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(This appeared in a slightly different form in Roots Web Review on 07 May 2003.)

[Ed. Note: This particular thief seems to have gone out of business, late in 2003. Someone may start again. I liked the description of the flying pig so much that I keep the page here.]

Not everyone who sells things on the Internet is honest. There are several legitimate subscription-based web sites for genealogy. This is a list of illegitimate ones. Sooner or later you'll get an e-mail offer from one of these people or someone running the same scam. If you do, put one hand on your wallet and back away slowly. They promise millions of names (sometimes billions), take your money then give you links to RootsWeb, FamilySearch and the other free sites. They change names a lot. Here's a list. The dates are the first time I received a spam from the site. These are not links, and I've put some spaces in for legibility.

  • Genealogy Giants.com (March 2003)
  • Genealogy Experts.net (December 2002) (Note the net; most are com)
  • Gen Seekers.com (August 2002)
  • Genealogy Experts.com (July 2002)
  • Gen Locator.com (May 2002)
  • Genealogy Developments.com (February 2002)
  • Family Discovery.com (August 2001)

How can you tell it is a scam?

  • The message comes from a Yahoo!, Hotmail, Juno or other throw-away e-mail account.
  • They promise 5, 7 or 10 days free trial but ask you for a credit card or checking account number. (See below).
  • If you reply to the e-mail, your message either bounces or is never answered.
  • The web site mentioned in the e-mail has no customer service mail link, and no toll-free telephone number.

Self-Updating CD

The spam described below under "Despicable Tactics" has stopped, finally. Now (14 September 2003) I'm getting mail from fambusinessllc @ yahoo.com telling me about a wonderful site, www.genealogytechs.com. They say:

We would like to let you know about our exciting NEW Genealogy Techs CD-ROM, the ONLY accurate self-proclaimed self-updating Genealogy CD on the market!

This looks like the same scam in a new wrapper.

Despicable tactics:

About November of 2002 these folks started mining the Gen Forum and Ancestry genealogy query boards. You will get a spam saying they may have data you asked for on the SMITH board just last month, and all you have to do is sign up for a trial subscription. Be warned - they lie. That one word, may is all that keeps them from getting convicted of wire fraud. I may have a pig that can fly. He may be in the back yard right now, grazing in the high branches of the apple tree like a hummingbird at a hibiscus bush. If you give me $10 I will let you go out back and look. Don't expect me or your $10 to be here when you finish looking, though.

Here are the names and addresses they have used, and the dates I received the spam message:

Giants Find (Genfamilyfind yahoo.com) 10 July 2003
Gen Giants (familyhistory yahoo.com) 09 July 2003
Gen Giants (Genfamgiants yahoo.com) 30 June 2003
genealogyfamilyfind yahoo.com 23 June 2003
gensear3000 yahoo.com 20 June 2003
gensearchernow2002 yahoo.com 14 June 2003
gensearching2003 yahoo.com 30 May 2003
famhistfind yahoo.com 26 May 2003
Family CDs (gengiantscds yahoo.com) May 2003
Full Search (fullfamilysearch yahoo.com) May 2003
name (fullfamilysearch yahoo.com) May 2003
Gens Genealogy (genealogygiants hotmail.com) April 2003
Genealogy Specials (genealogygiantsvol1 hotmail.com) March 2003
Genealogy Giants - selling a CD that updates itself! March 2003
Family History Information (gengood2000 yahoo.com) February 2003
Family Research (gengood2000 yahoo.com) February 2003
Genealogy Information (genhistory msn.com) January 2003

Below:
I recieved this e-mail message five days after the article above came out in RWR, from a lady who shall remain annonymous:

Gen Seekers is changing their tactics slightly. I was stupid enough to sign for their free trial period and VERY FOOLISHLY gave them my bank account information. I have now had to change accounts plus have my bank try to trace the transaction. Please don't use my name . . .

Legal notice: The opinions expressed on this page, and the phrase "Lying scumbag" on my home page are just that - opinions. The people behind the business described above, that changes its name every three months and its e-mail address every six weeks, may be honest people who are providing a legitimate service.

My flying pig may be able to whistle, too.

Who ARE these people?

An Alert Reader, Janett Rennick, writes:
As to who these people are, visit betterwhois.com. I entered www.genealogytechs.com and found:

Registrant:
Kentech Company Ltd
1st Floor Muya House
Kenyatta Ave.
P.O.BOX 4276-30100
Eldoret, Kenya 30100

Thanks, Janett!

Another Alert Reader, Linda Smith, says she likes
www.domaincrawler.com and it "has some cool features, which probably can be useful for your visitors." It looks pretty neat. Thanks, Linda!



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