An Important Alert: Online Scammers Targeting Law Firms
“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”
— Mark Twain
One reason Big Voodoo insists on open, active channels of communication with our clients is because we know that the ways we deliver results are not always visible: digital marketing by its nature is complex, technical, and intangible.
Unfortunately, that makes our industry ripe for con artists.
We want to take a moment to point out one of the more elaborate schemes we’ve seen in a while. One particular “business” we’ve encountered is actively using deception and sleight of hand to solicit attorneys: their name is Dot Com Media, or dcmmoguls.com.
We urge you to familiarize yourself with their misleading approach so you can protect your firm:
- It starts as a serious- and impartial-sounding – identification of a technical problem that must be discussed directly with the attorney.
- It moves to a tech support discussion that implies an existing business relationship.
- It closes with a problem resolution “expert” who claims to be from Google.
Here’s how the scam works:
Step 1: They imply they are a domain registrar.
The law firm is contacted by a business whose name suggests they are a domain registry or other technical entity (a name like Dot Com Media). The initial contact will be a somber, official-sounding notice that “there is something wrong” with your website or domain; there is an “issue” or a “matter” that needs to be addressed. They will cite a technical problem that sounds believable but that your call-answering staff won’t understand. And they will sprinkle in just enough factual details (such as how long your site has been online) to appear legitimate.
This is how they get around your staff to speak directly with you.
Step 2: You are handed off to a “case file manager.”
Once they have the attorney on the phone, they will pass them on to someone with a technical support title. This person will borrow from legal parlance in order to gain the attorney’s confidence; for instance, they may say they are assigned to “manage your file.” This is also intended to imply the existence of a legitimate relationship between their company and the law firm, when in fact, this is actually a cold-call solicitation.
This “tech support” person will expand on the initial bogus claim of a problem. Mind you, it won’t be a visible problem that you can check yourself (such as a page loading error) but instead one of the many invisible factors that will affect how you appear in search results. Even if you can see with your own eyes that your site is performing well in search, they will have excuses for why that is somehow invalid.
Step 3: They will transfer you to a “Google representative.”
If the attorney, believing there is a technical matter requiring resolution, stays engaged to this point, they will then be passed on to a third person with a title that implies they represent Google. The person may have completed a certification process sanctioned by Google, but this qualification will be misrepresented to falsely imply the attorney is now speaking with someone from Google.
This “problem resolution specialist” will lead you through a presentation of your own website and search results, highlighting some obscure detail. Why the deception works is that you will be shown your own actual site and pay-per-click campaign in real time; however, the detail they highlight will be something totally irrelevant or inconsequential.
The real giveaway that you are not talking to an impartial entity but rather are being scammed happens when you reach the common-sense conclusion that these technical issues should be brought to the attention of your digital marketing partner.
The “Google specialist” you are speaking with will tell you that your current partner can’t help you. This “impartial expert” will try to convince you that your marketing partner did it wrong the first time and will simply “cover their tracks,” and instead the only sure remedy to this matter is one that they can provide.
By this time, after the attorney has spoken with three different people and tried to sort through a swarm of technical jargon, these scammers hope to have sowed enough seeds of doubt that it won’t be noticed this has been a sales call all along.
This scam is elaborate, well-acted, and technically convincing.
But does a company that uses falsehoods to get your business seem like the right partner to work with going forward?
Big Voodoo has taken steps to report this entity to various governing bodies, including Google. (Danny Sullivan, Google’s Public Liaison of Search, put out an advisory following a recent major Google algorithm update that warns business owners to be alert for an increasing number of scammers.)
Keep in mind that this is just one elaborate ruse and that there are many other scams out there. They’ll find a “problem” that is technical and sounds urgent, but without access to the actual site data they cannot really assess the issue.
If you have been a victim of this scam or a similar one, contact Big Voodoo immediately. Our team can conduct an in-depth site and market evaluation that cuts through the smoke and mirrors.