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Scam Alert - officialiphoneunlock.co.uk - Part 2

It's been several months since posting my dramatic story about Official iPhone Unlock's scam, and I'd like to share some interesting developments and observations that have since come to light.

The Site Looks Even More Like a Scam
* Their fake "5-star Google" rating is gone.  It was fake to begin with because it didn't exist.  FYI - Here's how to report such abuse of Google's trademarks: https://services.google.com/fb/forms/trademark/
* Their fake "McAfee Security" logo is also gone.  If it were indeed genuine, it would have linked to McAfee's site validation page.  It's a fake if it's not linked, and in fact I literally saw it disappear from several of their pages in the course of writing this.
* The company address and office picture disappeared.  There's virtually no contact information on the site except for their phone number.  Try calling it and see what happens.  What does this tell you?  This isn't a company--it's a scam.
* The UK company registration number also disappeared.  Again, what does this tell you?  Where did they go?!

Fraudsters Hide in the Dark
Legitimate companies don't need to hide because they're conducting legal business transactions.  Fraudster criminals like Officialiphoneunlock.co.uk do need to hide.  Case in point, their WHOIS domain name contact information was hidden, unfairly opted-out of.  Only non-trading websites may opt out, so I complained to Nominet (the organization that oversees .co.uk domain names) to get their contact info listed again.  Go here to run a current whois lookup: http://www.nominet.uk/whois/

Initially this was the registered info:
Official iPhone Unlock Ltd
Suite 305
Capital Building
Victoria
Mahe
Seychelles

They subsequently fled to Belize, home of money laundering and shady offshore tax havens:
Domain name: officialiphoneunlock.co.uk
Registrant: Datacorp Ltd
Registrant type: Unknown
Registrant's address:
Mapp Street 1
Belize City
Belize City
N/A
Belize

So they're not based in the United Kingdom like their site claims.  Oh, who knows for sure?  My point is that only criminals hide in the dark this much, and I love harnessing the power of the Internet to shine light on them.  The Internet is a torch illuminating the ills of the world.  Please quote me on that if you'd like.

They Manipulate and Harass
* Did you "like" their Facebook page, hoping to win a brand-new iPad?  That was a con to boost their page likes.  There's no iPad prize give-away.  Let's stop for a moment and think about this.  How would they even know who "liked" them to give them an iPad?  Plus, Facebook strictly forbids the purchasing of "likes."
* Did you complain through their Facebook page?  If so, your complaint and/or negative feedback was removed almost instantly.
* Did you complain and/or submit feedback through a ratings site like Trustpilot?  They aggressively get any negative comments removed from such sites and/or dilute the reviews with fake positive ones.  Just look at all the Trustpilot reviews that say, "Official iPhone Unlock reported this review for breach of Trustpilot guidelines. We are currently assessing the review in accordance with our reporting processes."

Lastly, if you blog about them like I do, then perhaps you'll be harassed like I have been.  They leave lewd comments on my Facebook page and YouTube channel.  They send Facebook friend requests from people I've never met.  It's obvious it's them doing this because the Facebook profiles have "liked" the Officialiphoneunlock.co.uk Facebook page.  Can it be any more barefaced?  I also receive emails like the one pasted below (and friend requests) from some questionable company known as Reverse Media Group.  Perhaps their offices are in Seychelles too.  I never knew I had so many Facebook friends over there!

CEASE AND DESIST
4 July 2013
By Certified Mail

This law firm represents Official iPhone Unlock Ltd. If you are represented by legal counsel, please direct this letter to your attorney immediately and have your attorney notify us of such representation.

You are hereby directed to CEASE AND DESIST ALL DEFAMATION OF Official iPhone Unlock Ltd CHARACTER, BUSINESS AND REPUTATION.

Official iPhone Unlock Ltd is a legal, ethical and completely permitted entity and business. Official iPhone Unlock Ltd has spent years serving the community and building a positive reputation. Official iPhone Unlock Ltd has learned that you have engaged in spreading false, destructive, and defamatory rumours about the Official iPhone Unlock Ltd brand through the MONDAIJI.COM website. At this stage, whether you created the posts directly yourself is irrelevant. The content on your website is outdated, false and defamatory.

Under law, it is unlawful to engage in defamation of another’s character, business and reputation.  Defamation consists of

(1)  a statement that tends to injure reputation;
(2) communicated to another; and

(3) that the speaker knew or should have known was false.

Your defamatory statements involved [CIRCUMSTANCES AND/OR DESCRIPTION OF DEFAMATORY STATEMENTS].

Accordingly, we demand that you (A) immediately cease and desist your unlawful defamation of Official iPhone Unlock Ltd and (B) provide us with prompt written assurance within ten (10) days that you will cease and desist from further defamation of the Official iPhone Unlock Ltd character, business and reputation.

The untrue content can be found here:

If you do not comply with this cease and desist demand within this time period, Official iPhone Unlock Ltd is entitled to seek monetary damages and equitable relief for your defamation. In the event you fail to meet this demand, please be advised that Official iPhone Unlock Ltd has asked us to communicate to you that he will pursue all available legal remedies, including seeking monetary damages, injunctive relief, and an order that you pay court costs and attorney’s fees.  Your liability and exposure under such legal action could be considerable.

Before taking these steps, however, my client wished to give you one opportunity to discontinue your illegal conduct by complying with this demand within ten (10) days.  Accordingly, respond to us within 10 days of receipt of this letter with your proposed actions.

RMG – Legal Department
Reverse Media Limited
Unit 8 Cherry Court, Folkestone, Kent, CT195LA, UK
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

I recommend that you consult with an attorney regarding this matter.  If you or your attorney has any questions, please contact me directly.

Sincerely,
Nick Wilson LLB
Legal Specialist


Here in Japan I have a keen nose for fish, so here's what I find fishy and mildly amusing:
* This is obviously some kind of template, and they didn't even bother to fill it in completely.
* From the look of their website, they sure don't look like a law firm.  What countries are their lawyers certified to practice law in, I wonder?
* Google search the address in the email, and it turns out to be a residential neighborhood.  Huh?
* Google search the address listed on their website (different from the one in the email), and it turns out to be a virtual office.  That's right--a virtual office, as in an office that doesn't really exist.  Here we go again with hiding in the dark. 
* A quick Google search shows the exact same email posted on a forum: http://www.vallartascene.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=21671  Looking at the subsequent thread, they too found it amusing.
* Compare the tone (threatening) and style (excessive use of CAPS) of the email with the emails received directly from Officialiphoneunlock.  I think they share the same template author--the same guy that works for Extortion, Inc.
* 10 days passed, and surprise, surprise--nothing happened.
* I never did receive this notice via certified mail.  Perhaps the postal service in Seychelles is something to be desired.
* If my statements are false, then how do you explain the flood of comments backing up my claims?  A Google search for "officialiphoneunlock.co.uk scam" delivers plenty of content and stories that parallel mine.

Learnings
* Official iPhone Unlock is still as fraudulent as ever, continuing to scam people through their Officialiphoneunlock.co.uk website.  Don't fall for it.
* Reverse Media Group serves as a side-kick henchman agency, running extortion scams on upstanding Internet citizens like yours truly.

May our Internet torch shine light on the dark ills of the world, and may Official iPhone Unlock and Reverse Media Group burn in hell.

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  • Guest - erusen

    I've just received the "The IMEI you gave us is marked as BLOCKED, usually meaning it's a lost or stolen handset, but handsets can be blocked for any number of reasons including non-payment of bills, blacklisted, bad ESN and/or contract issues" and £50 (account credit?) message regarding my SoftBank 3GS. If possible I'd like to hear more from CK (below) about where you would report them for scamming. Would appreciate any suggestions - yoroshiku ne!

  • Guest - erusen

    Please see my previous article (mentioned and linked at the beginning of this one) for suggestions on dealing with these scammers.

  • Guest - Pascal

    Thank you for your blog. I got trapped like you did, and I just wrote to them through the support section to advise that I initiated a procedure to claim the money back from my credit card company + report that they are a scam. I also filled a report through the Action Fraud link you shared. I wrote a negative review on Trustpilot and like you said, it got removed quickly... Lets see what happens next. regards.

  • Guest - tom

    thanks a lot for all of your work! I did receive the email about "pay up or we will sue you" as well to which I had to laugh.....these amateurs didn't even put up a court stamp that would be needed among many other things. Anyways I am so glad that I called the credit card company and got the money back, hopefully these crooks will be exposed of soon.

    from Los Angeles, CA, USA
  • Guest - Srikanth

    Many Thanks for this blog. First I'm about to order USA Sprint for 49 GBP and at the end I cancelled. Next day I got a mail saying as a promotional offer they will do for 30GBP and I was tempted and ordered. After two weeks they said they can't unlock and as a good gesture I can use that 30 GBP for next unlock. I asked them for refund, but they didn't. By seeing your blog I came to knew it's all scam and I called my credit card company and raised a dispute. I will also complain to UK cyber crime.

  • Guest - Jonnie

    Hi! Thank you very much. I asked an unlock 5 months ago, got no results, and am about to ask for a refund. Your posts will help me. Regards

  • Guest - Tommy

    I also got the exactly same email as you got, but in December 2015 to January 2016. I even almost gave up not fighting for the money. I'm glad i found this message, and I am going to do what you had done. Wish i read this sooner though!

  • Guest - Phill B

    Thanks for this review I hope others read it before paying out, I wish I had seen this and other articles relating to these scammers but unfortunately I had already paid £19.99 and then a further £39.99 and only to receive a message telling me that its "taking longer than usual and they were looking into it" also that the trustmark reviews site seems to be attached to them in some way as well. I have had no luck communicating with them either I hope they burn in hell too.

  • Guest - Gary

    Guest - Phill B

    Like all on here wish I had seen this side before was well, like the last guy been fobbed off with excuses as to the delay, now nothing after paying the £19.99 and the £39.99 which I did not see either
    Tried emailing them twice now and no response
    Any suggestions anyone

  • Guest - OB

    Was going use Officialiphoneunlock To unlock my phone, but after reading your posts I won't be.