Carla Pope's internet Ponzi scheme (scam)
Carla Pope's internet Ponzi scheme (scam)I monitor web sites that link to my site. Some months ago I found many Russian sites in my referrer logs, in fact so many sites that they overwhelmed normal traffic. I soon discovered "referrer spam" which is spurious traffic created by promoters, often in the Ukraine, to improve client Google rankings based on the principle that many sites publish their referrer logs. I quickly learned the pattern used by most of these promoters and excluded them from my site. However I was unable to eliminate one spurious referrer suggesting that it uses a more complex strategy. I excluded the IP number of this site which didn't help.
This site, highhyip.com, is a so-called "high yield investment program"
The site claimed "HYIP Liberty Reserve is bank established by Gibraltar offshore company and uniting the talented financial professionals who have long been operating in best investment markets worldwide." Many aspects of the site are professional, while others are naive. For example the language isn't that of a native English speaker and there is no page enumerating bank officers. The interest rates indicate a Ponzi scheme where later investments pay early investors. The scheme collapses when later investors no longer accrue fast enough to pay earlier investors. The domain is highly effective in gathering referrers (roughly 100,000). The internet confirms that high yield investment programs are Ponzi schemes, but note that promoters diligently strive to obscure the fact.
I can only surmise how highhyip.com works. Based on many similar sites I presume it's a package purchased (leased?) by the domain owner (Carla Pope of Charlestown MA), likely from Liberty Reserve Bank. I presume the package inserts the domain name on many web sites controlled by the developer as well as software to accumulate referrers by other techniques including inserting the domain name into web logs through proxy servers. Payments are made through Liberty Reserve Bank of Costa Rica which is noted for the difficulty of tracing its transactions. A common feature of these sites is that they don't refund the initial investment. I presume this is (part of?) the profit.
I set out to eliminate the site which is an obvious fraud. I e-mailed Carla Pope requesting its removal. I also e-mailed Steadfast Networks, which suspended the site. The site quickly migrated to another host, texans.unisonplatform.com. I e-mailed that host along with the Massachussetts attorney general. I informed Carla Pope that I would create this page if the site didn't disappear. It disappeared temporarily, but is now back online.To Carla Pope (Charlestown MA, 3/7/2012)
"Who is" tells me you're the owner of domain highhyip.com. I've communicated with Steadfast networks and they have suspended your account. Please remove this site from the internet.
To Carla Pope (Charlestown MA, 3/8/2012)
If the Ponzi scheme highhyip.com is still online tomorrow I will create a web page on which I will prominently display your name along with this e-mail and other correspondence in connection with the domain.