This website provides a summary of events relating to a dispute
posted on the Scambook website (www.scambook.com)
on the 21/Jun/2012.
|Latest Update: 1/Feb/2013 - I have lodged official complaints with the following California regulatory and consumer bodies:
California Department of Consumer Affairs, California
Department of Justice, California Secretary of State Office,
Los Angeles Department of Consumer Affairs, and the Better Business
My name is Louis Marshall, I run a web
development business in Melbourne, Australia called
Bravo Web. On
the 17/Jan/2013 I was contacted by
Ryan Fitzgerald from Scambook
regarding a complaint listed on their website against me.
version is like this:
First they asked me to pay to 'investigate' the complaint against me
(by becoming a member of their site). When I said I wouldn't give them my
credit card details, they revealed that the claim could still be disputed via
their contact page on their website.
I supplied them with lots of supporting evidence showing the
claim against me was false (see the 'Supporting Evidence &
Documentation' section below).
A few weeks passed and they contacted me again saying the evidence I
supplied wasn't sufficient. I told them it was now time for them to contact
the person making a claim against me and ask them to provide
evidence. In their wacky world-view, they think it's the
accused's burden to provide proof of innocence.
At this point I had enough, I knew the company was bogus. They also implied
again that I sign up for a paid account in order to contact the accuser.
What people need to understand about
Scambook is that they are a business, not an
impartial mediator like they claim. Like any other business, their
remit is to make money, and they do this primarily by getting businesses to
pay to have negative comments against them removed via their fake 'dispute
The complaint against me
was made-up by an individual who had been harassing me in June/2012 (more on
this in a moment). However, from research and recent events I believe it's
quite possible that Scambook also fabricates
complaints to extort money from businesses.
Timeline of Significant Events
This section lists key dates and events relating to the dispute
between me (Louis Marshall) and Scambook.
15 July 2012 → a complaint is lodged against me on
the Scambook website. I don't know anything about it because my spam filter
ate up the email (Gmail is very accurate when it comes to gobbling up spam).
20 July 2012
Scambook send me another automatic email, I don't know anything about it since
it got gobbled up by my spam filter again. I guess Scambook was keen to 'get
17 January 2013 → Ryan Fitzgerald
(firstname.lastname@example.org) contacts me to let me know there's a complaint listed on
their site about my business (bless his heart). Apparently Ryan is a
Senior Business Investigator.
17 January 2013 → I take the bait and tell Ryan
Fitzgerald that I'm interested in disputing the claim and proceed to
send him a bunch of supporting evidence showing the claim against me is false
(see 'Support Evidence & Documentation' below). The key piece of evidence is
an excerpt of my PayPal records showing no transaction for
the amount claimed by my accuser on the date he said (i.e. the
transaction never happened).
17 January 2013 → Ryan Fitzgerald tells me
that I need to sign-up for a 'free' account on their website in order to
dispute the claim.
17 January 2013 → I go to sign-up for an account on their
website to dispute the claim. I find that the 'free' account requires me
to provide my credit card number. I tell Ryan
I don't want to pay to have the claim investigated, he said a credit
card number is required to "verify [me] and [my] business".
17 January 2013 → I tell Ryan that he's not
getting my credit card number. That I see a conflict of interest here, that on
the one hand a person can post a complaint against me for free, but I have to
pay to have it investigated. I tell him there are other effective ways to
verify people besides asking them for their credit card number (e.g. how
online dating websites do it).
17 January 2013 → Ryan now reveals there's
another way to dispute the claim against me. One that doesn't require me to
pay. However, he attempts an 'upsell' by saying it will take longer to
investigate and there's "no guarantees it will get removed." This
implies that if I pay, the complaint would definitely get removed.
17 January 2013 → I submit my dispute using their 'non-paid'
18 January 2013 → Brian Taylor
(email@example.com) of Scambook contacts me to ask why I didn't complete my
registration. I tell him I don't want to pay for their service. He gives me
some line about credit cards being used for 'verification purposes' and also
says "Unfortunately, it does not sound like you have any interest in
addressing your profile or resolving your consumer complaints".
Really? I've just spent hours gathering evidence and talking to Ryan.
22 January 2013 → I receive an email from Scambook saying I
need to provide more evidence. I now realize this is a selling method designed
to get me into dialogue again with Scambook, so their 'sales guys' can attempt
to sell me something again.
22 January 2013 → I tell Scambook they need to contact the
person making the complaint against me to get evidence from them.
30 January 2013 → Scambook tell me I need to provide more
evidence again. It's becoming clear now that no matter how much evidence I
provide them, it somehow wouldn't be good enough. It would keep going until I
finally paid them to remove the complaint (their plan from the start).
30 January 2013 → Scambook tell me "...the burden of proof
falls on you". What hog-wash, and especially considering I have already
provided proof. Even if the proof wasn't good, it's the accuser's job now to
30 January 2013 → I tell Scambook don't worry about it, they
can keep their claim on their website and I will dispute it elsewhere (on my
blog, etc.). I start doing some research and find other people are saying
Scambook is not a legitimate business (e.g.
30 January 2013 → There's a few more emails back and forth
where I say I'm going to put the word out about how they're dodgy. Scambook
continue with their ruse, trying to make out like they are a legitimate
business. I'm not buying it any more - I've had enough of their lies.
Supporting Evidence & Documentation
In this section, I'm going to show documents which backup my
claim (something Scambook doesn't require people to
do when making a complaint against you).
The first set of evidence
shows that the claim against me is false. The second lot of evidence shows
Scambook's deplorable behavior when I tried
to dispute the claim against me.
This is the false complaint made
against me on Scambook's website:
Note: 'gino' is a pseudonym (alias)
used by the guy who was harassing me in 2012. His real name is Paul.
He was 'displeased' with me because I was dating his ex-girlfriend.
Also, very suspcious behaviour on Scambook's part, they actually altered the
posting details later:
The original screenshot of the complaint shows the
poster as 'gino22' and the date as
21/Jun/2012. If you go to the link now, you can see they've altered
the name to 'lenny88' and changed the date to
26/Jun/2012 for some reason.
It's my personl opinion that this form was filled out by Paul. This could be verified by hand-writing comparison if someone was so inclined.
The bank (Westpac) spotted that this was not my signature and reported the
crime to their frauds division. Note: the account number listed on the form no
longer exists, I had to cancel this account because of continued theft from
As part of the campaign of harassment, a form was filled out by someone pretending to be me, saying I wanted to donate money to a charity:
This is a death threat SMSed to me by
In addition to the theft of my money and threats,
there was other harassing behavior (e.g. stalking, interference with
property, etc). The only reason why I didn't report the matter to the police
Paul suffers from 'problems' which made me believe police involvement
wouldn't of helped the situation. In the end, the harassment stopped after I
contacted him mum (effectively his carer), and discussed the problem with her.
He is very lucky to have such a caring mum.
This is an excerpt of my PayPal transactions during
the period Paul claims I sold him a website:
You can see that there is no transaction on the date Paul
claims (i.e. 21/Jun/2012) for $850. Scambook
has this excerpt but said it wasn't 'sufficient evidence'. Fine, then get Paul
to show you his PayPal transaction record for the period showing the
This is the email correspondence between me and Scambook showing how the
conversation unfolds. The email correspondence is also available to download
as PDF file →
scambook-fake-complaint-against-louis-marshall.pdf (4 MB).
Notice that 'til the very end they still push the image
that they are a legitimate business; whilst subtly implying a number of times
that payment was required to 'investigate' or 'remove' the complain against
What to Do if You've been Scammed by Scambook
If you've had unsatisfactory dealings with Scambook (e.g. they
attempted to coerce you into paying to have a complaint against you removed
they ignored evidence you provided them refuting a claim against you, etc.),
I'd encourage you to lodge an official complaint with one (or all) of the
Department of Justice (←online complaint form)
California Secretary of State Office
Los Angeles Department of Consumer Affairs
Better Business Bureau
It's also important to let other people know
about your experience so the word gets out there not to trust the
proclamations of Scambook. I suggest posting on forums, or posting on your
Facebook page, blog, etc.
Websites Refuting Scambook's Legitimacy
Would you be surprised that there's a lot of websites out there
complaining about Scambook? I was, early on I thought Scambook was a
legitimate business, but that's the beauty of their business, they are wolves
in sheep's clothing.
Is Scambook a scam itself
International Offshore Law & Affiliates
scambook.com are a bunch of thieves extorting your money
Scambook Extortion? Is Scambook A Scam?
...and lots more.
Many people have spotted the deceptive and immoral nature of
Scambook's 'business model'.
If you'd like to get in touch with me to discuss this matter, please use the
Phone: +61 401 151 599 ß (SMS
if you ring and don't get me at first)