Royal Wedding “scam website” could have netted £33,000 in only 12 hours
Yesterday, Scam Detectives launched a hoax website selling “Golden Tickets” to the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton to warn Internet users just how easy it is for scammers to take advantage of world events to part them from their money.
Claiming to offer surfers the opportunity to guarantee their invitation to the social event of the new millennium, the website attracted over 160 visitors willing to pay £250 a head for the privilege of attending the ceremony, with the promise that “one lucky guest will appear in the couple’s wedding photographs”.
“Had this been a real scam, it could have netted up to £33,000 in the first 12 hours” said Scam Detectives editor Charles Conway.
How did Scam Detectives do this?
Using a free online website building package, the hoax website was set up and live on the Internet only seven minutes after the announcement of the date and venue of the Royal wedding. Using tactics employed by real scammers they then placed adverts on classified advertising websites, posted on social networks like Twitter and Facebook and placed “spam” posts on popular online forums to attract “victims” to the fake site. The first visitors landed on the site within 3 minutes of it going live and traffic continued at a rate of 1 visitor every 6 minutes.
Visitors were “lucky”
“Visitors to this website were very lucky” said Charles. “Had this been a real scam they would not only have lost their £250, but would also have handed over their credit card details to criminals who would have gone on a shopping spree, maxing out the credit limit within hours.”
As it was, visitors who chose to hit the “Buy now” button to secure their ticket were shown a message explaining that the site was a hoax designed to demonstrate how scammers use world events like this to make money illegally and advised to visit Scam Detectives to learn how to spot dodgy websites in future.
“Had we used more aggressive tactics, such as paying for advertising on the Google search engine for keywords related to the Royal Wedding, we could have attracted 10 times this number of visitors to the site and the potential loss to ‘victims’ could have been closer to a third of a million pounds.”
“Golden Tickets” reality
In a strange twist, The Sun newspaper reported this morning that 100 members of the public will be chosen at random to receive a “golden ticket” to the wedding.
“We didn’t know that when we launched the site” said Charles, “But if anything, it just adds credibility to the scam and could have led to even more victims being willing to part with their money”.
“If an offer seems too good to be true, it almost always is”
***Editor’s Note: Special mention must go to the forum moderators at Martin Lewis’ Money Saving Expert and Digital Spy who removed links to the scam site as spam within minutes of it being posted. Well done for protecting your users!***
Tags: Royal Wedding