obvious trash publications, news publishers are supposed to have more than a single source for stories and, are supposed to check facts.  It appears that Mr. Lewis did neither. 
Mr. Lewis' story is utter nonsense and makes a mockery of your magazine's credibility.  
The truth about hypnosis is the exact opposite of what Mr. Lewis so ignorantly wrote about.  If you were to view the medical documentation regarding how hypnosis can help people, it might interest you--especially if you or a loved one were to have a medical condition. 
What is tragic is that the story you ran has most likely convinced many of your readers as to the 'dangers' of hypnosis.  The tragedy is actually two-fold because what you did was in fact lie to them and blind them to a very life-enhancing technology. 
Devin Hastings
"Speak well to yourself because your deep mind is always listening."

Here's the story:

Fortune teller 'used hypnosis' to attract his harem

From Leo Lewis in Tokyo--Timesonline.co.uk

AN AGEING and unprepossesing Tokyo fortune teller who kept a harem of ten women in their twenties for years may have used hypnosis to hold them in his thrall.

Police searching the three-storey home where Hirohito Shibuya, 57, kept the women say that they discovered "how-to" guides on group hypnosis and believe that he used other mind-control techniques under the guise of fortune telling.

Mr Shibuya, who was arrested last week on suspicion of threatening to turn one of his harem members into mincemeat if she left, went to extraordinary lengths to avoid breaching polygamy laws.

Japanese records show that he was married twelve times to ten women between 1999 and August 2004. He divorced one woman and married another in the same day eight times.

"Although it’s illegal in Japan, I’m virtually a polygamist," he said. "I contacted my ward office, and officials there said it was not illegal to repeatedly marry and divorce, although they did say it was unprecedented."

Mr Shibuya somehow managed to keep all his former wives under the same roof. He said that they all worked in shops while he stayed at home avoiding strenuous work because of a heart condition.

Although psychologists say it is possible that Mr Shibuya used hypnosis to secure his harem’s loyalty, he claims that he learnt in a dream of a magic "love charm". He has refused to share it with the world, but says that "if you chant it, even unattractive men find themselves popular with women".




FrontPage Graphics--NOT the finest business templates on the web.

After spending a significant amount of money purchasing a web template from these rip-off artists, I found the template didn't work the way they said it would.  Not even close.  And, 3 phone calls and  4 emails later I have heard nothing from them. 

Here's their FrontPage Lie:

"FrontPage Graphics® website templates are ready-made web designs created for you to use as a basis for fast and high-quality web development. Just add your text and pictures to our web templates and you will have a functional and individual website ready for upload!

Our templates can suit the needs of the beginners ..." blah blah blah.  Their utter, lying BS makes me want to puke.  Their web templates do not work and their customer service is abysmal.

However, if you want great customer support along with excellent templates, please visit: Round The Bend Wizards.  I have spent a lot of money with this company and am 100% satisfied.




Platinum Television Group Scam Artists.

Platinum Television Group (http://www.platinumtelevision.com) are very clever at misleading people. 

What this Florida based business does, is they get someone to call you and tell you that their 'creative producer' wants to talk to you about possibly being a featured guest on their Pulse On America television show.  This show is supposedly shown on CNN and other TV stations around the nation. 

Once you say yes, you will talk to their creative producer, she/he then calls you.

Then, Platinum B.S. TV will waste a lot of your time by deliberately misleading you into thinking that they want to interview you and feature you on their Pulse On America show.

What are they really doing?  In order to make sure that you are committed as a featured guest, it only costs you $19,000!! dollars to have licensing rights to the 5 minute segment they want to film.  5 minutes?  $19,000? 

Do not waste a minute of your time with these people. 

They, as a company have been dissolved twice and their parent company has also been dissolved a number of times.  What this means is that they have declared bankruptcy many times in order to avoid paying people they owe money to.

You should see what others are saying about these 'Platinum People': http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/ripoff40654.htm

More Excellent Info: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/ripoff83796.htm



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ExactSeek and Tower Search Phishing Scams--VERY DANGEROUS

Listen up folks 'cuz this one is good.

For quite a while I had thought about using a website promotion service offered by ExactSeek.  Finally, trusting an ezine that I subscribed to, I clicked on one of their affiliate ads that took me to TowerSearch (a reseller of ExactSeek services).

I decided to gamble $36.00 and try out the ExactSeek website promotion offer via TowerSearch.  I clicked on the order form and filled in my credit card info along with my email address.  (In a moment you'll see why this is significant).

Then, I clicked the 'order now' button.  At that point I was then prompted to fill in my PayPal password.  I didn't want to use PayPal.  I wanted to use my credit card. 

3 times I tried to pay with my credit card and 3 times I was told to input my PayPal password.

I cancelled out of the whole thing.

I immediately got an email from PayPal telling me that I had just requested to change my password and to click on the link in the email and change my information. 

That was not true.  I had done no such thing.  I wondered how that email could have even been sent?

So, I called PayPal and told them of the email.  They said it was bogus.

Then, realizing that I had probably been cleverly 'phished' (had my personal information stolen) I called my credit card company and cancelled my account. 

Good thing because in a matter of mere minutes, someone had already changed the address on my credit card account!

I contacted ExactSeek, TowerSearch and the newsletter featuring the dangerous ad.  Not one person responded to me.  Hmmm...I like giving my money to companies that never respond to my concerns....NOT.

The Moral To This Story?

Watch out for order pages that ask for more information than you have supplied.

Also make sure your private info is given on a secure page (https instead of http).

Always check with your credit card company and PayPal using a phone number they have had for some time before ever responding to emails supposedly from them asking for sensitive information.

Don't Trust ExactSeek or TowerSearch.  They are uncaring business persons and possibly involved with entities that steal personal information. 

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Quack Watch on the take.--update--click here


Quack Watch Takes Donations from known Rip Off Artist Vista Print.

click here to learn more about how Vista Print rips people off.


Ed Note: I used to think that Quack Watch was reputable but, with all the new, bad information about Vista Print skull-duggery, you'd think the last thing a fraud

watch-dog would do is endorse and take donations from well-known rip-off artists such as Vista Print. 


Makes me wonder about how much other stuff on Quack Watch is crap.


11-12-2007--As of this date, Quack Watch is no longer publicly accepting donations from Vista Print.



Websquash Technologies. 


All right, here's what's happened.  After I posted my experience with Websquash on this page, I was contacted by Websquash.  The ultimate conclusion is that they refunded my money on 11-26-2005.

Frankly, I'm surprised at the refund and so that has moved Websquash up in my estimation. 

We had a series of emails which culminated in the following:

(Received from Websquash on 11-25-2002--my email is below this one.)

Hello Mr Devin,
Thank you for your prompt response.
The refund will be issued in the next 24 hours.
Regarding the matter you have stated, I will like to clarify a few things.
1. The extra pages we are talking about doesnt ban your site from the search engines. The extra pages we design as not just extra pages which are replicated to trick search engines. We have a team of experts who design the extra pages for your site. The extra pages contain contents and each extra page targets a combination of keywords and keyphrases.
2. As far as not getting the extra page is concerned, I was informed by the technical department that the attachment was already sent you to way to back. The maximum chance is that the attachment got filtered on your email server somewhere and neither you nor us knew about it. These are services which are totally carried on through emails so there are times when such miscommunication occur due to various reasons like server down, spam filters, junk folders etc etc.
3. The delay which you are talking about may be just got increased because we sent the extra pages to be installed on your site and never received a reply from you stating that the extra pages are installed because the extra pages we sent you had clear instructions as to how to install them on your site / server. And we dont blame you for that because as we told you in the above point number 2 there are chances that the email got filtered due to attachment in it.
4. Regarding getting listed in websquash, we never said its not included in the price you paid, we only said that it takes time. There are times when websquash robots crawl a certain site and that particular time the server is down or is under upgradation or maintenance. There are tons of reasons why a site takes time to get listed in a search engine. Its not that new now, we are seeing tons of search engines on the internet everyday and some takes 30 days to list a site and some takes 6 months.
We are issuing a 100% refund and its no point mentioning anything about this on your site, but even then if you wish you can mention the way you want to. You are the best judge and you can mention whatever you have concluded from this.

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 If you're confused by the above letter, read the below one and it will make sense.
----- Original Message -----
From: Devin
Sent: Thursday, November 24, 2005 6:28 PM
Subject: Re: Fraud Alert Listing--reply Tue 11/22--Reply

Hello Krish,
Thank you for the below email.  As I mentioned earlier, I work a great deal so I apologize for the delay.
Regarding your offer to refund the $25: Thank you.
I will amend my site to reflect your gesture. 
I will definitely keep in mind your request for fairness and in fact, will mention on my page what you said about RipOff report being only one report and full details are not known by anyone but the two parties involved.  You have a good point.
Also in the interest of fairness, I will state that, after 6 months and much dialog you have offered to repay me my investment. 
Please understand that I will only talk about actual details.  Just so you are not surprised, here they are:
I never received the Doorway Pages promised even though I have emails from you stating they were on their way.  By the way,  I will mention they are great way to get a site banned from search engines and that after the last time you said you'd send them but didn't, I will say I specifically said I didn't want them because they are of no value. 
It has taken several, several emails to have any resolution to this issue.
I did not clearly understand that to get listed in the Websquash search engine, I had to pay for PPC.  I assumed (a mistake) that paying to be submitted to 9000 search engines included yours. 
If I am incorrect about the previous point, then I will state that it took from April until November to get listed because, that's the truth.  Look, I know it takes time to get a free listing in search engines but you repeatedly ignored my emails and when you replied you tried to get me to do the PPC thing which was unnecessary.  And besides after 6 months I should have been listed in your site after paying you for the submission services anyway.  Krish, it just looks bad. 
So, thanks for your efforts.  I think the two of us have spent far more time on this whole problem than the $25 justifies.
Finally, after I receive the refund, I will amend my site and, after doing so if you think that I am inaccurate in any way, please let me know and I will change the information.


These folks offer to submit your site to many search engines and to create other products to drive traffic.  Well, I wasted my money.  Apparently so have other people: http://www.badbusinessbureau.com/reports/ripoff40715.htm

These guys really are rip-off artists.  They refunded my money (11-26-2005) I have documentation of all correspondence and zero results from them. 


FocusFactor SCAM!

So the other day I saw an ad in the newspaper that caught my attention.  It stated: "I want to send you a FREE bottle of FOCUSfactor."

Now, I am a proponent of safe, appropriate vitamin and mineral supplementation.  This product looked good and it seemed like a safe deal.  All I had to do was pay $4.95 for shipping and handling.  Not bad. 

Then, I got curious because it sounded too good to be true.  So I did a Google search on the above named product.  

The moral to this story?  Hang onto your wallets and credit card numbers.  Want to know why?  Check out the following links:



Also, if you haven't read the below information about another scam and how to protect yourself, you definitely want to.

As Always, Be Aware of 'Aducation'.....

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Vista Print--'Specials Deals' that cost you $$ and  your bank information. 

Don't trust them!

April 2004

To My Friends and Business Associates:

This is from Devin and it is not a joke.  This is a real rip off alert. 

VistaPrint, a business card company, has been a great company to do business with but you may not know that your sensitive information is being hijacked by a company they do business with.  This company is called MWI BusinessMax and they have nothing to do with Office Max. 

I will give a brief description of what happened and then web addresses where you can read about others who have also been ripped off. 

I had accidentally signed up for a BusinessMax account (because the small print for a VistaPrint offer was very small) but I recognized my error the same day and so cancelled the account.  I confirmed cancellation the next week.  This was in April.  Now, I have found out that MWI BusinessMax somehow got my checking account information and they have been debiting my account! 

Since I normally used my MasterCard with VistaPrint  but may have once in the past used my checking account, it is obvious that MWI BusinessMax got my checking account info from VistaPrint and used it--- all without my authorization.

If you have ever done business with VistaPrint you may want to start looking for recurring charges that you did not authorize from MWI BusinessMax.  The amounts may be $9.95 or similar.

July 15th, 2004 update: After 6 phone calls and much aggravation, MWI Businessmax finally refunded a total of 5 unauthorized debits of $9.95 each.  

October 14th, 2005 Vista Print still does business with crooks.

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Here are web sites you can visit to read stories by other people

ripped off by Vista Print:

 http://badbusinessbureau.com/reports/ripoff95106.htm  By the way, this website is great! 














On October 21st, 2003, the Florida Attorney General brought a civil complaint against MemberWorks (MWI BusinessMax) alleging that the company had charged credit card accounts without authorization, had offered free gifts without disclosing financial requirements, had resisted customer requests to cancel memberships or to obtain refunds, and had engaged in other abusive telemarketing practices.

To Contact An Attorney Who Is Gathering Information, please click here


ALSO WATCH OUT FOR:  DQ Media emails where they offer you a $50 gift voucher for completing their questionnaires.  REMEMBER:  TANSTAAFL = There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch!


Fraud Information from the Minnesota State Attorney General--click here!


Check out a great website!  www.RipoffReport.com

Just remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Sigh...wish I'd remembered my own advice before signing up for the VistaPrint offer.


Can't print wirelessly with Qwest Actiontec PK 5000  - Situation and Solution


My Lexmark Pinnacle Pro 901 worked great with Linksys-Cisco router but when I switched to Qwest and went through same easy Lexmark wireless set up procedure, the Qwest modem would not communicate with the printer.


And yes, I triple checked the passphrase and anything else I could.


Called Qwest technical repair number and got person who was difficult to understand and who did not understand my situation because he told me the modem was fine and that it was my printer. 


I attempted to explain to him that printer worked fine wirelessly until I hooked it up to the Qwest modem but that went unheard. 


So I politely told him I was disappointed in conversation and that I was going to hang up and gently did so.


Called, got second rep and explained situation to her and she got it.  And she solved the problem.


First, we accessed modem settings by going to


Second, we checked to make sure wireless was turned on by clicking on upper link: “Wireless Set Up”. 


Third, on left of page, we clicked on “Channel” and changed channel selection from “Auto” to channel 9. 


Remember to save changes after each change.  It might take a minute for page to refresh so BE PATIENT. 


Then, I ran the Lexmark Pinnacle Pro 901 set up disk again and this time the modem and printer communicated (with USB cable) so that the printer was then set up for wireless. 


Unhooked USB cable and printed successful test page.


Qwest service came through and thought I’d share it with you.  I hope this helps.





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Sometimes The Stress of Dealing With Life's Challenges Is Overwhelming

Have You Ever Wanted Peace of Mind?

Enjoy deep mind and body relaxation today!



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